The oldest living tree in Europe, found in Calabria, is still growing at the age of more than 1200 years. Perched on a cliff, the bone-white loricate pine tree is known as “Italus” and was discovered in 2017, in the Pollino National Park.

The tree, which is the oldest dated in Europe at the age of 1230, was found to be over a millennium old by scientists using carbon dating determine.

Italus germinated in AD 789 – the year the Vikings landed on English shores for the first time, according to a research paper published on May 16 in the journal Ecology.
While it may seem like a precarious place, its location on a very steep rocky slope has protected the ancient tree from fires and lightning as well as keeping it at a cooler temperature for thousands of years.

Now, a team from the Pollino National Park are working with experts from Tuscia University to protect the tree from harsh weather as a result of climate change.

Carmelo Pizzuti, an official from the Pollino National Park, said the ancient tree needs to be preserved for future generations. Despite the unpredictable climate of recent years, the tree has seen a recent surge in growth.

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