Infinity Trees

The trees, according to the ecologist Constance Millar, give you a “sense of infinity.” Photo by Adam Perez

We know that getting to a trillion trees is a stretch, but we might be able to sense infinity from a certain species of tree, according to Soumya Karlamangla in the New York Times article we link to here. Photos by Adam Perez help alot.

Bristlecone pines can live and reproduce even with only one branch of needles. Photo by Adam Perez

Historically I have worked to find my personal sense of infinity deep within tropical forests, but reading this and seeing the photos of these trees in a totally different type of ecysystem I can be convinced that it is elsewhere also:

In California, Where Trees Are King, One Hardy Pine Has Survived for 4,800 Years

In a harsh alpine desert, the Great Basin bristlecone pines abide amid climate change. Among them is the oldest tree on Earth (if you can find it).

Great Basin bristlecone pine trees endure in harsh conditions that other vegetation cannot withstand. Photo by Adam Perez

BISHOP, Calif. — Before the Egyptians built the Pyramids, before Jesus Christ was born, before the Roman Empire formed or collapsed, the trees were here.

Ten thousand feet up in the White Mountains of central California, in a harsh alpine desert where little else survives, groves of gnarled, majestic Great Basin bristlecone pines endure, some for nearly 5,000 years. Their multicolor trunks bend at gravity-defying angles, and their bare branches jut toward the sky, as if plucked from the imaginations of Tim Burton or J.K. Rowling.

These ancient organisms, generally considered the oldest trees on Earth, seem to have escaped the stringent laws of nature.“Bristlecones are kind of magical that way,” said Constance Millar, an ecologist who for more than three decades has been studying the pines, which grow only in California, Nevada and Utah. Wandering the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in Inyo County, where these conifers have eked out an existence for millenniums, she said, “gives you that sense of infinity.”

I recently drove to Bishop, an outpost in the arid Owens Valley that once served as a backdrop for Westerns (and still could), to visit the hallowed forest nestled in the nearby mountains. My trek felt like something of a pilgrimage, as we Californians revere our trees above almost all else.

The Golden State is home to the tallest, largest and oldest trees in the world, what one botany enthusiast called the “tree-fecta.” Hyperion, a 379-foot coastal redwood, stands taller than the Statue of Liberty. General Sherman, the biggest tree on the planet by volume, wows visitors to Sequoia National Park. And here, Methuselah, the king of the hardy bristlecone pines, is believed to have sprouted 4,855 years ago…

Read the whole article here.

One thought on “Infinity Trees

  1. Pingback: Infinity Trees — Organikos – Echoes in the Mist

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