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11,700-year-old evergreen is oldest recorded living plant

The Nature Conservancy has announced plans to build an 11-acre preserve around a creosote bush that scientists say has been growing for 11,700 years. The desert shrub is the oldest recorded living plant.

Known here as the King Clone, the patch of evergreen shrubbery measures 70 feet by 25 feet, and its age eclipses the 4,900-year-old bristlecone pine on California's White Mountains. It is called a creosote bush because it has a pungent odor like that of creosote, an oily liquid produced from coal tar.

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