The fact that conifers can grow old is only one advantage when it comes to conifers. There are conifers that can live for centuries, and they will accompany you through your life. However, if conifers grow freely, then they can live even longer than a thousand years. Therefore, it is interesting to take a closer look at the oldest conifers in the world. Sometimes experts have to make estimates in this regard, which is not easy. Here now follow the oldest conifers, which are also available as hedge plants.
The common yew from Llangernyw: four to five thousand years old.
The Common Yew from Llangernyw is a yew tree that grows in the village of Llangernyw, located in the eastern part of Wales. More specifically, this is a specimen of the common yew (Taxus baccata). With some trees it is relatively easy to determine age by counting the annual rings. With this yew, however, it is difficult because its trunk is split. In addition, it is generally difficult to determine the age of a yew tree. Between the two split trunk parts of this yew stood an oil tank and when specialists realized how old the tree was, this oil tank was removed in the middle of the last century.
In 2002, the well-known English botanist David Bellamy determined that the tree was estimated to be four to five thousand years old. He was able to determine this age by analyzing all the data available on the yew from Llangernyw. However, skeptics think that this tree can be only as old as the nearby cemetery of the church of St. Digain. Even if this yew tree should be only one and a half thousand years old as a result, it is still very special old. However, if we go by the first estimate, then the yew from Llangernyw is the second oldest living organism in the world.
Koca Porsuk: almost four thousand years old
The Koca Porsuk is also a Taxus baccata. This specimen grows near the city of Zonguldak, located on the northern Turkish coast. As I said, it is difficult to determine the age of a yew tree, but nevertheless, after extensive research, two researchers from the Faculty of Forestry at the Technical University of Trabzon have managed to determine that this tree must be 4112 years old. If these estimates are correct, then it is quite possible that the Koca Porsuk could be the second oldest tree in the world. The Koca Porsuk grows there at a slightly higher elevation, largely spared from humans. Its name means “big badger”.
The Ancient Yew”: four thousand years old
The Ancient Yew” means “the old yew tree”. There is also no question that this Taxus baccata near the church of St. John’s in Tisbury, southern England, is particularly old. In 1834, it was already written about an exceptionally large yew tree growing near the church, which had a trunk diameter of 37 cm. Because plant lovers realized that this was a special tree, it was filled with concrete. This was done to prevent further damage to the hollow inside of the tree. However, this also meant that the tree could not continue to grow. However, this did not prevent the leaves from sprouting.
David Bellamy was asked to determine the age of “The Ancient Yew. Using the method of carbon dating, he finally came to the conclusion that this ancient yew tree must be around four thousand years old.
Various yews – they are a few thousand years old.
There are various yew trees in the United Kingdom, which are based only on general estimates in terms of age. The yew from Fortingall can be mentioned here as an example. The age of this yew (Taxus baccata), which grows in the Scottish village of Fortingall, is between five thousand and nine thousand years, according to the inhabitants. However, recent research has shown that the age of this yew tree is between two thousand and three thousand years. Already in 1769 it was written about this tree, at that time the trunk diameter was already 16 meters. The Irish yew from Bellyconnell is also estimated to be at least two thousand years old.
So there is not only the Koca Porsuk, which is centuries old. There are also such specimens in other parts of this world. In Carzola, southern Spain, there is the “Tejo Milenario”, which means “thousand-year-old yew tree”. Scientists already know that this is the oldest tree in Spain and they estimate that this Taxus baccata must be at least two thousand years old. Also in Sochi, in the west of Russia, there is a forest with various yews, which, according to estimates, must be around two thousand years.
The determined age of the oldest conifer: it is 1681 years old.
With other varieties of conifers it is easier to determine the age exactly. Especially with the yew this is not so easy. Therefore, in the Canadian province of Ontario grows a Thuja occidentalis, which is said to be 1681 years old, because this has already been proven. This Thuja variety belongs to the same Thuja variety as the Thuja ‘Brabant’ and the Thuja ‘Emerald’, which are available through our webshop. Thus, this Thuja is the oldest specimen that could be discovered so far in the world. This tree has been given the name FL117. A little further away in Ontario grows FL101, which is of course also very old with its 1567 years.
So, all these examples show that you will have a lot of fun in your garden with a conifer hedge or individual conifers for a long time. All the trees mentioned above are specimens of conifer varieties that we also sell as hedge plants. If you give these plants exactly the care they need, you will enjoy them for the rest of your life. Leyland cypress and mock cypress can also reach a fairly old age.