Mark Cocker

Living trees that predate the dinosaurs

The lifespans of cedars, oaks and yews are remarkable enough, but they pale in comparison to America’s bristlecone pines

A bristlecone pine in the Sierra Nevada, western United States. [Alamy]

It is perhaps easy to understand why some of the Earth’s largest trees, with roots spreading deep into the underworld as their upper limbs ascend to heaven, are charged with symbolic importance. Yet the origins of our fixation are perhaps surprising. To give one example, the Buddha was said to have attained enlightenment beneath the spreading limbs of a bodi, or pipal tree.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in