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Monday, February 20, 2012

Moss Monday: Rachel Sussman's Oldest Living Things

La Llareta #0308-23B26
Up to 3,000 years old; Atacama Desert, Chile
Photo by Rachel Sussman

Today I present a plant that is not moss by any stretch of the imagination but- wow - when I came across Rachel Sussman's guest post at Brain Pickings I couldn't resist sharing this photo.  Sussman shares a poignant story about her ongoing photo project to document some of the oldest living things worldwide.  The photos are beautiful but her essay over at Brain Pickings is nearly a tear-jerker as she discusses the firey demise of a three-thousand-year-old Floridian tree dubbed The Senator: 

And with that, I made an unceremonious decision to return to The Senator when opportunity allowed. In the intervening years I traveled to Greenland for lichens that grown only 1cm every hundred years, to Chile for the strange and wonderful Llareta plant growing at 15,000 feet and a desert-cousin of parsley, and to Western Australia for the stromatolites, tied to the oxygenation of the planet and the very beginnings of all life on Earth. I went to Tasmania in search of a 43,000-year-old shrub that is the last of its species left on earth, rending it both critically endangered and theoretically immortal. But in five years, even despite having visited Florida a couple of times to see family, I did not make it back to The Senator. It was too easy. It would always be there. Surely, if The Senator had been around for 3,500 years, it was going to be around for 3,505.
But it wasn’t.
My favorite photo on her site The Oldest Living Things in the World was the above mentioned la llareta - a totally bizarre looking plant.  Check out the article at Brain Pickings and her lovely photorgapy at her site.


  1. I live in Florida and heard on the news this morning that The Senator was set on fire by a woman who claimed she "needed light to see the drugs she was doing." so sad. She's in jail.

    1. I saw that report too Anna! It's so sad that the cause of this destruction was a person being so reckless. I wonder if Rachel Sussman saw that news...


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