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Why do some trees live for thousands of years? Spanish scientists explain
10 August 2020 @ 18:32

OLIVE trees of thousands of years old, still with leaves and occasionally even with olives are a regular feature across Spain, often being much-loved and officially-protected local 'monuments' – and, in the Canary Islands, the dragontree (Dracaena Draco), a species native to this part of the Atlantic, can often live for centuries, or millennia.

The above photograph shows an olive tree of at least a thousand years old, and possibly several thousand – nobody is quite sure – in Simat de la Valldigna (northern Valencia province), just outside the iconic late-13th-century Santa María de la Valldigna monastery, which attracts local visitors year-round.

How and why certain species of tree live so long has always been a mystery to the layperson, although recently-published studies by Dr Sergi Munné of Barcelona University's Faculty of Biology and its Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) gives us some idea.



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