Forest of Four Holes Swamp, SC

Old-growth Taxodium distichum in Four Holes Swamp, South Carolina, home to the oldest documented baldcypress in SC.

Taxodium distichum is among the most long-lived species in eastern North America. One tree in eastern North Carolina is known to have lived at least 1622 yrs.
Note: these ages are derived from coring above a baldcypress' basal flare.

(photo ©2007 Neil Pederson)

Eastern OLDLIST Introduction

Eastern OLDLIST is a 'franchise' database of OLDLIST, a database of ancient trees and their ages.  The purpose of this list is to identify and highlight maximum ages for species in eastern North America. This list will contain only well-verified or well-documentsd tree ages (see Technical Information below for further information). The oldest trees world-wide are typically conifers living in extreme environments (arid to semi-arid or elevational/latitudinal treelines, of whichthe oldest-known tree in the world, Pinus longaeva, lives in a combination of these extreme environments (Schulman, 1954)). Eastern North America is generally warm and moist and dominated by broadleaf species. Maximum tree ages in this region are often much less than other regions (though see ages for Thuja occidentalis, Taxodium distichum and Juniperus virginiana). As a result, maximum ages in this diverse and mostly temperate environment are often overlooked.

These pages are intended to inform scientists, naturalists and general dendrophiles [otherwise known as druids]. Other than roughly ten to twenty main species in eastern North America, it can be argued that little is known about species longevity and persistence in the forest within the region (Pederson et al., 2007). Undoubtedly there are great things and surprises to be learned in these less-well studied species; just check out the maximum age of Nyssa sylvatica!!! We would like to also characterize the distribution of ages for species across space. In some places, like the Piedmont or Lake Ontario physiographic provinces or places like St. Lawrence and Mississippi Valleys or say, Mississippi, old trees might be hard to come by. Therefore, we especially encourage submissions of tree ages from highly impacted areas where ages might not be near the maximum age for a species. We hope to use this information to deepen our knowledge of these forests and help us predict how forests might change in altered climatic and ecological conditions (see Loehle, 1998; Loehle, 2000; Dayton, 2003; Schmidly 2005).

Due to the sheer volume of species in eastern North America, the main page will only list the oldest individual for each species unless there are other trees three years or less younger than the oldest-known. The oldest-known and all others will be listed on a species page so that maximum age in regions, provinces and states can be studied. Similarly, some species, like Picea glauca and Prunus serotina are natually found outside of the region for this database. Therefore, max ages of those within this region will be reported here. For the max age documented across its range, please check the master OLDLIST. One exception is Quercus muehlenbergii. It has populations west of the Great Plains, but has a predominately eastern distribution. In this case, we'll claim it!! At any rate, these pages will be continually evolving.

Please submit old ages and photos of old trees to Neil Pederson

Technical Information for OLDLIST and Eastern OLDLIST By: Neil Pederson Four types of ages are recognized in the database:  
   XD: crossdated 
   RC: ring counted 
   EX: extrapolations (usually based on ring measurements) 
   HI: historic record 

Most of this documentation of tree age listed herewere dereived throughg tree-ring analysis over the last few decades. Crossdated ages are derived through recognized dendrochronological procedures (e.g., Stokes and Smiley 1968; Swetnam, Thompson, and Sutherland 1985; Schweingruber 1987).  For a crossdated age, there should be no question of the age of the portion of the tree sampled, except in any portion of the ring series not confidently crossdated with either other trees at the same site or other sites in the area.  Ring-counted ages are derived by simple ring counts and may contain errors in age due to missing or false rings, suppressed areas, or other tree-ring anomalies.  "Age" in these first two types will invariably be a minimum age rather than true chronological age owing to the difficulty of sampling a tree exactly at the point of germination.  Extrapolations are ages derived by regression from age/size relationships (e.g. Stephenson and Demetry 1995) or other mathematical or graphical methods.  Ranges of ages derived by extrapolations are welcome and can be accommodated in the database.  Some tree ages, such as the Lutheran Theological Seminary scarlet oak in Philadelphiaa, PA, are well-documented through the written record. These historical ages are based upon historical reference to the tree.  At present, OLDLIST contains only one historical age, that for Ficus religiosa at a Buddhist Temple in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.  A continuous historical account of four trees planted there in the 3rd century B.C. has been kept (letter to R.J. Hartesveldt from Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the USA, December 15, 1972).  An individual tree may have up to two entries in the database.  For example, a tree may have one entry for the age of a crossdated radial increment core and a second for an extrapolation age to a possible pith or germination date.

Why the black?


