Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Blown by wind, and ravaged by time, the Bristlecone pine tree is a silent sentinel of the White Mountains in eastern central California.  Only growing high in subapline mountains, Bristlecone pine trees are among the oldest living organisms, reaching ages of 5000 years old, with on specimen being documented at 5,067 years old by Tom Harlan who aged the tree by ring count.  That calculation confirms this one individual tree to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The Bristlecone pine groves are found between 5,600 and 11,200 ft of elevation on mountain slopes with dolomitic coils.  This harsh alkaline soil gives the Bristlecone a competitive advantage because over plants and tree are unable to grow.  The trees grow very slowly due cold temperatures, arid soil, wind and short growing seasons.

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Spreading Phlox ( Phlox diffusa )

Spreading Phlox ( Phlox diffusa ) is a perennial shrub with small needle like leaves.  This is a small white flowering plant which prefers alpine, sub-alpine environments and rocky or sandy soil.  This is a low growing plant which is commonly only two to eight inches tall.

Phlox diffusa is a small white flowering plant which prefers alpine and sub-alpine environments.

Photographed in the White Moundtains, Phlox diffusa is a small white flowering plant which prefers alpine and sub-alpine environments.

Commonly found high in the mountain and distributed in the western United States and Canada.  The five petaled flowers range from a clean white color to lavender or pink.  The blooms are typically visible from May to August.

White Mountain Road

White Mountain Road is a high altitude road that travels north from Highway 168 out of Big Pine and into the Bristle Cone Pine Forest of the White Mountains.  The road is partial paved as far as the Schulman Grove visitors center and beyond the road is graded dirt.

As the White Mountain roads winds north, it follows the ridge line of the White Mountains climbing higher in elevation and offers up amazing vistas of Owens Valley to the west.

Bristlecone Pine Tree, Patriarch Grove, White Mountains

Bristlecone Pine Tree, Patriarch Grove, White Mountains

The bristlecone pine tree is found in this mountain range, and is the oldest living thing on the planet and are known to live 5,000 years.  The bristlecone pine trees live in groves in arid sub alpine mountain tops in the western United States, including the White Mountains in California and around Mount Charleston just north of Las Vegas.  The harsh environment, high elevations over 12,000 above sea level, dry conditions, high winds twist a bend the trees and they slowly grow across the millennium.

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