SoCal Shrub Believed to Be State's Oldest Plant

Jurupa Oak thought to be 13,000 years old

By Olsen Ebright
|  Wednesday, Dec 23, 2009  |  Updated 12:29 PM PDT
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Images of the Jurupa Hills Clone of Palmer's Oak

Dan May

Michael May, a student at UC Davis and member of the research team, stands next to several of the bushes.

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A bush in Riverside County is believed to be the state's oldest plant, clocking in at a whopping 13,000 years old.

The Jurupa Oak is 1,000 years older than the former record holder, a creosote bush in Palm Springs, according to researchers from UC Davis and UC Riverside.

The "little plant that could" managed to survive despite its changing environment. Without a chance at pollination, the plant grows clonally, the Los Angeles Times reported:

But the Jurupa oak, researchers reported Tuesday in the online journal PLoS One, is unusual in that it is well out of its normal environment, which would be high in the mountains. It took seed at its current location near the end of the last Ice Age, when the climate was cooler and wetter. As its brethren died out because of climatic change, it persisted.

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