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[Old-growth Taxodium distichumin 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.


Life History Information for Trees: North American Silvics Manual

Eastern Forests: Eastern Native Tree Society


Old-Growth Forests:


SpeciesAgeTypeIDLocationCollector(s), Dater(s), Reference(s)
1000+ yrs     
Thuja occidentalis1653XDFL117Ontario, CanadaKelly and Larson 1991
Taxodium distichum1622XDBCK 69Bladen Co., North CarolinaStahle, Cleaveland, Hehr 1988
500-999 yrs     
Juniperus virginiana940XD--WVB. Buckley, P. Krusic, E. Cook, Maxwell et al 1, Maxwell et al 2, D'Arrigo et al.
Nyssa sylvatica679XD--NHDan Sperduto; P. Krusic; Sperduto et al., 2000
Tsuga canadensis555XD039021Tionesta, PAE. Cook; Cook and Cole, 1991
Liriodendron tulipifera509XD *  FCL-13bForge Creek, Great Smoky Mountains Nat. Park2007 Dendroecological Fieldweek Stand Dynamics & Carbon Sequestration Groups, N. Pederson, T. Evans; * only able to XD to 1596
Pinus resinosa500RC--Granite Lake, Kenora, Ontario CanadaS. St. George; Ontario's Old Trees
400-499 yrs     
Quercus alba464XD085141Buena Vista, VAE. Cook; N. Pederson; Pederson, 2005
Pinus palustris458XD--Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve, NCJ.T. Ortegren & P. Knapp
Picea rubens445XD05BCL901aFundy Escarpment, NB, Cana.B. Phillips
Quercus muehlenbergii429XDPSC23Guadalupe Mtns. Nat. Park, TXD.Stahle, M.Therrell, D.Griffin, D. (Daniel) Stahle
Quercus montana427XDLBC25Uttertown, NJE. Cook; N. Pederson; Pederson et al., 2004
Quercus montana427XDOCP23Otter Creek, PAN. Pederson; N. Pederson; Pederson, 2005
Quercus montana425XDOCP23Uttertown, NJH.M. Hopton, N. Pederson; N. Pederson; Pederson, 2005
Quercus montana425RC--PAM. Abrams
Taxodium ascendens417XD--FLW.P. Tyminski, J.T. Maxwell
Platanus occidentalis412RCBHY001MOR. Guyette, M. Stambaugh
Aesculus flava410RC pre-1700--Gladie Creek, KYA. Cooper, Cooper 2011
Pinus strobus408XDsww51Swan Lake, Algonquin Park, Ont. CanadaR.P. Guyette & B. Cole; ITRDB
Quercus macrocarpa401XDFCM011Custer State Park, SDS. Voelker (see note on species page on this age)
300-399 yrs     
Pinus rigida398XDMLP16aMinnewaska Lake St. Park, NYC. McIntire, K. Pendergrass, NADEF 2013 Advanced DendroClimatology Group
Quercus stellata 395XDKEY13Osage County, OKD. Stahle; ITRDB
Betula alleghaniensis387RC--Algonquin Park, Ontario, CanadaVasiliauskas, S. A.; Ontario's Old Trees
Betula alleghaniensis367XDHTB01Raquette Lake, NYS. Broyles and D. Barclay
Betula lenta361XDSTE03New Paltz, NYE. Cook; N. Pederson & H.M. Hopton; Pederson et al., 2007
Carya ovata354XDWFS08aFiddler's Green, VAN. Pederson; A. Curtis; Pederson et al., 2007
Magnolia accuminata 348XDMDC02bFiddler's Green, VAN. Pederson; H.M. Hopton; Pederson et al., 2007
Picea mariana330XD--Sleeping Giant Prov. Park, Ontario, CanadaGirardin et. al, 2006
Quercus rubra326XDRO25Wachusett Mtn., MAD. Orwig, C. Cogbill; Orwig et al., 2001
Carya glabra325RC--Gregory Ridge Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Pinus echinata324XDGMX307Great Smokey Mtns NP, Tennessee, USA2007 Dendroecological Fieldweek Fire History Group
Betula alleghaniensis320RC--Russell Field Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Fraxinus nigra319XD--Lac Duparquet, QuebecTardif & Bergeron, 1999
Acer saccharum 315XD--North-central MaineS. Fraver and A.S. White
Tsuga caroliniana307XD101231Kelsey Tract, NCE. Cook; Cook and Cole, 1991
Acer rubrum300XDCATB142Catskill Mtns, NYP. Sheppard & C. Canham; P. Sheppard; Pederson et al., 2007.
200-299 yrs     
Juniperus virginiana294XD--Ball's Falls, Niagra Escarpment, CanadaP. Kelly & D. Larson
Quercus bicolor285XDRHS01aCatkill, New YorkD, & N.Pederson, M.Hopton
Ostrya virginiana281RC--North-central MaineS. Fraver and A.S. White
Pinus pungens271XD----Pendleton Co., WVA. Hessl, T. Saladyga, et al.
Castanea dentata270XDGB204BGreenbriar, Great Smoky Mountains, TNJ. Young, W. Blozan; ITRDB
Oxydendron arboreum263RCCW50Collins Woods, OHJ. Rentch, Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Picea glauca262XD--North-central MaineS. Fraver and A.S. White
Quercus velutina257XDLYN33BLynn Hollow, TND. Stahle, M.Therrell; ITRDB
Fraxinus quadrangulata249XDBGfr3aCynthiana, KYR.W. McEwan, Uyanga Ariya
Acer nigrum247RCBHY038MOR. Guyette, M. Stambaugh
Pinus taeda246XD--Congaree Swamp National Park, SCN. Pederson; T. Doyle; Pederson et al., 1997
Pinus banksiana246XD--Blue Lake, Ontario, CanadaGirardin et. al, 2006
Fagus grandifolia246RC--Gladie Creek, Menifee Co. KYA. Cooper, Cooper 2011
Abies balsamea245XD--Lac Liberal, CanadaC. Krause, H. Morin; ITRDB
Betula papyrifera240XD--Rainbow falls Prov. Park, Ontario, CanadaGirardin et. al, 2006
Quecus margaretta234XDRCP41Rambulette Creek, Taylor County, GAT. Knight
Ostrya virginiana230RC--Algonquin Park, Ontario, CanadaVasiliauskas, S. A.; Ontario's Old Trees
Cotinus obovatus221RC--ArkansasR. Guyette
Quercus lyrata218XDSNA7Desha Co. ArkansasD.Stahle
Ulmus americana217RCHerbieYarmouth, MaineJ. Santerre
Populus tremuloides213RC--Lake Abitibi Model Forest, Ontario, CanadaLefort, P.; Ontario's Old Trees
Quercus coccinea212HI--Planted in 1795, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Phila., PAWade, S.; PA's Big Trees list
Populus balsamifera207RC--Ontario, CanadaVasiliauskas, S. A.,; Ontario's Old Trees
Betula cordifolia200RC--North-central MaineS. Fraver and A.S. White
less than 200 yrs    
Fraxinus americana198RC--Russell Field Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Fraxinus americana198RC--Ramsay Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Carya cordiformis192RCCW597Collins Woods, OHJ. Rentch; J. Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Carya cordiformis191RCHW27Horners Woods, WVJ. Rentch; J. Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Ulmus alata186RC--Rocky Creek, MissouriS. Voelker
Sassafras albidum173RC--Caldwell Fort Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Carya tomentosa169XDPCT2025Fentress Co., TNJ. Hart
Sassafras albidum158RC--Ripley County, MissouriM. Stambaugh
Quercus falcata141XD--Knox County, TNJ. Hart and S. van de Gevel
Fraxinus americana136XD--Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, NCS. Butler 2006
Pinus virginiana126RC--Blue Spring Branch, Chattahoochee National Forest, GAJ. Riddle 12/16/04
Pinus virginiana125RC--McCutcheon Cove , Chattahoochee National Forest, GAJ. Riddle 12/17/04
Pinus virginiana122RC--Roaring Fork, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Sassafras albidum121XDFPB 12Vigo County, INJ.K. Farrell Sparks 2004
Populus grandidentata113XD83-2Good Harbor Plains, MIT.C. Wyse, P.C. Goebel; ITRDB
Ulmus rubra103RCWW68Wrights Woods, PAJ. Rentch; J. Rentch et al., 2003a, 2003b
Magnolia fraseri101RC--Little Rock Creek, Coasby, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
less than 100 yrs    
Oxydendrum arboreum99RC--Hensley-Pine Mtn, KYA. Cooper, Cooper 2011
Prunus avium75XD#5041Stadium Woods, VAC. Copenheaver, J. Selier (Dendrochronologia)
Hamamelis virginiana58XD--Black Rock Forest, NYK. Bao, N. Schwartz, M. Ajayi, C. Leland
Aralia spinosa55RC--Snake Den Ridge, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkW. Blozan; Uyanga Ariya
Dirca palustris44RC--MOM. Stambaugh