AnAge entry for Plantae

Classification (HAGRID: 04240)

Plantae (Browse taxon)
Common name
Temp dummy name, Uncertain LC family
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Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits


The huge diversity of ageing phenotypes observed in plants is impossible to capture herein. Some plants are semelparous, degenerating quickly after reproduction while others can live over 1,000 years [0002]. It has been reported that some species of large trees capable of living for millennia endure age-related losses in function that are a result of their excessive size, not some intrinsic ageing process [0799].

The extreme longevity of some plants and the occurrence of vegetative reproduction make it difficult to accurately estimate longevity in these organisms. Although there are anecdotal claims of organisms living over 10,000 years, the oldest plant is probably the bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) that has been estimated to be able to live over 4,000 years and avoid ageing [0501].In trees mass growth rate increases continuously with tree size. Old trees act as senescent carbon reservoirs and actively fix large amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees [1288]. Species with vegetative reproductive may live even longer. Most notably, it has been estimated that the Kings Lomatia, Lomatia tasmanica, is sterile but has been propagating vegetatively for over 40,000 years [0850].

The boasted longevity present in trees is due to their slow rate of mutations, their slow but continuous growth and their plasticity. However, immortality in trees is only obtainable through the germ line [1392].


External Resources

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
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