According to scientists, the oldest single tree in Europe is Adonis, a Bosnian Pine (Pinus heldreichii) that can be found in the highlands of Northern Greece. The Bosnian Pine was a little sapling when the Byzantine Empire was at its peak and the Vikings ruled the seas. However, many have contradicted the scientists because there are many older trees in Europe, some of which have been in existence for 10,000 years.
The Bosnian Pine is a unique tree that does not rely on a mother plants or its ability to clone itself to survive. Many of the older trees in Europe are “clonal” meaning they are reproducing themselves asexually over and over again. Cloning is actually an effective strategy for survival but it is not the same as individual trees that are genetically identical and connected to the same root system.
In order to confirm the age of some trees, Stockholm University graduate student Paul J. Krusic and his colleges had to extract cores to count growth rings. The process did not harm Adonis because the cores themselves are only about 5 millimeters in diameter. The scientists counted the growth rings which they compared to nearby trees to account for any anomalies. Some of the tree rings were not counted because the scientists did not reach the center.
Aside from Adonis, the scientists found more than a dozen trees in the surroundings that are about 1,000 years old. What is truly remarkable with the ancient trees is their ability to survive in a relatively busy area. In America, ancient trees can only be found in the middle of nowhere but Adonis sits on a region where there is traffic from shepherds and hikers who are en-route to exciting destinations. Krusic believes that Adonis survived because it adapted to live in an ecosystem that no one else wanted.
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