Great Basin Bristlecone Pine at Sunset

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) at sunset

This image is of a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) and it was made at sunset in the Inyo National Forest (CA): these trees can only be found in certain mountainous areas of California, Nevada and Utah and are really remarkable in that, with some of them being almost 5000 years old, they are the oldest living tree on earth.

Bristlecone pines have adapted to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environments. Typically, they live in high elevation habitats in areas with rocky soil, low rainfall and long winters.

They grow extremely slowly (a 40 year old bristlecone pine may not reach 6 inches!) and, at high elevations, they grow to 60 feet tall. Also, their needles can remain green for over 45 years. At low elevations, bristlecone pines grow straight, while at high elevations their trunks become twisted. Their root system is very shallow so as to allow maximum water uptake in arid environments.

For more information about these incredible trees, you may check out the relevant pages on the Websites of the National Wildlife Federation, the BBC, and the National Park Service.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)


13 thoughts on “Great Basin Bristlecone Pine at Sunset

  1. ChgoJohn

    I bet that tree has been photographed thousands of times, Stefano, but few did it so well as you’ve done here. This is truly a stunning shot, made even more so when one learns the life cycle of a Bristlecone Pine. Thanks for sharing both with us.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you so much, John: you are always way too kind. The life cycle of Bristlecone Pines is something that is truly amazing!

  2. kbvollmarblog

    Dear Stefano,
    such great colours!
    I didn`t know that trees can become that old. We have got a lime tree not far from here being 2000 years old but that`s one of the oldest trees of England. Those trees of your stunning photograph are beings who have survived from about the times when Stonhenge and big pyramids were built. Amazing! How short our lifetime is in comparison.
    A big hug to you

    1. Stefano Post author

      Dear Klausbernd,
      Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment: Bristlecone Pines and their story are truly amazing.
      Big hugs,

  3. the winegetter

    Stunning, again. What a great lighting you achieved in this shot. Awesome. I am currently in California, for the first time in my life, and have been so amazed and awed by the Redwoods that I haven’t even dared look left and right. This reminds me to check out the other trees, too! 🙂

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you as always 🙂 That sunset was magical and the wood of those pines takes on the most amazingly warm and intense red hues! Enjoy California, it is one of my favorite States, so beautiful and diverse.


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