The immortal trees that outlived the dinosaurs

A lane lined with maidenhair/ginkgo trees.  Photo from Unsplash
A lane lined with maidenhair/ginkgo trees. Photo from Unsplash

Some things just never change. Like these plants that have existed since the time of the dinosaurs, which we find somewhat comforting.

  • Maidenhair trees. Considered “living fossils”, maidenhair, or ginkgo, trees are enormous, gorgeous, golden-leafed trees that are nearly immortal. Individual maidenhair trees can live a staggering 3,500+ years and the species has existed for about 180 million years. Yale University
  • Tree ferns. A beautiful and hardy plant, tree ferns have existed for around 200 to 250 million years. However, they became threatened due to overcollection by humans thanks to their beautiful wood which was often used to make carved souvenirs at tropical resorts, and their bark was used to make mulch for potted orchids. Thankfully, conservation efforts are underway: the commercial sale of most tree fern products has now been banned so tree ferns can see a few more millennia. Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Monkey puzzle trees. You know the ones—they look like a pile of spikey tails, have been around for about 200 million years, and would be “a puzzle even for a monkey to climb” (which is where their name comes from, according to Woodland Trust. This tree is also the national tree of Chile and fossilized monkey puzzle can create the semi-precious gemstone Jet, which is so black in colour it gave us the “jet-black” idiom.

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