List of largest giant sequoias

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The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is the world's most massive tree,[1][2] and arguably the largest living organism on Earth.[3] It is neither the tallest extant species of tree (that distinction belongs to the coast redwood),[4][5] nor is it the widest (that distinction belongs to the baobab tree or Montezuma cypresses), nor is it the longest-lived (that distinction belongs to the Great Basin bristlecone pine).[6] However, with a height of 87 meters (286 ft) or more, a circumference of 34 meters (113 ft) or more, an estimated bole volume of up to 1,490 cubic meters (52,500 cu ft), and an estimated life span of 1800–2700 years,[7] the giant sequoia is among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all organisms on Earth.

Giant sequoias grow in well-defined groves in California mixed evergreen forests, along with other old-growth species such as California incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). Because most of the neighboring trees are also quite large, it can be difficult to appreciate the size of an individual giant sequoia. The largest giant sequoias are as tall as a 26-story building, and the width of their bases can exceed that of a city street. They grow at such a rate as to produce roughly 1.1 cubic meters (40 cu ft) of wood each year, approximately equal to the volume of a 50-foot-tall tree one foot in diameter.[7] This makes them among the fastest growing organisms on Earth, in terms of annual increase in mass.


Giant sequoias occur naturally in only one place on Earth—the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, on moist, unglaciated ridges and valleys[8] at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,400 meters (5,000 to 8,000 ft) above mean sea level. There are 65–75 groves of giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada, depending upon the criteria used to define a grove.[2][9] The northernmost of these groves is Placer County Grove in the Tahoe National Forest, Placer County, California,[10] while the southernmost grove is Deer Creek Grove in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, Tulare County, California.[9] The combined total area of all groves of giant sequoias is approximately 14,400 hectares (35,600 acres).[11]

Fire limits growth[edit]

Giant sequoias are in many ways adapted to forest fires. Their bark is unusually fire resistant, and their cones will normally open immediately after a fire.[12] However, fire is also the most serious damaging agent of giant sequoias. Seedlings and saplings are highly susceptible to death or serious injury by fire. Larger giant sequoias are more resistant to fire damage, due to their thick protective layer of nonresinous bark and elevated crowns. However, repeated fires over many centuries may penetrate the bark and destroy the vascular cambium. Nearly all of the larger trees have fire scars, many of which cover a large area of the base of the tree. Older trees are rarely killed by fire alone, but the resulting structural damage may predispose a tree to collapse and fire scars also provide entry for fungi which may cause root disease and heart rot. The resulting decayed wood is then more easily consumed by subsequent fires. The result of this cycle is further structural weakening of the tree, which may eventually lead to its collapse.[13]

Fire scars are thought to be the main cause of dead tops. Although lightning strikes rarely kill mature trees, lightning sometimes knocks out large portions of crowns or ignites dead tops. The most common cause of death in mature giant sequoias is toppling, due to weakening of the roots and lower trunk by fire and decay. The extreme weight of the trees coupled with their shallow root systems contributes to this weakening. Other causative factors include wind, water-softened soils, undercutting by streams, and heavy snow loads in the crowns.[13]

Washington tree, Giant Forest Grove, Sequoia National Park, 2007

The Washington tree, located in the Giant Forest Grove in Sequoia National Park provides a good example of the aforementioned phenomenon. This tree was the second largest tree in the world (only the General Sherman tree was larger) until September 2003, when the tree lost a portion of its crown as a result of a fire caused by a lightning strike.[1][14] This reduced its height from nearly 78 meters (255 ft) to about 70 meters (229 ft). The structurally weakened tree partially collapsed in January 2005, as the result of a heavy snow load in the remaining portion of its crown; it is now approximately 35 meters (115 ft) tall.[1][15]

Tree measurement[edit]

As with other trees, measurement of giant sequoias is conducted using established dendrometric techniques. The most frequent measurements acquired in the field include the height of the tree, the horizontal dimension of its canopy, and its diameter at breast height (DBH). These measurements are then subjected to tree allometry, which employs certain mathematical and statistical principles to estimate the amount of timber volume in a tree.