Dendrochronology: The Ultimate Tree Ring Web Pages

Life History Information for Trees: North American Silvics Manual

Eastern Forests: Eastern Native Tree Society


Old-Growth Forests:


The Shelton Family next to a Castanea dentata in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The oldest, recently-documented, American Chestnut was a dead stem at least 270 yrs old

(photo © courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Library and The American Chestnut Foundation)

Dr. David Orwig next to the oldest known living Quercus rubra (326 yrs) on Wachusett Mtn. just outside of Boston, MA

(photo ©2006 David Orwig)

H. Myvonwynn Hopton coring one of the four!! Quercus montana (also/formerly known as Q. prinus) 425-427 yrs old

This one and one other is in Uttertown, NJ

(photo ©2006 Neil Pederson)

Species Age
ID Location Collector(s), Dater(s), Reference(s)
1000+ yrs
Thuja occidentalis 1653 XD FL117 Ontario, Canada Kelly and Larson 1991
Taxodium distichum 1622 XD BCK 69 Bladen Co., North Carolina Stahle, Cleaveland, Hehr 1988
Juniperus virginiana 940 XD -- WV B. Buckley, P. Krusic, E. Cook, Maxwell et al 1, Maxwell et al 2, D'Arrigo et al.
Nyssa sylvatica 679 XD -- NH Dan Sperduto; P. Krusic; Sperduto et al., 2000
Tsuga canadensis 555 XD 039021 Tionesta, PA E. Cook; Cook and Cole, 1991
Liriodendron tulipifera 509 XD*  FCL-13b Forge Creek, Great Smoky Mountains Nat. Park 2007 Dendroecological Fieldweek Stand Dynamics & Carbon Sequestration Groups, N. Pederson, T. Evans; * only able to XD to 1596
Pinus resinosa 500 RC -- Granite Lake, Kenora, Ontario Canada S. St. George; Ontario's Old Trees
400-499 yrs
Quercus alba 464 XD 085141 Buena Vista, VA E. Cook; N. Pederson; Pederson, 2005
Pinus palustris 458 XD -- Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve, NC J.T. Ortegren & P. Knapp
Picea rubens 445 XD 05BCL901a Fundy Escarpment, NB, Cana. B. Phillips
Quercus muehlenbergii 429 XD PSC23 Guadalupe Mtns. Nat. Park, TX D.Stahle, M.Therrell, D.Griffin, D. (Daniel) Stahle
Quercus montana 427 XD LBC25 Uttertown, NJ E. Cook; N. Pederson; Pederson et al., 2004
Quercus montana 427 XD OCP23 Otter Creek, PA N. Pederson; N. Pederson; Pederson, 2005
Quercus montana 425 XD OCP23 Uttertown, NJ H.M. Hopton, N. Pederson; N. Pederson; Pederson, 2005
Quercus montana 425 RC -- PA M. Abrams
Taxodium ascendens 417 XD -- FL W.P. Tyminski, J.T. Maxwell
Platanus occidentalis 412 RC BHY001 MO R. Guyette, M. Stambaugh
Aesculus flava 410 RC pre-1700 -- Gladie Creek, KY A. Cooper, Cooper 2011
Pinus strobus 408 XD sww51 Swan Lake, Algonquin Park, Ont. Canada R.P. Guyette & B. Cole; ITRDB
Quercus macrocarpa 401 XD FCM011 Custer State Park, SD S. Voelker (see note on species page on this age)
300-399 yrs
Pinus rigida 398 XD MLP16a Minnewaska Lake St. Park, NY C. McIntire, K. Pendergrass, NADEF 2013 Advanced DendroClimatology Group
Quercus stellata  395 XD KEY13 Osage County, OK D. Stahle; ITRDB
Betula alleghaniensis 387 RC -- Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada Vasiliauskas, S. A.; Ontario's Old Trees
Betula alleghaniensis 367 XD HTB01 Raquette Lake, NY S. Broyles and D. Barclay
Betula lenta 361 XD STE03 New Paltz, NY E. Cook; N. Pederson & H.M. Hopton; Pederson et al., 2007
Carya ovata 354 XD WFS08a Fiddler's Green, VA N. Pederson; A. Curtis; Pederson et al., 2007
Magnolia accuminata 348 XD MDC02b Fiddler's Green, VA N. Pederson; H.M. Hopton; Pederson et al., 2007
Picea mariana 330 XD -- Sleeping Giant Prov. Park, Ontario, Canada Girardin et. al, 2006
Quercus rubra 326 XD RO25 Wachusett Mtn., MA D. Orwig, C. Cogbill; Orwig et al., 2001
Carya glabra 325 RC -- Gregory Ridge Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Pinus echinata 324 XD GMX307 Great Smokey Mtns NP, Tennessee, USA 2007 Dendroecological Fieldweek Fire History Group
Betula alleghaniensis 320 RC -- Russell Field Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Fraxinus nigra 319 XD -- Lac Duparquet, Quebec Tardif & Bergeron, 1999
Acer saccharum 315 XD -- North-central Maine S. Fraver and A.S. White
Tsuga caroliniana 307 XD 101231 Kelsey Tract, NC E. Cook; Cook and Cole, 1991
