July 11, 2008

Bristlecone Pine

I absolutely fell IN LOVE with this tree in Yosemite National Park, California. For as aged and long-lived as it looks (and probably is), it was relatively small - maybe 13 feet? The tree fascinates me. I did not know what it was at the time, but learned later that it is a Bristlecone Pine. Most likely the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine - Pinus longaeva.

These trees are one of, if not THE, longest lived organisms on Earth, reaching an age of nearly 5,000 years! The oldest known living organism is "Methuselah", a Bristlecone Pine in a park in California. The exact location is undisclosed to protect the tree. A tree like this certainly demands respect and admiration!

California Trees

There were several trees in California that stood out to me and really caught my attention.
First, was one that I saw at the San Diego Zoo. I later found it to be a Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo). I loved the colorful, spiky berries. I would love to grown one of these, but they're only hardy to zone 8.
Another tree I really enjoyed was the unusual-looking Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia). I had never seen anything like these and was really intrigued.

I had a chance to see the Giant Sequoias as well (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Unbelievable!
It is impossible to explain, or to even portray in a picture, how increbly HUGE these trees are. I mean, look at it in comparison to me!

One final tree was a favorite of mine. It was in Napa Valley at the winery where we did some wine tasting. I suppose it is not as unusual as the others I've posted, but I thought it was really neat and kept saying how beautiful I thought it was.
But then, I love EVERYTHING after a few glasses of wine.