13 Oldest Trees in the World (Pictures & Videos)

Trees may live very long lives, as we all know. The fact that they usually outlive humans and maybe most other species on earth is not surprising. Depending on the species, trees can live anywhere from a few thousand years to less than 100 years.

But one species is at the top as one of the oldest trees in the world. With an estimated age of about 5,000 years, the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), sometimes known as the Methuselah, is the oldest known living tree.

The hard environment that the bristlecone pine inhabits is what allows it to have a lengthy life. Dense wood is produced by a slow growth rate combined with extremely cold temperatures brought on by strong winds. This indicates that in certain years, they grow so slowly that no rings are added.

The bristlecone pine resists decay, insects, fungi, and erosion because of its slow growth and solid wood. Bristlecone pines are rarely impacted by wildfires because their growing regions are bare of trees. These slowly growing trees can grow to 50 feet in height and 154 inches in diameter in the trunk.

These interesting plants even have needles that can survive for up to 30 years. Because they don’t need to grow new ones, this enables the trees to save energy.

Among the trees in the conifer family, the bristlecone pine cone is the only one that takes around two years to attain maturity. The cones of the bristlecone pine are named for their scales, which resemble claws.

Other trees have lived for a very long time than bristlecone pine. These old trees have endured shifting climates, witnessed the rise and fall of civilizations, and have even remained strong during the ardent development of human industry.

They provide evidence of Mother Nature’s long-term perspective on caring for the planet. Keeping that in mind, have a look at these ten of the oldest trees on Earth.

Photo credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Oldest Trees in the World

  • Prometheus (at least 4,900 years old when it was cut down)
  • Methuselah
  • Sarv-e Abarqu
  • Llangernyw Yew
  • Alerce
  • Patriarca da Floresta
  • Giant sequoias (over 3,000 years old)
  • BLK 227 bald cypress (at least 2,624 years old) 
  • CB-90-11 (at least 2,435 years old) 
  • Olive Tree of Vouves
  • Jōmon Sugi
  • Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses
  • General Sherman

1. Prometheus (at least 4,900 years old when it was cut down)

Bristlecone pines can live to be over 5,000 years old and are thought to be the oldest individual living things in the world.NPS Photo

Before it was felled in 1964, Prometheus, a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) on Wheeler Peak, Nevada, had lived for about 5,000 years. It is still the longest-living tree that has been conclusively recorded.

Geographer Donald R. Currey, who was studying ice age glaciology and had been permitted to obtain core samples from pine trees in the park, brought Prometheus to its demise when he chopped it down (also with permission).

Currey calculated that the tree was over 4,900 years old based on his count of 4,862 rings. There’s little doubt that the tree was older than 4,862 years since the stump Currey used to count the rings was not taken from the very bottom.

The National Park Service claims there are conflicting explanations for why the tree was taken down. According to the most widely accepted version, Currey chopped down the tree because his coring tool became caught.

Some advise him to chop the tree down so he can more accurately count its rings. In the Great Basin National Park in Nevada, a portion of the tree is currently on display at the Great Basin Visitor Centre.

2. Methuselah

Aug 8, 2022 | Articles, Nature

The ancient bristlecone pine Methuselah was the oldest known non-clonal creature on Earth until 2013. When Methuselah was investigated in 1957, he was 4,789 years old, with an estimated seeding date of 2833 BC.

That means that in 2024, Methuselah—often considered to as the oldest tree in the world—will be 4,856 years old. But in the nearby Inyo National Forest of Methuselah’s White Mountains in California, another bristlecone pine was found that is believed to be much older.

The precise sites of Methuselah and its unidentified senior pine are guarded closely. You can visit the grove where Methuselah hides, but you’ll have to hazard a guess as to which tree it is. Methuselah is still alive. Is it the one in the picture above?

3. Sarv-e Abarqu

Monumental trees: Mediterranean Cypress ‘Sarv-e Abarqu’ Sarv-e Abarqu in Abarkuh, Yazd, Iran

The cypress tree Sarv-e Abarqu, commonly known as the “Zoroastrian Sarv,” is located in the Iranian province of Yazd. The “Cypress of Abarqu,” also known as Sarv-e Abarkuh, is an ancient Cupressus sempervirens Cyprus tree that is thought to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old.

It is situated in the Iranian city of Abarkuh and is recognized as a national monument. It is probably the oldest tree in Asia as a result.

The Cyprus tree holds special significance in Iranian history and culture. It is depicted as a representation of life and beauty in Persian poetry and sculptures found in Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the former Achaemenid Empire.

The tree that is also referred to as the “Zoroastrian Sar” has unclear origins. According to legend, the tree was planted by the ancient prophet Zoroaster during his travels and teachings.

The Cypress of Abarqu is a very old tree that stands out from the others to be included in our list of the oldest trees in the world. Sarv-e Abarqu is probably the oldest living thing in Asia, as many have pointed out.