Calculating the volume of a standing tree is the practical equivalent of calculating the volume of an irregular cone,[16] and is subject to error for various reasons. This is partly due to technical difficulties in measurement, and variations in the shape of trees and their trunks. Measurements of trunk circumference are taken at only a few predetermined heights up the trunk, and assume that the trunk is circular in cross-section, and that taper between measurement points is even. Also, only the volume of the trunk (including the restored volume of basal fire scars) is taken into account, and not the volume of wood in the branches or roots.[16] The volume measurements also do not take cavities into account. For example, while studying sequoia tree canopies in 1999, researchers discovered that the Washington tree in Giant Forest Grove was largely hollow.[15]

List of largest giant sequoias by trunk volume[edit]

The following table is a list of the largest giant sequoias, all of which are located in California. The table is sorted by trunk volume, ignoring wood in the branches of the tree.

  indicates a giant sequoia that sustained heavy fire damage after its most recent volume estimate.

Rank Name Location[17] Coordinates Height[17] Circumference[17] Bole
Comments Ref
1 General Sherman Giant Forest Grove 36°34′51″N 118°45′03″W / 36.58083°N 118.75083°W / 36.58083; -118.75083 83.8 m (274.9 ft) 31.3 m (102.6 ft) 1,486.9 m3 (52,508 cu ft) Named after William Tecumseh Sherman. [18][16][19]
2[note 1] General Grant General Grant Grove 36°44′53″N 118°58′15″W / 36.74806°N 118.97083°W / 36.74806; -118.97083 81.7 m (268.1 ft) 32.8 m (107.5 ft) 1,319.8 m3 (46,608 cu ft)[note 1] Named after Ulysses S. Grant; designated as the "Nation's Christmas Tree" since 1926. [20][21]
3[note 1] President Giant Forest Grove 36°34′24″N 118°45′00″W / 36.57341°N 118.75010°W / 36.57341; -118.75010 73.4 m (240.9 ft) 28.3 m (93.0 ft) 1,278.4 m3 (45,148 cu ft)[note 1] Named after U.S. President Warren G. Harding. [24]
4 Lincoln Giant Forest Grove 36°34′19″N 118°45′22″W / 36.57187°N 118.75604°W / 36.57187; -118.75604 78.0 m (255.8 ft) 30.0 m (98.3 ft) 1,259.3 m3 (44,471 cu ft) Named after Abraham Lincoln. [25]
5 Stagg Alder Creek Grove 36°11′29″N 118°37′08″W / 36.19131°N 118.61878°W / 36.19131; -118.61878 74.1 m (243.0 ft) 33.2 m (109.0 ft) 1,205.1 m3 (42,557 cu ft) Named after Amos Alonzo Stagg. [26]
6 Boole Converse Basin Grove 36°49′26″N 118°56′57″W / 36.82389°N 118.94917°W / 36.82389; -118.94917 81.9 m (268.8 ft) 34.4 m (113.0 ft) 1,202.7 m3 (42,472 cu ft) Named after Franklin A. Boole. The tree has the largest footprint of any living giant sequoia. [25]
7 Genesis Mountain Home Grove 36°12′54″N 118°40′10″W / 36.215119°N 118.669395°W / 36.215119; -118.669395 77.1 m (253.0 ft) 26.0 m (85.3 ft) 1,186.4 m3 (41,897 cu ft) Named after Genesis. Heavily damaged by the Castle Fire. [27][28]
8 Franklin Giant Forest Grove 36°34′04″N 118°45′31″W / 36.56771°N 118.75864°W / 36.56771; -118.75864 68.2 m (223.8 ft) 28.9 m (94.8 ft) 1,169 m3 (41,280 cu ft) Named after Benjamin Franklin. Located near Washington. [25]
9 King Arthur Garfield Grove 36°19′42″N 118°43′01″W / 36.32838°N 118.71703°W / 36.32838; -118.71703 82.4 m (270.3 ft) 31.8 m (104.2 ft) 1,151.2 m3 (40,656 cu ft) Named after King Arthur. Destroyed in the Castle Fire. [25][29]
10 Monroe Giant Forest Grove 36°33′26″N 118°46′10″W / 36.55710°N 118.76939°W / 36.55710; -118.76939 75.5 m (247.8 ft) 27.8 m (91.3 ft) 1,135.6 m3 (40,104 cu ft) Named after James Monroe, located near Auto Log. [25]
11 Robert E. Lee General Grant Grove 36°44′53″N 118°58′16″W / 36.7480°N 118.9711°W / 36.7480; -118.9711 77.6 m (254.7 ft) 26.9 m (88.3 ft) 1,135.6 m3 (40,102 cu ft) Named after Robert E. Lee. [25]
12 Floyd Otter Garfield Grove 36°19′39″N 118°43′01″W / 36.32748°N 118.71696°W / 36.32748; -118.71696 83.2 m (273.1 ft) 30.3 m (99.5 ft) 1,120.3 m3 (39,562 cu ft) Named after Floyd Otter, a former manager of the Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest. Possibly heavy damage from Castle Fire. [25][30]
13 John Adams Giant Forest Grove 76.4 m (250.6 ft) 25.4 m (83.3 ft) 1,103.1 m3 (38,956 cu ft) Named after John Adams, located near Cattle Cabin. [25]
