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Winter hardy / Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)
Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)
Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)
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Bristlecone pines can live up to 5,000 years, making them one of the oldest trees in the world.

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Family: Pinaceae
Scientific name: Pinus longaeva
Common name: Bristlecone pine
Origin: United States

Bristlecone pines can live up to 5,000 years, making them one of the oldest trees in the world. They are found in the mountains in the southwest of the US, in the states of California, Utah and Nevada. Usually around 3,000 meters in altitude, where especially the highest occurring trees grow in extremely harsh conditions. This is because it is very dry and windy there, and the soil contains few nutrients. As a result, growth is very slow with sometimes only 2 cm thickness growth per century. At the same time, the dry conditions mean that wood decomposes only slowly, so that older trees are often partly dead and partly alive. They therefore often have an erratic appearance. The oldest specimens grow in Inyo National Forest, but the exact location is secret in order to protect them. 

The bark is a light, orange-yellow color and eventually the tree can reach a height of about 10 meters. The needle-shaped leaves can remain green for up to 45 consecutive years, only to be replaced by new ones. The cones have spiny tips with several seeds in between. The seeds are eaten by the Clark's nutcracker which often buries a supply for the winter. Eventually the seeds which are not recovered by the bird will germinate.

The species is completely hardy and can also be kept at sea level. The growth will then be a lot faster and also less erratic. It is important to put the tree in the sun as much as possible and to give it a well-drained, sandy soil. In the winter months you may want to protect the tree from moisture, because they are susceptible to wood rot. 

Sowing description: Soak seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water, then sow in a mix of sand and seedling soil (2:1). Keep the soil constantly slightly moist and let it germinate at 20-25degC. Germination percentage usually around 50%.   

Sowing time: Whole year
Difficulty: Intermediate
Minimum temperature: -15 degrees Celsius

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