Ancient Bristlecone Pine in Winter

September 01, 2023



Photographer: Marcin Zajac 
Summary Author: Marcin Zajac 

This gnarly tree is an ancient bristlecone pine growing in the White Mountains of California at an elevation of about 10,000 ft (3,048 m). These bristlecone trees are the oldest living non-clonal organisms in the world. Some of them have been dated to be nearly 5,000 years old. So, they were already alive when the pyramids were being built in Egypt.

Conditions in these remote mountains are very severe, with cold temperatures, a short growing season, high winds, and barren dolomite soil. Yet bristlecone pines thrive in these surroundings and attain their great age not in spite of the harsh environment, but because of it - the pines grow very slowly which makes their wood very dense and resistant to insects, disease, and erosion. They also face little competition for resources as few other species can survive such relentless conditions. Photo taken on the night of February 7, 2022, with the Milky Way as a backdrop.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California Coordinates: 37.3853, -118.1782

Related Links:

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Marcin’s Website