Acer rubrum 300 XD CATB142 Catskill Mtns, NY P. Sheppard & C. Canham; P. Sheppard; Pederson et al., 2007.
200-299 yrs          
Juniperus virginiana 294 XD -- Ball's Falls, Niagra Escarpment, Canada P. Kelly & D. Larson
Quercus bicolor 285 XD RHS01a Catkill, New York D, & N.Pederson, M.Hopton
Ostrya virginiana 281 RC -- North-central Maine S. Fraver and A.S. White
Pinus pungens 271 XD ---- Pendleton Co., WV A. Hessl, T. Saladyga, et al.
Castanea dentata 270 XD GB204B Greenbriar, Great Smoky Mountains, TN J. Young, W. Blozan; ITRDB
Oxydendron arboreum 263 RC CW50 Collins Woods, OH J. Rentch, Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Picea glauca 262 XD -- North-central Maine S. Fraver and A.S. White
Quercus velutina 257 XD LYN33B Lynn Hollow, TN D. Stahle, M.Therrell; ITRDB
Fraxinus quadrangulata 249 XD BGfr3a Cynthiana, KY R.W. McEwan, Uyanga Ariya
Acer nigrum 247 RC BHY038 MO R. Guyette, M. Stambaugh
Pinus taeda 246 XD -- Congaree Swamp National Park, SC N. Pederson; T. Doyle; Pederson et al., 1997
Pinus banksiana 246 XD -- Blue Lake, Ontario, Canada Girardin et. al, 2006
Fagus grandifolia 246 RC -- Gladie Creek, Menifee Co. KY A. Cooper, Cooper 2011
Abies balsamea 245 XD -- Lac Liberal, Canada C. Krause, H. Morin; ITRDB
Betula papyrifera 240 XD -- Rainbow falls Prov. Park, Ontario, Canada Girardin et. al, 2006
Quecus margaretta 234 XD RCP41 Rambulette Creek, Taylor County, GA T. Knight
Ostrya virginiana 230 RC -- Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada Vasiliauskas, S. A.; Ontario's Old Trees
Cotinus obovatus 221 RC -- Arkansas R. Guyette
Quercus lyrata 218 XD SNA7 Desha Co. Arkansas D.Stahle
Ulmus americana 217 RC Herbie Yarmouth, Maine J. Santerre
Populus tremuloides 213 RC -- Lake Abitibi Model Forest, Ontario, Canada Lefort, P.; Ontario's Old Trees
Quercus coccinea 212 HI -- Planted in 1795, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Phila., PA Wade, S.; PA's Big Trees list
Populus balsamifera 207 RC -- Ontario, Canada Vasiliauskas, S. A.,; Ontario's Old Trees
Betula cordifolia 200 RC -- North-central Maine S. Fraver and A.S. White
less than 200 yrs        
Fraxinus americana 198 RC -- Russell Field Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Fraxinus americana 198 RC -- Ramsay Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Carya cordiformis 192 RC CW597 Collins Woods, OH J. Rentch; J. Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Carya cordiformis 191 RC HW27 Horners Woods, WV J. Rentch; J. Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Ulmus alata 186 RC -- Rocky Creek, Missouri S. Voelker
Sassafras albidum 173 RC -- Caldwell Fort Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Carya tomentosa 169 XD PCT2025 Fentress Co., TN J. Hart
Sassafras albidum 158 RC -- Ripley County, Missouri M. Stambaugh
Quercus falcata 141 XD -- Knox County, TN J. Hart and S. van de Gevel
Fraxinus americana 136 XD -- Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, NC S. Butler 2006
Pinus virginiana 126 RC -- Blue Spring Branch, Chattahoochee National Forest, GA J. Riddle 12/16/04
Pinus virginiana 125 RC -- McCutcheon Cove , Chattahoochee National Forest, GA J. Riddle 12/17/04
Pinus virginiana 122 RC -- Roaring Fork, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Sassafras albidum 121 XD FPB 12 Vigo County, IN J.K. Farrell Sparks 2004
Populus grandidentata 113 XD 83-2 Good Harbor Plains, MI T.C. Wyse, P.C. Goebel; ITRDB
Ulmus rubra 103 RC WW68 Wrights Woods, PA J. Rentch; J. Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Magnolia fraseri 101 RC -- Little Rock Creek, Coasby, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
less than 100 yrs        
Oxydendrum arboreum 99 RC -- Hensley-Pine Mtn, KY A. Cooper, Cooper 2011
Prunus avium 75 XD #5041 Stadium Woods, VA C. Copenheaver, J. Selier (Dendrochronologia)
Hamamelis virginiana 58 XD -- Black Rock Forest, NY K. Bao, N. Schwartz, M. Ajayi, C. Leland
Aralia spinosa 55 RC -- Snake Den Ridge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park W. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Dirca palustris 44 RC -- MO M. Stambaugh

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