A mile and a half later, after passing Teresa Lake and following the rising trail through a stand of limber pine, we finally found ourselves just below the tree line among some of the oldest living things on the planet--dozens of ancient bristlecone pines
growing amid the quartzite boulders and glacial debris beneath Wheeler Peak.
are thick and twisted, their trunks and branches like wet clay spun upward as though they were reaching for the heavens, trying to uproot themselves and float away on the wind.
Literally nothing is older than a bristlecone pine
tree: The oldest and longest-living species on the planet, these pine trees normally are found clinging to bare rocky landscapes of alpine or near-alpine mountain slopes.
The oldest trees are the bristlecone pine
(Pinus longaeva) found in the White Mountains of California at above 3000 m elevation.
Forest Service scientist Anna Schoettle, is trying to assess diversity of bristlecone pines
and to identify, for collection, germplasm that represents what is in the wild.
On the wind-whipped slopes of White Mountain, geriatric bristlecone pines
submit to life's tribulations.
are found on the southernmost tip of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.
And some bristlecone pines
are arguably the oldest living organisms on earth.
In the Rocky Mountains, we have bristlecone pines
. They're believed to be the world's oldest trees; some may be more than 5,000 years old!
In this area large limber pines grow on a rocky slope among standing dead limber pine snags, young living limber pines, krummholz Engelmann spruce [Picea engelmannii (Parry) Engelm.] and young bristlecone pines
(Pinus aristata Engelm.).
The comparison between these two species is not exact, however, since the oldest bristlecone pines
grow only at high elevations in an arid desert, notes Thomas P.
At 4,600 years old, the bristlecone pines
of California's Inyo National Forest may be the oldest living things.