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Bristlecone pine

The death of the Prometheus tree also helped to change our larger perception of trees as an infinitely replenishing resource. The bristlecone pine's root system is mostly composed of highly branched, shallow roots, while a few large, branching roots provide structural support. Prometheus the bristlecone pine also imparted much knowledge to humans.

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Bristlecone Pines

Identifying Bristlecone Pines Bristlecone pines are often confused with limber pines. Some bristlecone pine wood on the ground may be thousands of years old and important scientifically.

According to ancient Greek myths, Prometheus was an immortal who brought fire symbolic of knowledge to humans. The creosote bush that grows in the Mojave Desert may be older. The needles of the tree surround the branch an extent of about one foot near the tip of the limb.

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Even the tree's needles, which grow in bunches of five, can remain on the tree for forty years, which gives the tree's terminal branches the unique appearance of a long bottle brush. This tree was known by local mountaineers as Prometheus. These changes in climate would mostly affect trees in higher elevations. Due to their old age, these trees act as climatic vaults, storing thousands of years of weather data within their rings. Due to the harsh conditions these trees grow in, it is likely that a growth ring did not form every year.

During the late autumn, the bristlecone produces cells much smaller in size than those during the active summer growth, resulting in the appearance of concentric rings when a trunk is cut crosswise. Every year during its growing season, a non-clonal tree adds cells to its trunk, which function to send water up to the leaves and sugar down to the roots.

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It is common at high elevations to see bristlecone pines with only one or two living sectors, defined by a strip of bark. While other species of trees that grow nearby suffer rot, bare bristlecone pines can endure, even after death, often still standing on their roots, for many centuries. No developed trails exist in the grove.

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There is a good chance there are older bristlecone pines that have not yet been dated. Left, Edward Schulman takes a core sample from a bristlecone pine in the s. Edward Schulman, the first to study bristlecone pines, analyzing a core sample. Also, the cones of the limber pine do not have bristles. This high ratio reduces respiration and water loss, bristlecone pine tree ring dating kits thereby extending the life of the tree.

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Yet others say Currey felt he needed a full cross section to better examine the rings of the tree. Currey chose this particular specimen for his study because it seemed older than much of the surrounding forest, with a single living bark strip supporting a branch of lush foliage. The stump of Prometheus is all that remains of the ancient giant within the grove. These roots feed only the sections of tree directly above them. Check at the visitor center for a schedule.