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Explore the Methuselah Grove
Patriarch Tree
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The best known ancient bristlecone pine groves in the White Mountains lie at about 10,000 feet, but the Patriarch Grove is higher still, at over 11,000 feet. The ground between the trees in the grove is barren and so are the surrounding mountain slopes, in contrast to the sagebrush and mountain mahogany around the other groves. Also, whereas the other groves are mostly on very steep slopes, the main part of the Patriarch Grove is flat, a small benchland at the head of an east-side canyon. These factors combine to give the Patriarch Grove a very different ambiance than the more commonly seen groves farther south.

The Patriarch Tree is recognized as the largest bristlecone pine anywhere. Though only 41 feet tall, it is massive, with a fluted, multiple trunk 36 feet in circumference. There is a suspicion, however, that it may actually be two or more trees grown together. [Editor's note: To get a sense of scale, see the author standing by the Patriarch's trunk.]

A steep mountainside rises just to the south of the Patriarch Grove, with a "dead" grove of fallen and eroded snags, polished and grooved by the winter winds and snows. This is taken as evidence that the climate was milder at one time in the last few thousand years, allowing the pines to grow a few hundred feet higher. Under present conditions no bristlecones grow higher than the Patriarch Grove.

Discovery Trail Discovery Trail   Lone bristlecone Lone bristlecone   Methuselah Grove Methuselah Grove   Patriarch Tree Patriarch Tree

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Explore the Methuselah Grove | A Tree's Secret to Living Long
Build a Tree-Ring Timeline | Illuminating Photosynthesis
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