The oldest tree in eastern US survived millennia – but rising seas could kill it

A 2,624-year-old bald cypress could teach us how to fight – if it doesn’t get destroyed first

A wizened eastern bald cypress dwells in an expanse of North Carolina’s wetlands.

It lives among a cluster of eastern bald cypress trees in the state’s Black River, some with origins dating back a millennium. But this singular tree has witnessed more than its comrades; a 2019 study found it’s been alive since at least 605BCE. It’s the oldest-known living tree in eastern North America and the fifth-oldest living non-clonal tree species in the world.

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