Photos Capture Some of the Oldest Trees on Earth

Photographer Beth Moon spent 14 years shooting to create this photo collection of ancient trees.

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Photographer Beth Moon spent 14 years traveling across the world to find and photograph the world's oldest trees. She spent time in the United States as well as remote areas and reserves in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Living up to 500 years, the Heart of the Dragon (pictured) is unique to Socotra island in Yemen. Growing in severe conditions, they have raised their branches upward over time in an effort to obtain moisture from the highland mists -- hence the distinctive appearance of their canopies, like an umbrella blown inside out.

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The legendary Bowthorpe Oak, with its rugged bole, gnarled branches, and great spreading crown, stands in a grassy meadow behind a stone farmhouse in Bourne, Lincolnshire. With a circumference of 40 feet, it competes for the title of largest-girthed living oak in Britain. It is also perhaps the oldest living oak tree, with an estimated age of 1,200 years (give or take a century).

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Above, a desert rose on the island of Socotra in Yemen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trees store water in their trunks to survive the dry climate.

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This Spanish Chestnut on the grounds of Croft Castle in Herefordshire, England, is between four and five centuries old.

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Elegant in shape and form, these strange and magnificent baobabs,

Adansonia grandidieri

, seem to rise effortlessly to heights of 100 feet.

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At Wakehurst Place, set among 170 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, is a gloomy cliff of Ardingly sandstone. A few hundred English winters have eroded the soil, but the yews of these woods have adapted to their surroundings. Tangled, black and menacing, they send their naked roots cascading over the huge greenish-blue rocks of the cliff’s edge, in search of soil to sink into.

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There is something magical about these two stately yews, which act as pillars, framing the north door of the church in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. Not much is known about these trees. It is presumed that they were planted sometime in the 18th century and are the survivors of a formal avenue that led to the church. It has also been suggested that this church door was the inspiration for the Doors of Moria in The Lord of the Rings, as J.R.R. Tolkien is known to have passed through the area.

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Elegant in shape and form, these strange and magnificent baobabs seem to rise effortlessly to heights of 100 feet. They are found only on the island of Madagascar, where they are known as


, Malagasy for ‘mother of the forest.’ These trees are a valuable source of food, fiber, dye, rope and fuel, among other things. The trees in this grove, known as the Avenue of the Baobabs, are approximately 800 years old. Sadly, these 20-25 baobabs are the only survivors of what was once a dense tropical forest. The avenue was granted temporary protected status in 2007, as a prelude to its promised future as Madagascar’s first natural monument.

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