The lone Norway Spruce is 13 feet tall, but this is only the visible portion of this “christmas tree”. Radiocarbon dating shows that its tremendous root system has been growing for approximately 9,550 years.
That makes this tree 4,000 years older than the first pyramids, and two times older that the previously recorded 3,500 – 4,000 year old trees.
Researchers discovered the conifer in Sweden in 2004. The lone Norway spruce is one of the species traditionally used to decorate European homes during Christmas. The researchers found the shrubby mountain survivor at an altitude of 2,985 feet (910 meters) in Dalarna Province.
Normally, a spruce’s trunk has the lifespan of about 600 years, but as soon as the stem dies another one emerges from the same root stock. The tree has essentially been cloning itself for thousands of years.
Most of the time these trees are dated by counting tree rings, which form annually within their trunks. But for the Norway spruce, the ancient remnants of its roots system were radiocarbon dated giving a more accurate dating.