14 Ishi Giant Kennedy Grove 36°45′41″N 118°48′38″W / 36.76143°N 118.81062°W / 36.76143; -118.81062 75.6 m (248.1 ft) 32.0 m (105.1 ft) 1,080.5 m3 (38,156 cu ft) Lost significant trunk volume and over 8 m (26 ft) in height during the 2015 Rough Fire. New volume and height estimates needed to determine the current size of the tree. [31]
15 Column Giant Forest Grove 74.3 m (243.8 ft) 28.3 m (93.0 ft) 1,056.1 m3 (37,295 cu ft) Located near Pershing. [25]
16 Summit Road Mountain Home Grove 36°13′41″N 118°40′16″W / 36.22813°N 118.67117°W / 36.22813; -118.67117 74.4 m (244.0 ft) 25.1 m (82.2 ft) 1,040 m3 (36,600 cu ft) Named after a nearby road. Possible heavy damage from the Castle Fire. [25][32]
17 Euclid Mountain Home Grove 36°13′46″N 118°40′40″W / 36.22949°N 118.67776°W / 36.22949; -118.67776 83.1 m (272.7 ft) 25.4 m (83.4 ft) 1,022.9 m3 (36,122 cu ft) Named after Euclid. [25]
18 Washington Mariposa Grove 37°30′54″N 119°35′53″W / 37.51507°N 119.59806°W / 37.51507; -119.59806 71.9 m (236.0 ft) 29.2 m (95.7 ft) 1,016.6 m3 (35,901 cu ft) The largest giant sequoia north of Boole. Named after George Washington. Not to be confused with the Washington tree of Giant Forest Grove. [25]
19 Pershing Giant Forest Grove 36°34′43″N 118°45′12″W / 36.57869°N 118.75347°W / 36.57869; -118.75347 75.0 m (246.0 ft) 27.8 m (91.2 ft) 1,015.3 m3 (35,855 cu ft) Named after John J. Pershing. [25]
20 Diamond Atwell Mill Grove 36°27′48″N 118°41′51″W / 36.46343°N 118.69740°W / 36.46343; -118.69740 87.2 m (286.0 ft) 29.0 m (95.3 ft) 999.4 m3 (35,292 cu ft) Named for a large diamond-shaped scar present on the southeastern side of the trunk. [25]
21 Adam Mountain Home Grove 36°14′36″N 118°40′22″W / 36.243404°N 118.672651°W / 36.243404; -118.672651 75.4 m (247.4 ft) 28.7 m (94.2 ft) 991.6 m3 (35,017 cu ft) Named after Adam. [33]
22 Roosevelt Redwood Mountain Grove 36°41′38″N 118°55′08″W / 36.69389°N 118.91889°W / 36.69389; -118.91889 79.2 m (260.0 ft) 24.4 m (80.0 ft) 991.5 m3 (35,013 cu ft) Named after Theodore Roosevelt. [25]
23 Nelder Nelder Grove 37°26′29″N 119°35′47″W / 37.44127°N 119.59644°W / 37.44127; -119.59644 81.1 m (266.2 ft) 27.4 m (90.0 ft) 990.9 m3 (34,993 cu ft) Named after John A. Nelder. [25]
24 Above Diamond (AD) Atwell Mill Grove 36°27′53″N 118°41′36″W / 36.46477°N 118.69341°W / 36.46477; -118.69341 73.9 m (242.4 ft) 30.2 m (99.0 ft) 982.8 m3 (34,706 cu ft) Situated just above Diamond, hence the name "AD". [25]
25 Hart Redwood Mountain Grove 84.7 m (277.9 ft) 23.0 m (75.3 ft) 974.3 m3 (34,407 cu ft) Named after Michael Hart, who discovered it. [34][25]
26 Grizzly Giant Mariposa Grove 37°30′12.65″N 119°36′2.39″W / 37.5035139°N 119.6006639°W / 37.5035139; -119.6006639 63.7 m (209.0 ft) 28.2 m (92.5 ft) 962.9 m3 (34,005 cu ft) Originally named the "Grizzled Giant" by Galen Clark. [25]
27 Chief Sequoyah Giant Forest Grove 36°34′26″N 118°45′00″W / 36.57379°N 118.75°W / 36.57379; -118.75 69.6 m (228.2 ft) 27.6 m (90.4 ft) 951.7 m3 (33,608 cu ft) Named after Sequoyah. [25]
28 Methuselah Mountain Home Grove 36°14′25″N 118°40′49″W / 36.240254°N 118.680249°W / 36.240254; -118.680249 63.3 m (207.8 ft) 29.2 m (95.8 ft) 931.5 m3 (32,897 cu ft) Named after Methuselah. [25]
29 Great Goshawk Freeman Creek Grove 77.8 m (255.2 ft) 27.5 m (90.2 ft) 928.3 m3 (32,783 cu ft) The largest giant sequoia south of Stagg. Named after the Northern goshawk, a hawk native to the Sierra Nevada. [25]
30 Hamilton Giant Forest Grove 36°32′58″N 118°45′55″W / 36.54954°N 118.76517°W / 36.54954; -118.76517 72.7 m (238.5 ft) 25.2 m (82.6 ft) 928.3 m3 (32,783 cu ft) Named after Alexander Hamilton. [25]
31 Dean Atwell Mill Grove 36°28′12″N 118°40′58″W / 36.46995°N 118.68276°W / 36.46995; -118.68276 71.9 m (235.9 ft) 29.4 m (96.4 ft) 915.6 m3 (32,333 cu ft) Named after a carving of the name "Dean" that was found on a charred area of the trunk by Wendell D. Flint in 1950. [citation needed]
32 Black Mountain Beauty Black Mountain Grove 36°06′58″N 118°40′31″W / 36.11623°N 118.67518°W / 36.11623; -118.67518 80.2 m (263.0 ft) 23.2 m (76.0 ft) 912.5 m3 (32,224 cu ft) Also known as "Black Mountain Shaft". The tree lost significant volume after it burned during the 2017 Pier Fire. New volume estimate needed to determine the current volume of the tree. [31]


