White Pine Blister Rust

Nevada’s beautiful Great Basin National Park boasts the oldest trees on the planet, the bristlecone pine. The oldest living tree of the bunch, named Methuselah, is over 4,800 years young. According to a NYT article posted yesterday, scientists say these ancient trees may soon come in contact with not only white pine blister rust, an Asian fungus that came to the United States from Asia, via Europe, a century ago, but the ubiquitous native pine bark beetle as well.

There are three species of bristlecones — the Great Basin, Foxtail and Rocky Mountain. As of now, only the Rocky Mountain has been effected, but scientists believe it’s only a matter of time until it spreads to the rest of them. More info at NYT.


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4 Responses to White Pine Blister Rust

  1. TBirDriver September 30, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Methuselah is actually in eastern Cali, not Nevada. And sadly has become a more and more popular tourist destination due to increasingly easy to use GPS for idiots.

  2. Donald Rusk Currey September 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Anyone else read on about the former oldest living non-clonal organism ever known, named Prometheus, which was felled by Donald Rusk Currey while a graduate student in 1964? Apparently, the U.S. Forest Service granted him permission to cut it down after numerous failed attempts to take core samples of Prometheus to determine its age. After counting its rings, it was determined to be just over 5,000 year old! The incident led to a tighter restriction on the felling of old trees and the eventual creation of Great Basin National Park.

  3. twoeightnine September 30, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    Beaten to it, but Methuselah is in the White Mountains in Inyo County. Prometheus was in GBNP and was older but it was cut down in 1964.

  4. Noah October 1, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    These trees are too wonderful to loose. Took a trip to Great Basin this summer, there were as many people in the whole park as there were in a Yosemite gift shop.

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