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 286 feet (87 m) or more, a circumference of 113 feet (34 m) or more, an estimated bole volume of up to 52,500 cubic feet (1,487 m3), 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 40 cubic feet (1.1 m3) 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 5,000 to 8,000 feet (1,524 to 2,438 m) 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 35,600 acres (14,407 ha).[citation needed]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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[12]

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 just a few years ago.[1][13] In September 2003, the tree lost a portion of its crown as a result of a fire caused by a lightning strike. This reduced its height from nearly 255 feet (78 m) to about 229 feet (70 m). 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 115 feet (35 m) tall.[1][14]

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,[15] 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.[15] 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.[14]

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. Many sequoias cut down in the past were probably far larger, such as the Mother of the Forest.

Rank Name Location[16] Height[16] Circumference[16] Diameter Bole
1 General Sherman Giant Forest Grove, 36°34′51″N 118°45′03″W / 36.58083°N 118.75083°W / 36.58083; -118.75083[17] 274.9 feet (83.8 m) 102.6 feet (31.3 m) 32.7 feet (10.0 m) 52,508 cubic feet (1,486.9 m3)[15][18] named after William Tecumseh Sherman
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[19] 268.1 feet (81.7 m) 107.5 feet (32.8 m) 34.2 feet (10.4 m) 46,608 cubic feet (1,319.8 m3)[20][note 1] named after Ulysses S. Grant; designated as the "Nation's Christmas Tree" since 1926
3[note 1] President Giant Forest Grove 240.9 feet (73.4 m) 93.0 feet (28.3 m) 29.6 feet (9.0 m) 45,148 cubic feet (1,278.4 m3)[note 1] named after U.S. President Warren G. Harding[23]
4 Lincoln Giant Forest Grove 255.8 feet (78.0 m) 98.3 feet (30.0 m) 31.3 feet (9.5 m) 44,471 cubic feet (1,259.3 m3) named after Abraham Lincoln
5 Stagg Alder Creek Grove 243.0 feet (74.1 m) 109.0 feet (33.2 m) 34.7 feet (10.6 m) 42,557 cubic feet (1,205.1 m3)[24] named after Amos Alonzo Stagg
6 Boole Converse Basin Grove 268.8 feet (81.9 m) 113.0 feet (34.4 m) 36 feet (11 m) 42,472 cubic feet (1,202.7 m3) named after Franklin A. Boole
7 Genesis Mountain Home Grove 253.0 feet (77.1 m) 85.3 feet (26.0 m) 27.2 feet (8.3 m) 41,897 cubic feet (1,186.4 m3)[25] named after Genesis
8 Franklin Giant Forest Grove 223.8 feet (68.2 m) 94.8 feet (28.9 m) 30.2 feet (9.2 m) 41,280 cubic feet (1,169 m3) named after Benjamin Franklin, located near Washington
9 King Arthur Garfield Grove 270.3 feet (82.4 m) 104.2 feet (31.8 m) 33.2 feet (10.1 m) 40,656 cubic feet (1,151.2 m3) named after King Arthur
10 Monroe Giant Forest Grove 247.8 feet (75.5 m) 91.3 feet (27.8 m) 29.1 feet (8.9 m) 40,104 cubic feet (1,135.6 m3) named after James Monroe, located near Auto Log
11 Robert E. Lee General Grant Grove 254.7 feet (77.6 m) 88.3 feet (26.9 m) 28.1 feet (8.6 m) 40,102 cubic feet (1,135.6 m3) named after Robert E. Lee
12 John Adams Giant Forest Grove 250.6 feet (76.4 m) 83.3 feet (25.4 m) 26.5 feet (8.1 m) 38,956 cubic feet (1,103.1 m3) named after John Adams, located near Cattle Cabin
