《Meetings with Remarkable Trees》的笔记-HOPING FOR IMMORTALITY
- 章节名：HOPING FOR IMMORTALITY
- 2015-08-31 18:35:58
After two centuries, when most beeches are dead or in their dotage, a yew is a mere stripling. At five centuries it is in its prime. Some may reach their millennium. Such is the extraordinary longevity of our native yew (Taxus baccata), the oldest living thing, as far as we know, in Europe or Asia....How old is an old yew like this one at Tandridge? I asked Alan Mitchell, the dendrologist who spent 40 years scouring Britain and Ireland for champion trees. 'A good rule of thumb', he replied, 'is that most trees look older than they are except for yews which are even older than they look.'But why not simply resolve the question of age by counting the annual rings of the trunk? In principle you can date most trees to the year they were born by this method, either by boring the trunks with an auger or by cutting the trees down. Neither auger nor axe is recommended to tree-lovers. But the auger has shown that the oldest living tree yet discovered is more than 4000 years old: a stunted bristlecone pine called 'Old Methuselah' at the top of a mountain in California. Scientists bored its trunk and counted over 4000 rings. ......Best to fall back on Alan Mitchell's rule of thumb. It looks 1000 years old. Probably it is older. The Celts may have decorated its branches with the heads of their victims. It may live to see our descendants flying to Mars. If awe-inspiring is too solemn a word, you might prefer 'wow'.
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