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)


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).

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

Technical Information for OLDLIST and Eastern OLDLIST

By: Neil Pederson
Text of a paper about OLDLIST

Four types of ages are recognized in the database: