Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Joyce Newman

A Bristlecone Pine Named ‘Methuselah’

Posted in Around the Garden, Gardens and Collections on December 19 2011, by Joyce Newman

Bristlecone Pine
It is easy to see where the bristlecone gets its name.

The oldest living tree currently known on the planet–a Bristlecone Pine named “Methuselah”–is located high in the White Mountains of eastern California. It is estimated to be about 4,700 years old, as old as the great pyramids in Egypt and older than Hammurabi, the Babylonian king. To protect the tree, its exact location has been kept a secret.

Scientists say that other, even older bristlecones (Pinus longaeva) exist, but simply haven’t been dated yet. As you have probably guessed, the species gets its common name from its scaled cones, which have spiny, claw-like bristles sticking out from each scale.

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