Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oldest Living Tree

A Norway spruce growing in Sweden has a root system that has been growing for 9,550 years! The tree is only about 13 feet tall, but the trunk is not the first first one grown from the roots. Leif Kullman, professor at UmeĆ„ University led the team that discovered the tree’s age.

The spruce’s stems or trunks have a lifespan of around 600 years, “but as soon as a stem dies, a new one emerges from the same root stock,” Kullman explained. “So the tree has a very long life expectancy.”

The age of the root system was determined by radiocarbon dating.

Trees much older than 9,550 years would be impossible in Sweden, because ice sheets covered the country until the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 years ago, Kullman noted.

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