  • The trees Named "Franklin", "Column", "Monroe", "Hamilton" and "Adams" were Named by Wendell Flint and others. These five are now included on the official map of Giant Forest, where they are all situated.
  • The Washington Tree (not listed above) was previously arguably the second largest tree with a volume of 1,354.96 m3 (47,850 cu ft) (although the upper half of its trunk was hollow, making the calculated volume debatable), but after losing the hollow upper half of its trunk in January 2005 following a fire, it is no longer of exceptional size.
  • The Hazelwood Tree (not listed above) had a volume of 1,025.86 m3 (36,228 cu ft) before losing half its trunk in a lightning storm in 2002, if it were still at full size it would currently be the 17th largest giant sequoia on earth.
  • The largest giant sequoia killed at the hand of man was the General Noble Tree in 1892, about the same volume as the Boole Tree.[17][verification needed]

The nine largest trees[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d This table presents giant sequoias sorted by the volume of their trunks. In December 2012, Stephen Sillett announced a measurement of the President tree with a total of 54,000 cubic feet (1,500 m3) of wood and 9,000 cubic feet (250 m3) of wood in the branches.[22][23] Ranked according to the total amount of wood in the tree, the General Sherman tree is first, the President tree is second, and the General Grant tree is third.[22][23] General Sherman has 2,000 cubic feet (57 m3) more wood than the President tree.[22]


