6000 Year Old Tree  

TOPIC: 6000 year old trees

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Sat, Apr 12 2008 7:36 am
From: Don S


== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Sat, Apr 12 2008 9:29 am

An interesting post, claim!
Like most of the recent claims for oldest trees/plants, there is perhaps a little wiggle room in their claims...
"Although a single tree trunk can become at most about 600 years old, the spruces had survived by pushing out another trunk as soon as the old one died, Professor Kullman said."

"...As soon as..."?

Wonder how long that is?

== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Sat, Apr 12 2008 3:26 pm
From: Don

Ten stems from the same root collar? All 600 years old? yeah, right.

TOPIC: 6000 year old trees

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Apr 13 2008 6:38 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


It is really a matter of perspective and how you define age. If you are talking about a single trunk/stem then the bristlecones are the oldest. This is the most reasonable way to define age of a tree or plant. On the other hand if you want to include sprouts from roots, then things become much more complex. There are reports that:

RIVERSIDE, California, May 6, 2002, (ENS) - A creosote bush near Palm Springs could be the oldest living thing on earth. The creosote bush, a discovery of Jim Cornett, curator at the Palm Springs Desert Museum, is of a size and configuration that makes Cornett suspect that it is as old, or older, than the 11,700 year old "King Clone" creosote bush discovered in the Mojave Desert... An original creosote bush can live to be about 100 years old, but it can produce clones of itself through a system whereby the inner stems die and new stems appear on the periphery. This produces a circular pattern of genetically identical plants, with the rings expanding outward about a three feet every 500 years. This clone family can live a remarkably long time. Taylor's laboratory was used to determine the age of the creosote bush known as King Clone, discovered in the Mojave Desert in the late 1970s by Frank Vasek, a retired UC Riverside professor and a former teacher of Cornett's. The King Clone, which is on Bureau of Land Management land near Victorville, California, is estimated at 11,700 years old. Considering the cloned shoots as part of the original plant, that makes it the oldest living thing on earth.

According to the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (1997), a rare and endangered shrub of the protea family (Proteaceae) called King's Holly (Lomatia tasmanica) may be the oldest plant clone in the world. The plants appear to be sterile triploids incapable of producing viable seeds. The clonal thickets reproduce vegetatively by root suckering and have been estimated to be at least 43,000 years old. Fossil leaves found in a late Pleistocene deposit may be genetically identical to present-day plants. Another ancient tree from southern Tasmania is the huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii), a member of the Podocarpaceae. Some individuals growing in deep canyons are thought to be at least 2,000 years old. These are not clonal populations, they are the actual trees that lived during the time of Christ.

Many crustose rock lichens spend most of their lives in a desiccated state and have extremely slow annual growth rates. On massive domes and rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, large colonies of the lime-green map lichen (Rhizocarpon geographicum), ashy gray Aspicilia cinerea, and orange Caloplaca saxicola may be thousands of years old. In fact, the colorful chartreuse rock lichen Acarospora chlorophana may only grow a few millimeters in a century. One has only to gaze at the spectacular panoramas of glacier-carved granite throughout the Sierra Nevada to appreciate the magnitude of growth and the great age of some of these lichen colonies.

Aspen Clones: http://www.taiga.net/yourYukon/col373.html
Nicknamed Pando, Latin for "I spread," this clone covers an area of more than 43 hectares and has more than 47,000 individual stems. Jim Pojar, now the executive director of the Yukon branch of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, worked as a forest ecologist with the B.C. government for 25 years. He is also a co-author of Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland, a field guide regularly used in this area. Pojar says that there could be bigger aspen clones than Pando around; it's just that no one has tried to measure them. "There are huge clones in Alberta as well. You can tell because they green up in spring and change colour in the fall at the same time." Aspen that reproduce by cloning can also be extremely long-lived. Individual stems may live less than 200 years, but the clone itself survives much longer as new stems continue to replace the dead ones. Some clones are estimated to be at least 8,000 years old, making them possibly the oldest organisms on the planet. Some researchers even speculate that aspen could theoretically be immortal if no natural catastrophe kills the clone. Fossilized leaves of aspen trees dating back a million years look almost identical to aspen leaves today.

