Tree Talk| 2 min read

10 Facts About The Giant Sequoia Tree

Some of the largest and oldest trees on earth, we share 10 amazing facts about the giant sequoia tree.

If you ever wandered down the western slopes of the California Sierra Nevada mountain range, it’d be hard for you to miss Earth’s most massive trees, the giant sequoias. Also known as Sierra redwoods, these giant trees have been growing for more than 3,000 years in groves scattered along the slopes of the Sierra Nevada. In honour of these ancient giants, we’ve pulled together 10 facts about these amazing trees.


10 Facts About The Giant Sequoia Tree

1. Related to the giant sequoia, a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) known as the Hyperion Tree, ranks as the world’s tallest known living tree. This redwood stands at 379.1 feet tall. For comparison that’s higher than the Statue of Liberty which is 305 feet tall. The exact location of this tree is kept secret to protect the tree from damage. 

2. While Hyperion is the tallest tree, the biggest is a giant sequoia known as General Sherman with a volume of 52,508 cubic feet. Due to its staggering volume, this tree is given the very deserving title of “largest tree in the world.”

3. Not only is General Sheram the largest tree in the world, but it’s also the largest living organism, based on volume, on the entire planet.

4. General Sherman is thought to be between 2,300 to 2,700 years old. It stands at 274.9 feet, with a circumference at the ground of 102.6 ft. The branches found on this tree can measure up to 7 feet wide in diameter.

5. Another famous giant sequoia is the General Grant Tree. This tree is the second-largest tree in the world, standing at 267 feet tall and nearly 29 feet wide at the base.

6. The third-largest tree found on planet earth, based on volume, is a giant sequoia known as the President. The President is also the oldest known living sequoia and has been growing for 3,200 years.

7. Adding to the long list of records held by these massive trees, the bark of giant sequoias is the thickest on earth. On some trees, the outer layer of bark measures over two feet thick at the base. 

8. Giant sequoias are generally able to protect themselves against naturals threats, allowing them to grow for thousands of years. The tannic acid found in their sap helps the trees fight off fungal rot, protects themselves from parasites, and acts as a fire repellent against low-intensity burns. 

9. Giant sequoias only reproduce by seeds. Their seeds remain in their pine cones for nearly 20 years before seeing any outside light. The heat from naturally occurring forest fires helps release seeds from their cones into the soil.

10. In order for the species to persist, over its lifespan of several thousand years, each giant sequoia only needs to produce one maturing offspring.


Important Update:

While fires are a part of the natural life cycle of giant sequoias, due to intense wildfires in California, these ancient giants are at risk of burning. Flames are threatening groves across national parks, in particular the grove of sequoias where General Sherman stands. In an attempt to protect General Sherman, firefighters have wrapped the base of the tree in fire-resistant aluminum.

Sadly, across the world wildfires are burning at an alarming rate, destroying communities and ecosystems. ​​The IPCC report recently shared that if global temperatures increase by 1.5ºC as current trajectories predict, there will be a 41% increase in area burned by wildfires

Explore the resources we’ve pulled together to understand what’s driving these fires and what you can do to help immediately and in the long term. 

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