World's oldest living tree discovered in Sweden

Apr 16, 2008

The world's oldest recorded tree is a 9,550 year old spruce in the Dalarna province of Sweden
The world’s oldest recorded tree is a 9,550 year old spruce in the Dalarna province of Sweden.

The spruce tree has shown to be a tenacious survivor that has endured by growing between erect trees and smaller bushes in pace with the dramatic climate changes over time.

For many years the spruce tree has been regarded as a relative newcomer in the Swedish mountain region.

”Our results have shown the complete opposite, that the spruce is one of the oldest known trees in the mountain range,” says Leif Kullman, Professor of Physical Geography at Umea University.

A fascinating discovery was made under the crown of a spruce in Fulu Mountain in Dalarna. Scientists found four “generations” of spruce remains in the form of cones and wood produced from the highest grounds.

The discovery showed trees of 375, 5,660, 9,000 and 9,550 years old and everything displayed clear signs that they have the same genetic makeup as the trees above them.
Since spruce trees can multiply with root penetrating braches, they can produce exact copies, or clones.

The tree now growing above the finding place and the wood pieces dating 9,550 years have the same genetic material. The actual has been tested by carbon-14 dating at a laboratory in Miami, Florida, USA.

Previously, pine trees in North America have been cited as the oldest at 4,000 to 5,000 years old.

In the Swedish mountains, from Lapland in the North to Dalarna in the South, scientists have found a cluster of around 20 spruces that are over 8,000 years old.

Although summers have been colder over the past 10,000 years, these trees have survived harsh weather conditions due to their ability to push out another trunk as the other one died.

”The average increase in temperature during the summers over the past hundred years has risen one degree in the mountain areas,” explains Leif Kullman.

Therefore, we can now see that these spruces have begun to straighten themselves out. There is also evidence that spruces are the species that can best give us insight about climate change.

The ability of spruces to survive harsh conditions also presents other questions for researchers.

Have the spruces actually migrated here during the Ice Age as seeds from the east 1,000 kilometres over the inland ice that that then covered Scandinavia? Do they really originate from the east, as taught in schools? “My research indicates that spruces have spent winters in places west or southwest of Norway where the climate was not as harsh in order to later quickly spread northerly along the ice-free coastal strip,” says Leif Kullman.

“In some way they have also successfully found their way to the Swedish mountains.”

Source: Swedish Research Council

Explore further: Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warming climate has consequences for Michigan's forests

Apr 11, 2014

In the last 100 years, Michigan has become warmer, with more rain coming through heavy downpours. Climate models suggest that the state will continue to warm and variability in precipitation patterns will ...

Mobile climate station heads to Finland

Feb 13, 2014

(Phys.org) —Last year, the mobile climate-sensing facility called AMF2 spent its days cruising Pacific waters, fixed aboard a working cargo ship traveling back and forth between Hawaii and Los Angeles. ...

Red spruce reviving in New England, but why?

Aug 30, 2013

In the 1970s, red spruce was the forest equivalent of a canary in the coal mine, signaling that acid rain was damaging forests and that some species, especially red spruce, were particularly sensitive to ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

earls
1 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2008
THE WORLD'S OLDEST RECORDED TREE IS A 9,550 YEAR OLD SPRUCE IN THE DALARNA PROVINCE OF SWEDEN!!!!1
roy1
not rated yet Aug 04, 2009
THE WORLD'S OLDEST RECORDED TREE IS A 9,550 YEAR OLD SPRUCE IN THE DALARNA PROVINCE OF SWEDEN!!!!

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.