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Bill Taylor | all galleries >> California Landscapes >> Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest > Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
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Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Often referred to as “the Patriarch,” Bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) is the oldest known organism on earth, some being recorded to reach over 4500 years in age. Their ability to survive depends upon a small part of the tree which continues to grow despite the death, thousands of years ago, of a large portion of the same tree. The dead portions are revealed in light yellow-orange and grey, which support the living bright red and brown bark and the cones and green needles. The environment is harsh, situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet to 12,500 feet, strong winds and wide temperature variations. These factors, coupled with poor soil, sculpt and stunt the trees. Further the wood is resinous which protects the trees from decomposition.


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