The World’s Oldest Plant -Alive at the Last Ice Age

241981 Alive today, the 13-thousand year old Jurupa Oak lived through an Ice Age and existed before agriculture.

Scientists found  the oak in an unlikely habitat: dry and hot rocky hills and found that it survives against the odds like an insane sci-fi villain: by cloning itself to continue life after being burned to death.  The Jurupa Oak colony extends over twenty-five meters, expanding at a pace of two millimeters per year. Genetic analysis shows that the colony is really one organism.

The aged oaks acorns are sterile – it sacrificed the ability to reproduce for extended life (providing the psychotic drive all immortal villains need.)  Instead it survives California wildfires by resprouting around burned buds.  In fact, this Phoenix-like cloning is the only way it can expand, multiply reborn in fire, expanding ever-so-slowly outwards each time it happens.

It's an incredible example of adaptation: this lifeform was already middle-aged by the Bronze Age, and has been happily soaking up the sun as entire civilizations rise and fall.  We'll have to wait and see which of us wins this round.

Luke McKinney via

World's Oldest Plant 


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