What the spruce Old Tjikko looked like, until the snow broke off a metre of the tree at the top.

The world’s oldest tree has broken

Heavy snow has broken the top of the 9,500 year old spruce Old Tjikko in Sweden.

Mountain guide Tommy Lönnebacke discovered that the top of the world’s oldest tree was broken off, writes the Swedish national broadcaster SVT (Link in Swedish).

Lönnebacke was accompanying a photographer to the famous tree recently when he discovered that the top of the spruce had broken.

“Around one metre is gone,” Lönnebacke says to SVT.

It will survive

Old Tjikko grows on Fulufjället in Sweden, just east of Trysil municipality in Norway. This year’s winter has been unusually hard in the area, with a lot of snow.

The tree looks quite ravaged now, according to Lönnebacke.

“But Old Tjikko will survive,” he says.

It’s the root system of the tree that has survived for 9,500 years, not the part of the tree visible above ground.

Genetically this means the tree is the same individual now as when it first took root and started to grow all those years ago.

It’s been ten years since researchers at Umeå University in Sweden discovered the tree. They decided to name the tree after the dog Tjikko who was with them when the tree was found. The spruce is thus called Old Tjikko.

Translated by Ida Irene Bergstrøm


Read the Norwegian version of this article on forskning.no

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