Many news sources worldwide recently reported the discovery of a 1900-year-old “pine” in Sichuan Province, southwest China. It’s a giant of a tree, six stories tall, with a girth of 7.5 m (25 feet) and roots reaching more than 50 m (164 feet) in all directions. The hollow trunk so large seven men can stand up inside it, but the discoverers, a group of foresters, say it is healthy and in no particular danger. Chinese officials expect it to become a local tourist attraction and are setting up means to protect it.
This is far from the oldest individual tree in the world. One contender for that title is a bristlecone pine tree (Pinus longaeva) in California’s White Mountain range nicknamed Methuselah that is over 4,700 years old. (For more ancient trees and plants, read The World’s Oldest Plants.)
Also, as anyone who knows conifers can clearly see, the tree is not a pine (Pinus spp.) and, in fact, looks nothing like a pine. I’m not an expert on oriental conifers, but I would guess it’s probably a hemlock (Tsuga). Perhaps a reader can clarify the situation?
Images from 8 News NOW Las Vegas