Researchers Say They've Found Europe's Oldest Tree
A weather-beaten pine clinging to a rocky slope in Italy is being called the oldest tree in Europe ever to be scientifically dated.
According to a new paper published in the journal Ecology, the species of Heldreich's pine, nicknamed "Italus" by researchers, is at least 1,230 years old.
Even more surprising, despite lacking a substantial canopy, this particular pine appears to be thriving, with heavy ring growth added to its trunk over the last several decades.
"The increment observed in the last decades contradicts the reduced growth that typically occurs as cambial age increases," the researchers write, "especially considering the widespread growth decline and dieback that various Mediterranean ecosystems have recently experienced."