List of largest giant sequoias
The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is the world's most massive tree, and arguably the largest living organism on Earth. It is neither the tallest extant species of tree (that distinction belongs to the coast redwood), 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). 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, 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. 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 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. The northernmost of these groves is Placer County Grove in the Tahoe National Forest, Placer County, California, while the southernmost grove is Deer Creek Grove in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, Tulare County, California. The combined total area of all groves of giant sequoias is approximately 35,600 acres (14,407 ha).
Fire limits growth
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. 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.
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
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. 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.
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, 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. 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.
List of largest giant sequoias by trunk volume
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.
|1||General Sherman||Giant Forest Grove, ||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)||named after William Tecumseh Sherman|
|2[note 1]||General Grant||General Grant Grove, ||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)[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|
|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)||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)||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)||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, ||277.9 feet (84.7 m)||75.3 feet (23.0 m)||24 feet (7.3 m)||34,407 cubic feet (974.3 m3)||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.
Base of General Grant, Kings Canyon National Park, 1936
President tree, Sequoia National Park
Lincoln tree, Sequoia National Park
Stagg tree, Giant Sequoia National Monument
Boole tree, Sequoia National Forest, 2007
Franklin tree, Sequoia National Park
Robert E. Lee tree, Kings Canyon National Park
Grizzly Giant, Yosemite National Park, 2005
Hart tree, Kings Canyon National Park, 2011
- General Noble Tree
- List of giant sequoia groves
- Mother of the Forest
- National Register of Big Trees
- List of superlative trees
- The House (trees)
- 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. 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. General Sherman has 2,000 cubic feet (57 m3) more wood than the President tree.
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