4. Llangernyw Yew

File:The Llangernyw yew.jpg – Wikipedia

This amazing yew grows in the modest churchyard of St. Dygain’s Church in the UK’s North Wales community of Llangernyw. The Llangernyw Yew, which is estimated to be 4,000 years old, was planted during the Bronze Age and is still flourishing now!

The Tree Council named the tree one of the 50 Great British trees in 2002 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s golden jubilee. The tree has roots in Welsh mythology as well, since it is associated with a ghost known as Angelystor, also known as the “Recording Angel.”

5. Alerce

Is the world’s oldest tree growing in a ravine in Chile? | Science | AAASVisit

Fitzroya cupressoides is a tall tree species indigenous to the Andes mountains, commonly known as the Alerce. Since the majority of the larger specimens were heavily logged over millennia, it is very impossible to determine how old these trees can reach.

Except for the bristlecone pine of North America, many botanists think they are the second-longest living trees on Earth. Grand Abuelo, as the oldest known live specimen is aptly named, is at least 3,000 years old and may even be older than Methuselah, though this has not been proved.

6. Patriarca da Floresta

Patriarca de Floresta” in Brazil | Trees to plant, Old trees, Deciduous

This tree, known in Brazil as Patriarca da Floresta, is an example of the species Cariniana legalis. Its estimated age exceeds 2,000 years. The tree is revered, but because of deforestation in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela, there is a serious threat to the species.

7. Giant sequoias (over 3,000 years old)

World’s Largest Trees GIANT SEQUOIAS | 4K – YouTube

It is estimated that General Sherman in Sequoia National Park, California, is more than 3,000 years old.

Similar to alerces, huge sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in California are so big that tree coring techniques are usually unable to determine their age accurately while the trees are still living.

According to Peter Brown, the founder of Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, which keeps track of the oldest scientifically verified trees in the world, the most accurate estimates of old sequoia trees frequently originate from trees that have been chopped down or fell for natural causes, he told Live Science in an email.

There are already four known big sequoias that are over 3,000 years old, however none are still standing. The President is thought to be more than 3,200 years old and is located in California’s Sequoia National Park.

Estimated to be over 2,200 years old, General Sherman, the biggest tree in the world, is situated in Sequoia National Park.

8. BLK 227 bald cypress (at least 2,624 years old)

A 2,624-year-old tree found in the Black River (YouTube)

The discovery of a 2,624-year-old bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) was reported by researchers in 2019. The oldest known living tree in eastern North America is this nameless tree. It is located somewhere along the Black River, a tributary of the Cape Fear River, in North Carolina. Its exact location is unknown, as is the case with many other old trees.

In the same area, researchers discovered other trees that were more than 2,000 years old. Older bald cypress trees may still be present in the area because just a small percentage of the trees in the area had core samples collected.

9. CB-90-11 (at least 2,435 years old)

Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines aren’t thought to live as long as their Great Basin relatives.  (Image credit: Russell Burden/Getty Images)

Though they are not believed to live as long as their Great Basin cousins, Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines (Pinus aristata) can reach extremely advanced ages. There is proof that these trees can live for at least 2,500 years, according to 1992 research.

The group examined trees on Colorado’s Black Mountain and Almagre Mountain. Twelve extant Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines exceeding 1,600 years of age were discovered, along with four exceeding 2,100 years of age. The oldest known sample, CB-90-11, had a minimum age of 2,435 years.

10. Olive Tree of Vouves

File:Olive tree of Vouves.jpg – Wikipedia

This ancient olive tree, one of seven in the Mediterranean thought to be at least 2,000–3,000 years old, is situated on the Greek island of Crete. At nearly 3,000 years old, the Olive Tree of Vouves is thought to be the oldest of them all; however, its exact age cannot be confirmed.

Olives are still produced there, and they are very valuable. Due in part to their hardiness and resistance to disease, fire, and drought, olive trees are long-lived and widely used in the area.

11. Jōmon Sugi

File:Jomon Sugi 06.jpg – Wikipedia

One of the main causes for Yakushima, Japan’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is Jōmon Sugi, the island’s biggest and oldest cryptomeria tree. The tree is at least 2,000 years old, but some specialists think its age may even exceed 3,000 years.

According to that notion, Jōmon Sugi might be the world’s oldest tree, possibly even older than Methuselah and its kin. Whichever way you look at the numbers, this tree is worthy of recognition.

12. Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses

The Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses: Sicily’s Most Famous Tree

The world’s largest and oldest known chestnut tree is found atop Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy. The age of this tree, which is thought to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old, is especially remarkable given that Mount Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

The tree is located within 5 miles of the crater of Etna. The mythology that gave rise to the tree’s name described a group of one hundred knights who were caught in a violent thunderstorm. The narrative goes that under the enormous tree, they were all able to find refuge.


The variety of trees on this list is proof positive that nature is indeed unpredictable. Numerous myths and tales honor these trees for their protective roles in the local ecosystems. Plant trees now if you wish to contribute to the planting of the oldest trees in the future!


A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *