From the building of the Egyptian pyramids to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried Pompeii to the collapse of the Mayan civilization, Methuselah has lived through them all. At roughly 4,800 years old, this Great Basin bristlecone pine is one of the oldest trees in world.
Methuselah grows nearly two miles above sea level in California’s Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. It’s been in good company over the past several thousand years. A number of trees in this protected area of the White Mountains are over 4,000 years old. Wander amongst these hardy plants with VRtually There in the video.
Great Basin bristlecone pines are among the longest living organisms on the planet. The species thrives on exposed slopes in arid climates and rocky soils. Their twisted trunks are shaped by the strong winds they endure at high elevations. The challenging conditions they call home means that competition for water and nutrients is scarce. In turn, the ability of bristlecones to withstand inhospitable environments may contribute to their longevity.
While many people know Methuselah as the most senior tree in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, that status may actually belong to a neighbor. Researchers from Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research claim to have discovered an even older tree, over 5,000 years old, nearby. The exact locations of both bristlecones remain secret to protect them from vandalism.
Travel to eastern California to see these remarkable trees up close in the video above.