Scientists have discovered the pinus heldreichii, a Bosnian pine tree, at the Pindos mountain range of northern Greece that is more than a millenium old. A study by a group of researchers from Stockholm University, the University of Mainz and the University of Arizona found that the tree was just a seedling in 941 and is now dated to be more than 1,075 years old making it the oldest known tree in Europe.
They unofficially named the tree Adonis after the Greek god of beauty and desire. The goal of the study is to gather a historical account of the climate conditions and environment of the region dating back over one thousand years by further investigating Adonis and a dozen other trees of millennial age in the region.
Stockholm University notes that Adonis has lived through the peak of the Byzantine Empire, and a number of other milestone events such as Gutenberg’s printing press, Isaac Newton’s discovery of the Laws of Motion, World War II and even the invention of ice cream.
”It is quite remarkable that this large, complex and impressive organism has survived so long in such an inhospitable environment, in a land that has been civilized for over 3000 years” says Swedish dendrochronologist, Paul J. Krusic, leader of the expedition that found the tree. It is one of more than a dozen individuals of millennial age, living in a treeline forest high in the Pindos mountains.
”Many years ago I read a thesis about this very interesting forest in Greece. In our research, we try to build long chronologies to construct climate histories, so finding living trees of old age is one of our motivations. To age the tree, we needed to take a core of wood, from the outside to the center. The core is one meter and has 1075 annual rings” says Krusic.