  1. ^ a b c Martin, G (2005-02-08). "Giant sequoia getting shorter: Washington tree has lost 139 feet to fire, winter storms". The San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  2. ^ a b United States Forest Service (2010). "Welcome to the Giant Sequoia National Monument". Sequoia National Forest. Porterville, California: Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest, United States Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  3. ^ National Park Service (2010). "Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias". Plan Your Visit. Washington, DC: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  4. ^ Martin, G (2006-09-07). "Eureka! New tallest living thing discovered". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  5. ^ Earle, CJ (2011). "Sequoia sempervirens". The Gymnosperm Database. Olympia, Washington: self-published. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  6. ^ Earle, CJ (2011). "Pinus longaeva". The Gymnosperm Database. Olympia, Washington: self-published. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  7. ^ a b National Park Service (2009). "The Giant Sequoia: Forest Masterpiece". Sequoia and Kings Canyon: Plants. Washington, DC: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  8. ^ Zinke, PJ; Stangenberger, AG (1994). Soil and Nutrient Element Aspects of Sequoiadendron Giganteum (General Technical Report PSW-151) (PDF) (Report). USDA Forest Service. pp. 69–77. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  9. ^ a b Willard, D (1994). "The Natural Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron Giganteum) Groves of the Sierra Nevada, California-An Updated Annotated List" (PDF). USDA Forest Service. Retrieved 2011-08-19. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Schaffer, JP (1998). The Tahoe Sierra: a natural history guide to 112 hikes in the northern Sierra (1st ed.). Berkeley, California: Wilderness Press. pp. 138–42. ISBN 978-0-89997-220-6.
  11. ^ Stewart, Ronald (1994). "Giant Sequoia Management in the National Forests of California" (PDF).
  12. ^ National Geographic Magazine, December 2012
  13. ^ a b Weatherspoon, C. Phillip (1990). "Sequoiadendron giganteum". In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H. (eds.). Conifers. Silvics of North America. Washington, D.C.: United States Forest Service (USFS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 1 – via Southern Research Station (
  14. ^ Sillett, SC; Spickler, JC; Van Pelt, R (2001). "Crown structure of the world's second largest tree (abstract only)". Madroño. 47 (2): 127–33. ISSN 0024-9637.
  15. ^ a b Block, M (2005-02-25). "Giant 'Washington Tree' Gets Smaller". NPR. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  16. ^ a b c National Park Service (1997). "The General Sherman Tree". Sequoia National Park. Washington, DC: National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  17. ^ a b c d e Flint, WD (2002). To Find the Biggest Tree (1st ed.). Three Rivers, California: Sequoia Natural History Association. ISBN 978-1-878441-09-6.
  18. ^ "General Sherman Tree". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  19. ^ Stephenson, NL (2002). "Estimated Ages of Some Large Giant Sequoias: General Sherman Keeps Getting Younger". Sierra Nature Notes: The Online Journal of Natural History News in the Sierra Nevada. 2 (1). Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  20. ^ "General Grant Tree". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  21. ^ Fischer, D (2003-12-08). "Nation's Christmas tree aged 1,650 General Grant in Kings Canyon National Park no young whippersnapper". Oakland Tribune. Oakland, California. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  22. ^ a b c Cone, Tracie (2012-12-01). "Upon further review, giant sequoia tops a neighbor". Associated Press.
  23. ^ a b Quammen, David. "Giant Sequoias". National Geographic.
  24. ^ "Giant redwood dedicated to memory of late president". National Lumber Bulletin. September 7, 1923. p. 13.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "The Largest Giant Sequoias by Trunk Volume" (PDF). National Park Service - Sequoia and Kings Canyon. December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-11-01. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  26. ^ United States Forest Service (2010). "Alder Creek Grove". Giant Sequoia Groves. Porterville, California: Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest, United States Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  27. ^ Flint, WD; Law, M (1988). "The Genesis Tree" (PDF). Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest Newsletter. 1988 (8): 1–8. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  28. ^ Morris, George, III; Dennis, Carrie. "2020 Fire Siege" (PDF). Cal Fire. p. 82.
  29. ^ Fox, Alex (2021-06-11). "Fire Destroyed 10 Percent of World's Giant Sequoias Last Year—Can They Survive Climate Change?". Smithsonian Magazine.
  30. ^ Cag, Sue (2021-05-15). "King Arthur Dead". I Love Trees.
  31. ^ a b "Giant sequoias - long survivors of the forest - succumbing to climate-driven wildfires". 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  32. ^ Cag, Sue (2021-06-25). "Mountain Home Castle Fire Update". I Love Trees.
  33. ^ Cook, NW; Dulitz, DJ (1979). "Measuring the Adam tree, largest Sierra redwood on the Mountain Home State Forest" (PDF). State Forest Notes. 73 (January): 1–5. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  34. ^ "Hart tree". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]