The visible portion of the 13-foot-tall (4-meter-tall) "Christmas tree" isn't ancient, but its root system has been growing for 9,550 years, according to a team led by Leif Kullman, professor at Umeå University's department of ecology and environmental science in Sweden.
Discovered in 2004, the lone Norway spruce-of the species traditionally used to decorate European homes during Christmas-represents the planet's longest-lived identified plant, Kullman
The researchers found the shrubby mountain survivor at an altitude of 2,985 feet (910 meters) in Dalarna Province.
The tree's incredible longevity is largely due to its ability to clone itself, Kullman
The spruce's stems or trunks have a lifespan of around 600 years, "but as soon as a stem dies, a new one emerges from the same root stock," Kullman