Nova Scotia

418 rings set tree record

A university student has found what's believed to be the oldest tree in Nova Scotia — a 418-year-old eastern hemlock.

Auniversity student has found what's believed to be the oldest tree in Nova Scotia — a 418-year-old eastern hemlock.

Sarah Hart, an environmental science student at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, spotted the tree while evaluating a private woodlot to see if it might be eligible for environmental protection.

She took samples back to the laboratory and counted 418 rings.

"I didn't believe myself and had to measure it a couple of times," Hart told CBC News.

She said she called her supervisor,and the pairlooked it up online and discovered that the tree beat the old record by about 10 years.

Despite its age — the 11th-oldest eastern hemlock in the world, according to a newsrelease from Mount Allison— the tree is only 30 centimetres in diameter. It stands somewhere in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Hart credits luck for her find.

"We were trying to pick out some of the older trees, which you can sometimes tell from the amount of lichen growing on them or the colour of the bark," she said. "We ended up being lucky enough to sample a tree that was so old."

Mount Allison students appear to have a knack for spotting old trees.

In 2005, Ben Phillips found a 445-year-old red spruce — the oldest of its kind in the world — while walking along the Bay of Fundy coast in New Brunswick.

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