Some of the oldest trees found in Asia are given below:
An ancient bristlecone pine
Ancient trees in Asia are among the oldest living organisms on Earth. The oldest tree – an ancient bristlecone pine – lives high in the White Mountains of eastern California, USA. The exact location is kept a secret to prevent vandalism and collection of parts such as dead wood and seeds which sell for large sums of money as collector’s items. The oldest living things on Earth are bristlecone pine trees, a tree called Methuselah is 4,845 years old and still alive today.
Bristlecone pines are kind of spooky-looking because they look like little Christmas trees or upside-down ice cream cones. They live extremely long lives in extremely harsh conditions at the top of mountains.
Bristlecone pines grow in the rocky, cold ground at very high altitudes, normally between 10,000 and 11,500 feet up. Most of them grow above timberline. The white and twisted trunks and branches make them look like something out of a science fiction movie. They often seem to grow out of solid rock.
Jōmon Sugi (Jomon sugi)
Another ancient tree is the Jōmon Sugi (Jomon sugi) which is part of a prehistoric forest named Jōmon-sugi Kokubun-sai. The trees are believed to be 7,000 years old and were found on the Japanese island of Yakushima. These trees are protected by Japanese law but still suffer from inevitable damage caused by nature such as typhoons and landslides. However, these decrepit yet ancient structures have become tourist attractions in Japan despite their status as protected wildlife.
Jōmon Sugi (Jomon sugi) is a Japanese term for the oldest sugi tree in Japan. It has been designated as a natural monument by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan since September 2, 1965. The Jōmon sugi is located at the foot of Mount Pippu and its age is estimated to be over 7,000 years old. It is a Japanese Cedar (“Cedrus Japonica”), also known as sugi, whose scientific name has been changed from “Cryptomeria japonica” to “Sugi cedar”. Jōmon Sugi is about 20 meters high with a circumference of 16.5 meters. There is a scar of a lightning strike about 30 meters above the ground, and it continues to grow from the top while exposed to erosion by wind and rain. The Jōmon Sugi has been designated as National Treasure of Japan, in September 2007. The name “Jōmon” was given because the shape is similar to archaeological relics found in the Yayoi period. Before being named Jōmon Sugi, its name was Hideyoshi Cedar for about 100 years.
The third oldest tree in Asia is the Sarv-e Abarqu complex specimen located at Abarkooh, Iran which has recently been dated to around 3,000 years old! The Sarv-e Abarqu is one of the most important trees in Asia. It is located at the end of the Zagros Mountains near Qom, between Kufa and Naein. The tree has a height of 20 meters and its circumference reaches 85 m. According to the research, this tree is around 3000 years old. It survived wars and historical events of these years. Moreover, it has gone through six Ice Ages with its unique identity.
Earlier, it was assumed that the Kabk tree is the only one in Asia that survives after Ice Age. However, now they have found out that the Sarv-e Abarqu tree is older than Kabak. Researchers believe that this tree lived during the time of Cyrus The Great and it was considered as a gift to his daughter which he named ‘Barkh’.
It’s possible that some trees in Asia may be older than 5,000 years but it’s difficult to find proof. For example, the roots of a spectacularly large baobab tree have been carbon-dated at around 6,900 years old – close to the age of the Earth itself! However, this is just a root system and not as impressive as a multi-trunked specimen that can reach 7-8 meters (~23 feet) in diameter.
The next-oldest trees are found near Lake Tianshan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, growing in the remote Changbai Mountains (the “Immortal” mountains). One particular stand called “Hundred-Billion-Dollar Forest”, has been measured by scientists to be 260 years old.
These ancient trees are very old compared to the age of our planet – but they’re still babies compared to Earth’s earliest-known living organisms! In 1952, scientists discovered evidence of blue-green algae fossils that were 3.4 billion years old! They weren’t trees as we know them, but microbial colonies that floated in an aquatic environment much like today’s stromatolites.
Ancient trees in Asia may be big and awe-inspiring, however, they’re still far younger than what Earth has already produced.
Another very old tree is located in the rainforest of Uludag near Bursa, Turkey. It has a circumference at the base which measures over 33 feet (10 meters), and a height of 210 feet (64 meters). This makes it an estimated 2,000 years old.
A creosote bush grows on Cave Mountain between Death Valley and Grand Canyon National Park in southern California, USA. Scientists have determined this plant to be 11,700 years old!