13 Ishi Giant Kennedy Grove 248.1 feet (75.6 m) 105.1 feet (32.0 m) 33.5 feet (10.2 m) 38,156 cubic feet (1,080.5 m3)
14 Column Giant Forest Grove 243.8 feet (74.3 m) 93.0 feet (28.3 m) 29.6 feet (9.0 m) 37,295 cubic feet (1,056.1 m3) near General Pershing
15 Summit Road Mountain Home Grove 244.0 feet (74.4 m) 82.2 feet (25.1 m) 26.2 feet (8.0 m) 36,600 cubic feet (1,040 m3)
16 Euclid Mountain Home Grove 272.7 feet (83.1 m) 83.4 feet (25.4 m) 26.5 feet (8.1 m) 36,122 cubic feet (1,022.9 m3)
17 Washington Mariposa Grove 236.0 feet (71.9 m) 95.7 feet (29.2 m) 30.5 feet (9.3 m) 35,901 cubic feet (1,016.6 m3) named after George Washington, not to be confused with the Washington tree in Giant Forest Grove
18 General Pershing Giant Forest Grove 246.0 feet (75.0 m) 91.2 feet (27.8 m) 29 feet (8.8 m) 35,855 cubic feet (1,015.3 m3) named after John J. Pershing
19 Diamond Atwell Mill Grove 286.0 feet (87.2 m) 95.3 feet (29.0 m) 30.3 feet (9.2 m) 35,292 cubic feet (999.4 m3)
20 Adam Mountain Home Grove 247.4 feet (75.4 m) 94.2 feet (28.7 m) 30 feet (9.1 m) 35,017 cubic feet (991.6 m3)[26] named after Adam
21 Roosevelt Redwood Mountain Grove 260.0 feet (79.2 m) 80.0 feet (24.4 m) 25.5 feet (7.8 m) 35,013 cubic feet (991.5 m3) named after Theodore Roosevelt, located near Hart
22 Nelder Nelder Grove 266.2 feet (81.1 m) 90.0 feet (27.4 m) 28.6 feet (8.7 m) 34,993 cubic feet (990.9 m3) named after John A. Nelder
23 AD Atwell Mill Grove 242.4 feet (73.9 m) 99.0 feet (30.2 m) 31.5 feet (9.6 m) 34,706 cubic feet (982.8 m3) situated just above Diamond (hence the name "AD")
24 Hart Redwood Mountain Grove, 36°41′43″N 118°53′28″W / 36.69528°N 118.89111°W / 36.69528; -118.89111[27] 277.9 feet (84.7 m) 75.3 feet (23.0 m) 24 feet (7.3 m) 34,407 cubic feet (974.3 m3)[27] named after Michael Hart, who discovered it
25 Grizzly Giant Mariposa Grove 209.0 feet (63.7 m) 92.5 feet (28.2 m) 29.4 feet (9.0 m) 34,005 cubic feet (962.9 m3)
26 Chief Sequoyah Giant Forest Grove 228.2 feet (69.6 m) 90.4 feet (27.6 m) 28.8 feet (8.8 m) 33,608 cubic feet (951.7 m3) named after Sequoyah
27 Methuselah Mountain Home Grove 207.8 feet (63.3 m) 95.8 feet (29.2 m) 30.5 feet (9.3 m) 32,897 cubic feet (931.5 m3) named after Methuselah
28 Great Goshawk Freeman Creek Grove 255.2 feet (77.8 m) 90.2 feet (27.5 m) 28.7 feet (8.7 m) 32,783 cubic feet (928.3 m3)
29 Hamilton Giant Forest Grove 238.5 feet (72.7 m) 82.6 feet (25.2 m) 26.3 feet (8.0 m) 32,783 cubic feet (928.3 m3) named after Alexander Hamilton
30 Dean Atwell Mill Grove 235.9 feet (71.9 m) 96.4 feet (29.4 m) 30.7 feet (9.4 m) 32,333 cubic feet (915.6 m3)
31 Black Mountain Beauty Black Mountain Grove 263.0 feet (80.2 m) 76.0 feet (23.2 m) 24.2 feet (7.4 m) 32,224 cubic feet (912.5 m3)
32 Packsaddle Giant Packsaddle Grove 219.0 feet (66.8 m) 106.4 feet (32.4 m) 33.9 feet (10.3 m) 32,156 cubic feet (910.6 m3)
33 Allen Russell Mountain Home Grove 254.1 feet (77.4 m) 80.2 feet (24.4 m) 25.5 feet (7.8 m) 31,650 cubic feet (896 m3) named after Allen I. Russell, who from 1962 to 1990 was ranger of Balch Park
34 Cleveland Giant Forest Grove 251.0 feet (76.5 m) 80.2 feet (24.4 m) 25.5 feet (7.8 m) 31,336 cubic feet (887.3 m3) named after Grover Cleveland
35 Dalton Muir Grove 274.5 feet (83.7 m) 76.1 feet (23.2 m) 24.2 feet (7.4 m) 31,065 cubic feet (879.7 m3)
36 Louis Agassiz Calaveras Big Trees State Park 262.0 feet (79.9 m) 98.0 feet (29.9 m) 31.2 feet (9.5 m) 30,580 cubic feet (866 m3) named after Louis Agassiz