Box Huckleberry http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/polycomm/pressrel/crable/crable082099.htm
NEW BLOOMFIELD, Perry County --The world's oldest living thing, already ancient when California's redwoods sprung from the earth, grows in anonymity and amid car exhaust along Routes 22/322, north of Harrisburg. The box huckleberry that clings to several ridges bordering the busy highway along the Juniata River had already been creeping merrily along the forest floor for 11,000 years when Jesus was teaching his disciples at Galilee. Believed to be a rare survivor of the Ice Age, this dainty evergreen plant has spread out over 1/4 miles. And here's another shocker: it's all just one big plant. The box huckleberry clones itself, endlessly sending out underground runners. "Think of it as a tree buried in the ground except for its branch tips,'' says James C. Parks, a Millersville University biology professor who has conducted tests on Pennsylvania's rarest plant. An advantage to such a system, he says, is that if one distant arm runs into poor soil or is stressed by drought, a healthier part of the organism can transfer sustenance to it. Parks has brought me to Perry County to see two of Pennsylvania's three known colonies of this mysterious plant. No one in the United States had even seen the plant since 1796 until a Dickinson College professor stumbled onto a nine-acre colony in 1846 on a woodland hillside near New Bloomfield. In 1919, Dr. Frederick Coville, chief botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, did the first major study of the colony after part of it was dug up by a commercial nursery operation. He made an electrifying announcement that rocked botanists around the world: the box huckleberry colony was a single plant, making it over 1,000 years old. Then, in 1920, Harvey Ward of the Harrisburg Natural History Society was on a fossil hunt when he found a larger colony 10 miles away, near the Routes 22/322 highway. Locals called it Jerusalem huckleberry and had gathered its berries for generations. By extrapolating the average growth of the New Bloomfield plant--about 6 inches a year--Ward estimated the age of the newly found colony at an astounding 13,000 years. The plant was promptly declared the oldest living thing in the world. The colony is duly honored in the Guinness Book of World Records. The New Bloomfield colony was estimated to be a mere 1,300 years old. Since the discovery of the two Pennsylvania colonies, around 100 box huckleberry sites have been found in six eastern states, from Tennessee as far north as Pennsylvania. A third Pennsylvania site was discovered only two summers ago in Bedford County. That 10-acre plant is estimated to be 1,300 years old.

In a broader sense "Life On Earth" began maybe 2.5 to 3 billion years ago. All living things on Earth are descended from these same beginnings. Each successive generation passed on the spark of life to the next in a continuous unbroken string that stretches back the entire 3 billion years. The life in each of us and in all living things is the same age. So what is the oldest thing is a moot point (or simply a matter of how you define oldest).

Ed Frank

== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Apr 13 2008 8:24 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


There is another neat article about the Pando Aspen: http://discovermagazine.com/1993/oct/thetremblinggian285

Also the article says: There are even larger giants on Earth, and you don't have to travel to some far-flung corner of the world to see them. In 1992 two Michigan biologists startled the public by announcing their discovery of a fungus covering an area of 40 acres. Their announcement was soon followed by one from another group of researchers who claimed to have found a 1,500-acre fungus in Washington.


New York Times Published: May 18, 1992 A 38-acre fungus in Michigan was acclaimed last month as perhaps the largest living thing on Earth, dwarfing blue whales and sequoias. Now scientists say a fungus growing south of Mount Adams in southwestern Washington is nearly 40 times as large. The growth of the Washington fungus, Armillaria ostoyae, covers 1,500 acres, or about two and a half square miles. "We have the claim to fame as having the world's largest known organism," said Ken Russell, a forest pathologist at the State Department of Natural Resources. Up to 1,000 Years Old It might be even bigger, he said, if it were not for 20 years of efforts by the state and Champion International, a timber company, to eradicate the tree stumps that the fungus favors. Mr. Russell and Terry Shaw, a forest pathologist at the United States Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Experiment Station in Fort Collins, Colo., have studied the giant Washington fungus for two decades. Mr. Shaw estimated that it was 400 to 1,000 years old. Mr. Shaw said in an interview Saturday that while the Armillaria ostoyae Washington was similar to the Michigan fungus, Armillaria bulbosa, the ostoyae variety had "a greater ability to kill trees." Bigger Ones May Be Found Giant fungi are not readily visible because they grow mainly underground, decomposing and recycling wood and plants. The only signs of their presence on the surface are small edible mushrooms and the rot in trees they attack. But they are not always innocuous, sometimes attack healthy tissue. A few fungal species, like the Dutch elm pathogen, have managed to devastate entire populations of trees. The Michigan fungus was reported in the April issue of the journal Nature, where it was called the largest living thing on earth because its genetic makeup is uniform. Mr. Shaw dismissed the organism's celebrity with a shrug. "And I would suggest there are still bigger ones to find," he said, noting there was also a large Armillaria ostoyae west of LaPine, Ore. Dr. Johann N. Bruhn, a researcher at Michigan Technological University in Houghton who wrote the Nature article with two colleagues at the University of Toronto, said of Mr. Russell, "We're not in competition with each other." He said it made sense that a larger fungus would be found in the West, where uninterrupted stretches of forest with one species of tree made it easier for an individual fungus to spread. The fungus in the southern foothills of Mount Adams has grown in pine forests. It invades and kills trees at their roots or the roots of stumps. If unchecked, Mr. Russell said, the fungus could double in size every 20 years.

== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Apr 14 2008 1:34 am

The essential dichotomy, I've found among scientists, is that they are lumpers or splitters...


== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Apr 14 2008 3:27 am
From: Michael Davie

I read this article the other day. Do any of you know if Norway spruce
have epicormic or trace buds to "push out another trunk"? I was
unaware of that. Apparently these are, like so many very old trees,
small and stunted. I'd like to see them.