This blob of a plant has lived up to 30 modern human lifespans, or 3,000 years, in the Atacama Desert of Chile:

Llareta (Azorella compacta) 3,000 Year Old Llareta (Azorella compacta), Atacama Desert, Chile. Small, packed branches and leaves are so dense you can stand on it. © Rachel Sussman

This humble spruce has lived a staggering 9,550 years in Sweden:

Spruce Spruce (Picea abies) in FulufjÀllet, Sweden. Apparently the tall part is only 40 years old, the shrubby growth below is ancient. © Rachel Sussman

Here is a Nambian desert dweller, Welwitschia, of 2,000 years:

Welwitschia Mirabilis Nambia Welwitschia mirabilis, Nambia. © Rachel Sussman

And a truly ancient 80,000 year old aspen clonal colony in Utah:

Aspen (Populus tremuloides) Aspen (Populus tremuloides) clonal colony “Pando”, comprising more than 100 acres in Utah. © Rachel Sussman

These and more can be found in photographer Rachel Sussman’s new book, The Oldest Living Things in the World.

We are but fleeting moments of anti-entropy, with much to learn from these ancient plants.


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"What is knowledge anyway? It is not a physical thing; but neither is it a metaphysical ideal, like a perfect circle that can never be drawn, a mathematical constant with an infinite decimal tail, or a goddess of sublime beauty who never ages. Knowledge, eventually, relates to nothing but itself, and leads nowhere but back to itself." - Reverend Nemu

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