37 Near Ed Giant Forest Grove 251.0 feet (76.5 m) 79.5 feet (24.2 m) 25.3 feet (7.7 m) 30,333 cubic feet (858.9 m3)
38 Evans Kennedy Grove 232.4 feet (70.8 m) 77.5 feet (23.6 m) 24.7 feet (7.5 m) 30,232 cubic feet (856.1 m3)
39 Three Fingered Jack Mountain Home Grove 240.0 feet (73.2 m) 82.5 feet (25.1 m) 26.3 feet (8.0 m) 30,118 cubic feet (852.8 m3)
40 Patriarch McIntyre Grove 176.5 feet (53.8 m) 72.6 feet (22.1 m) 23.1 feet (7.0 m) 30,020 cubic feet (850 m3)
41 Red Chief Long Meadow Grove 245.0 feet (74.7 m) 80.6 feet (24.6 m) 25.7 feet (7.8 m) 28,723 cubic feet (813.3 m3)
42 The Sentinel Giant Forest Grove 257.6 feet (78.5 m) 79.0 feet (24.1 m) 25.1 feet (7.7 m) 27,900 cubic feet (790 m3)
43 Bull Buck Nelder Grove 246.1 feet (75.0 m) 99.1 feet (30.2 m) 31.5 feet (9.6 m) 27,383 cubic feet (775.4 m3)
44 Near Gutless McIntyre Grove 252.1 feet (76.8 m) 75.6 feet (23.0 m) 24.1 feet (7.3 m) 26,737 cubic feet (757.1 m3)
45 Gutless Goliath McIntyre Grove 275.1 feet (83.9 m) 68.0 feet (20.7 m) 21.6 feet (6.6 m) 26,564 cubic feet (752.2 m3)
46 Candelabra Packsaddle Grove 205.5 feet (62.6 m) 26,341 cubic feet (745.9 m3)
47 Bannister Freeman Creek Grove 195.0 feet (59.4 m) 103.5 feet (31.5 m) 32.9 feet (10.0 m) 26,100 cubic feet (740 m3)
48 Ghost Packsaddle Grove 180.6 feet (55.0 m) 95.0 feet (29.0 m) 30.2 feet (9.2 m) 25,047 cubic feet (709.3 m3)
  • 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 was previously arguably the second largest tree with a volume of 47,850 cubic feet (1,355 m3) (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 great size.
  • The Hazelwood Tree (not listed above) had a volume of 36,228 cubic feet (1,025.9 m3) 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.


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.[21][22] 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.[21][22] General Sherman has 2,000 cubic feet (57 m3) more wood than the President tree.[21]


  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.
  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. ^ National Geographic Magazine, December 2012
  12. ^ 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 (
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b Block, M (2005-02-25). "Giant 'Washington Tree' Gets Smaller". NPR. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b c d Flint, WD (2002). To Find the Biggest Tree (1st ed.). Three Rivers, California: Sequoia Natural History Association. ISBN 978-1-878441-09-6.
  17. ^ "General Sherman Tree". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  18. ^ 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 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  19. ^ "General Grant Tree". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ a b c Cone, Tracie (2012-12-01). "Upon further review, giant sequoia tops a neighbor". Associated Press.
  22. ^ a b Quammen, David. "Giant Sequoias". National Geographic.
  23. ^ "Giant redwood dedicated to memory of late president". National Lumber Bulletin. September 7, 1923. p. 13.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Flint, WD; Law, M (1988). "The Genesis Tree" (PDF). Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest Newsletter. 1988 (8): 1–8. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ a b "Hart tree". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.

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