Plants have different life expectancy . Wood plants ripen slowly and enter a period of fruiting much later than herbaceous, and thus their life span

Life expectancy of plants [span, Longevity]

Plants have different life expectancy. Wood plants ripen slowly and enter a period of fruiting much later than herbaceous, and thus their life span is longer. Trees have the highest life expectancy of all the Earth inhabitants.

Among the perennials are some species with very high longevity. The examples below show how varies the life expectancy of plants. Little ephemera of Central Asian desert completes its entire cycle of life in three weeks, and sequoia can exist for 6,000 years.


The greatest longevity have the representatives of Pinophyta division (conifers). They are mainly the inhabitants of the American mountain systems: bristlecone pine, giant sequoia (mammoth tree), Mexican cypress, and representatives of the European mountain flora — yew.


Pine lives at most to three hundred years, typically up to 150, enters into bearing at 15 years.


Especially longliving are two kinds of Sequoia — pine plants that grow in California. Species Sequoia gigantea may reach the age of 3,000 years, a Sequoia sempervirens (so-called redwoods) lives up to 6000 years. There are some specimens of sequoia that reach heights of nearly 150 m.


Sequoia’s height is surpassed only by Australian eucalyptus trees, reaching a height of 150 meters. Eucalypti are significant with their rapid growth and do not reach a high age like redwoods.

Bristlecone pine

Longevity-champion is a bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata). In the Sierra Nevada are frequent instances of age up to 4 thousand years. The oldest specimens are so unique, that they have their own names. Age of an ancient tree named Methuselah, is 4.9 thousand years. You might think that this species of pines live in ideal conditions, but it is exactly the opposite: they grow on steep rocky slopes at high altitude, in areas with a shortage of rain and hurricane-force winds. Therefore, they grow very slowly, and therefore have a long life expectancy (diagram 93, a-c).

Flowering plants

Baobab tree

There are also flowering plants that have high life expectancy. Bristlecone pine is challenged by African baobab tree (diagram 93, d), which is considered the eighth wonder of the world. The radiocarbon method showed that the age of the trees with trunk diameter of 4.6 m, which today are still found in Africa, is more than 5.5 thousand years. Yet 200 years ago grew instances of baobabs with trunks up to nine meters in diameter.

Littleleaf linden

One of the best honey plants — littleleaf linden (small-leaved lime) — usually lives 200-400 years, but there are 500-year-old specimens. The first flowering of this tree is observed at the age of 20 years. Taken from

Diagram 93. Flora centenarians of the Earth: a — shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata); b — mammoth tree; c — yew; d — baobab

European flora

The flora of Europe has its own plants with high life expectancy.

Ordinary birch lives for over 100 years, spruce — up to 300 years, oak and linden up to 500 years, and yew — up to couple of thousands. Along with yew, there is also the usual species of forests — a common oak. Young oaks ripen late, first acorns appear only in 60-80-year-old trees, and oak has a life span of 1.5 thousand years.

Most fast-growing plants of European forests — willow and poplar, do not live more than 100 years, maturing at the age of 10 years.