Pinus longaeva D.K. Bailey
Pinus aristata Engelm. var. longaeva (D.K. Bailey) Little
Bristlecone pine, intermountain bristlecone pine, great basin bristlecone pine
Most pines are comparatively long-lived, but bristlecones redefine the concept of old age. The oldest known living specimen, the “Methuselah” tree, is 4,842 years old as of 2010! The intermountain bristlecone pine is a native of the western United States.
Interested in the oldest trees? Check this Wired magazine article.
Identification: Trees are up to 52' (16 m) tall. The crown is rounded or often irregular due to winds. Because of extreme age and harsh conditions, portions of each tree are usually dead. The bark is bright orange-yellow. Usually needles are in groups of 5 (sometimes 3 or 4). The deep yellow green needles curve upward, and they are unusually short: ½-1¼" (1.5-3.5 cm) × ¹/₃₂" (1 mm). Cones are 2-3½" (6-9.5 cm) long, purple when young, becoming red-brown. Each seed has a sharp thin thorn.
For further information, see the Pinus comparison tables.
Pinus longaeva on The Gymnosperm Database
Pinus longaeva on Wikipedia
Pinus longaeva on Oceanlight.com, a natural history stock photography site by Phillip Colla
Pinus longaeva at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension Forestry site
Pinus longaeva on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Pinus longaeva on Blue Planet Biomes
Pinus longaeva on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species
Pinus longaeva on Wikimedia Commons
Pinus longaeva on eFloras
Pinus longaeva description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 5-10: