List of superlative trees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
View of the General Sherman tree from below. The General Sherman tree is largest by volume: this view exaggerates apparent height
Main article: Tree

The world's superlative trees can be ranked by any factor. Records have been kept for trees with superlative height, trunk diameter or girth, canopy coverage, airspace volume, wood volume, estimated mass, and age.


The coniferous Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is the tallest tree species on earth.

The heights of the tallest trees in the world have been the subject of considerable dispute and much exaggeration. Modern verified measurements with laser rangefinders, or with tape drop measurements made by tree climbers (such as those carried out by canopy researchers), have shown that some older measuring methods and measurements are often unreliable, sometimes producing exaggerations of 5% to 15% or more above the real height.[1] Historical claims of trees growing to 130 m (430 ft), and even 150 m (490 ft), are now largely disregarded as unreliable, and attributed to human error.

The following are now accepted as the tallest reliably measured specimens from the top 26 species. This list shows only currently standing specimens:

  1. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens): 115.61 m (379.3 ft), "Hyperion", Redwood National Park, California, United States[2][3][4]
  2. Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans): 99.8 m (327.4 ft), "Centurion", Arve Valley, Tasmania, Australia[5]
  3. Coast Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii): 99.76 m (327.3 ft), Brummit Creek, Coos County, Oregon, United States[6][7][8]
  4. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis): 96.7 m (317 ft), Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, United States[9][10]
  5. Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum): 95.8 m (314 ft), Sequoia National Forest, California, United States[11][12]
  6. Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis): 91 m (299 ft), "White Knight", Evercreech Forest Reserve, Tasmania, Australia[13]
  7. Southern Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus): 90.7 m (298 ft), Tasmania, Australia[14]
  8. Yellow Meranti (Shorea faguetiana): 89.5 m (294 ft), Maliau Basin Conservation Area, in Sabah on the island of Borneo[15]
  9. Alpine Ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis): 87.9 m (288 ft), Tasmania, Australia[16]
  10. Philippine Rosewood (Petersianthus quadrialatus): 87.78 m (288.0 ft), Next to national highway in eastern outskirts of San Francisco town, Alegria, Agusan del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines.
  11. Brown Top Stringbark (Eucalyptus obliqua): 86 m (282 ft) "King Stringy", Tasmania, Australia.[17]
  12. Mengaris (Koompassia excelsa): 85.76 m (281.4 ft) Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo[18]
  13. Karri(Eucalyptus diversicolor): 84.99 m (278.8 ft) "Stewart's Karri", near Manjimup, Western Australia.[19]
  14. Shorea argentifolia: 84.85 m (278.4 ft) Gaharu ridge of Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.[20]
  15. Shorea superba: 84.41 m (276.9 ft) Gergassi Ridge of Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.[20]
  16. Shining Gum (Eucalyptus nitens): 84.3 m (277 ft), Victoria, Australia.[21]
  17. Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana): 83.45 m (273.8 ft) near Yosemite National Park, California.[22]
  18. Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla): 83.34 m (273.4 ft) was discovered in November 2014 by Mario Vaden and Chris Atkins in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California.[23]
  19. Hopea nutans: 82.82 m (271.7 ft) Gaharu ridge of Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.[20]
  20. Shorea johorensis: 82.39 m (270.3 ft) Coco-Park boundary of Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.[20]
  21. Shorea smithiana: 82.27 m (269.9 ft) Coco-Park boundary of Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.[20]
  22. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa): 81.77 m (268.3 ft) in Myers Creek drainage of Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon.[24][25]
  23. Grand Fir (Abies grandis): 81.4 m (267 ft) in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.[26]
  24. Shorea gibbosa: 81.11 m (266.1 ft) River Flats of Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.[20]
  25. Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana): 81.08 m (266.0 ft), In Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California.[27]
  26. Noble Fir (Abies procera): 80.50 m (264.1 ft), Washington State, United States.[28]
  • There are also some other very tall tree species with claimed heights of 80 metres (260 ft) and even more:

Araucaria hunsteinii, Cupressus cashmeriana, Taiwania cryptomerioides, Allantospermum borneense, Alstonia pneumatophora, Shorea mujongensis, Dyera costulata, Dryobalanops lanceolata, Parashorea chinensis, Abies nordmanniana, Eucalyptus denticulata, Eucalyptus grandis, Eucalyptus pilularis, Corymbia maculata, Ulmus mexicana.


A wild Ficus growing in Echo Caves near Ohrigstad, South Africa has roots going 121.92 m (400.0 ft) deep, giving it the deepest roots of any tree. [29]

Largest by single-stem wood volume[edit]

Further information: List of largest giant sequoias

The largest trees in total wood volume are both tall and large in diameter and, in particular, hold a large diameter high up the trunk. Measurement is very complex, particularly if branch volume is to be included as well as the trunk volume, so measurements have only been made for a small number of trees, and generally only for the trunk. Few attempts has ever been made to include root or leaf volume.

The top eleven species measured so far are*:

  1. Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum): 1,487 m³ (52,508 cu ft), General Sherman[30] Sequoia National Park
  2. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens): 1,084+ m³ (38,299+ cu ft), Grogan's Fault[31]
  3. Montezuma Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum): 750 m³ (25,000 cu ft), Árbol del Tule[32]
  4. Kauri (Agathis australis) : 516 m³ (18,222 cu ft), Tāne Mahuta, Waipoua Forest, New Zealand[33]
  5. Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata): 500 m³ (17,650 cu ft ), Quinault Lake Redcedar[30]
  6. Eucalyptus regnans: 391 m³ (13,808 cu ft), Still Sorrow[34]
  7. Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus): 368 m³ (13,000 cu ft), Rullah Longatyle (Strong Girl, also Grieving Giant)[16]
  8. Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) 349 m³ (12,320 cu ft) Red Creek Tree
  9. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) 337 m³ (11,920 cu ft) Queets Spruce[35]
  10. Eucalyptus obliqua: 337 m³ (11,920 cu ft) "Gothmog," Styx Tall Trees FP, Tasmania.[16]
  11. Eucalyptus delegatensis: 286 m³ (10,100 cu ft), located in Styx River Valley[16]

(*)This list does not take into account specimens no longer living.


The girth of a tree is usually much easier to measure than the height, as it is a simple matter of stretching a tape round the trunk, and pulling it taut to find the circumference. Despite this, UK tree author Alan Mitchell made the following comment about measurements of yew trees:

The aberrations of past measurements of yews are beyond belief. For example, the tree at Tisbury has a well-defined, clean, if irregular bole at least 1.5 m long. It has been found to have a girth that dilated and shrunk in the following way: 11.28 m (1834 Loudon), 9.3 m (1892 Lowe), 10.67 m (1903 Elwes and Henry), 9.0 m (1924 E. Swanton), 9.45 m (1959 Mitchell) ... Earlier measurements have therefore been omitted.

— Alan Mitchell; in a handbook "Conifers in the British Isles".[36]

As a general standard, tree girth is taken at "breast height". This is converted to and cited as dbh (diameter at breast height) in tree and forestry literature.[37][38] Breast height is defined differently in different situations, with most forestry measurements taking girth at 1.3 m above ground,[38] while those who measure ornamental trees usually measure at 1.5 m above ground;[37] in most cases this makes little difference to the measured girth. On sloping ground, the "above ground" reference point is usually taken as the highest point on the ground touching the trunk,[37][38] but in North America a point, that is the average of the highest point and the lowest point the tree trunk appears to contact the soil, is usually used.[39] Some of the inflated old measurements may have been taken at ground level. Some past exaggerated measurements also result from measuring the complete next-to-bark measurement, pushing the tape in and out over every crevice and buttress.[36]

Modern trends are to cite the tree's diameter rather than the circumference. The diameter of the tree is calculated by finding the mean diameter of the trunk, in most cases obtained by dividing the measured circumference by π; this assumes the trunk is mostly circular in cross-section (an oval or irregular cross-section would result in a mean diameter slightly greater than the assumed circle). Accurately measuring circumference or diameter is difficult in species with the large buttresses that are characteristic of many species of rainforest trees. Simple measurement of circumference of such trees can be misleading when the circumference includes much empty space between buttresses. See also Tree girth measurement

Baobabs (genus Adansonia) store large amounts of water in the very soft wood in their trunks. This leads to marked variation in their girth over the year (though not more than about 2.5%[40]), reaching maximum at the end of the rainy season, and minimum at the end of the dry season.

The stoutest living single-trunk species in diameter are:

  1. Montezuma Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum): 11.62 m (38.1 ft), Árbol del Tule, Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico.[41] This diameter includes buttressing. A more accurate mean diameter for this tree is 9.38 m (30.8 ft).[41]
  2. Baobab (Adansonia digitata): 10.64 m (34.9 ft), Sunland Baobab, South Africa. Renowned because a bar and wine cellar operates inside its hollow trunk.
  3. Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum): 8.85 m (29.0 ft), General Grant tree, General Grant Grove, California, United States[42]
  4. Za (Adansonia za): 8.85 m (29.0 ft),"The Ampanihy Baobab", North of Morombe, S.W. Madagascar,[43]
  5. Chinese Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora) 8.23 m (27.0 ft),"Kamou no Okusu", Kamo, Kogochima, Japan.[44][45]
  6. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens): 7.9 m (26 ft), Lost Monarch, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California, United States.
  7. Eucalyptus obliqua: 6.72 m (22.0 ft)
  8. Eucalyptus regnans: 6.52 m (21.4 ft), Big Foot, Geeveston, Tasmania
  9. Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata): 5.94 m (19.5 ft), Quinault Lake Cedar, Olympic National Park[46]
  10. Eucalyptus delegatensis: 5.82 m (19.1 ft), Troll, Hermons Road, Tasmania, Australia.
  11. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis): 5.39 m (17.7 ft), Quinault Lake Spruce, Olympic National Park
  12. Kauri (Agathis australis): 5.33 m (17.5 ft), Te Matua Ngahere, Waipoua Forest, New Zealand[47]

Measurements become ambiguous when multiple trunks (whether from an individual tree or multiple trees) grow together. The Sacred Fig grows adventitious roots from its branches, which become new trunks when the root reaches the ground and thickens; a single sacred fig tree can have hundreds of such trunks.[48] The multi-stemmed Hundred Horse Chestnut was known to have a circumference of 57.9 m (190 ft) when it was measured in 1780.

There are known more than 50 species of trees exceeding the diameter of 4.45 m or circumference of 14 m.[citation needed]


Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) is the longest living tree species on earth.
Main article: List of oldest trees

The oldest trees are determined by growth rings, which can be seen if the tree is cut down, or in cores taken from the bark to the center of the tree. Accurate determination is only possible for trees that produce growth rings, generally those in seasonal climates. Trees in uniform non-seasonal tropical climates grow continuously and do not have distinct growth rings. It is also only possible for trees that are solid to the center. Many very old trees become hollow as the dead heartwood decays. For some of these species, age estimates have been made on the basis of extrapolating current growth rates, but the results are usually largely speculation. White (1998)[49] proposes a method of estimating the age of large and veteran trees in the United Kingdom through the correlation of a tree's age with its diameter and growth character.

The verified oldest measured ages are:

  1. Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva): 5,065 years[50]
  2. Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides): 3,645 years[51]
  3. Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum): 3,266 years[50]
  4. Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis): 2,675 years[50]

Other species suspected of reaching exceptional age include European Yew (Taxus baccata) (probably over 2,000 years[52][53]), Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) (3,000 years or more[54]), and Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata). The oldest known European Yew is the Llangernyw Yew in the Churchyard of Llangernyw village in North Wales, which is estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old.[citation needed] The Fortingall Yew is said to be one of the oldest known trees in Europe.

The olive tree also can live for centuries. The oldest verified age is 900 years[55] at Gethsemane (Mount of Olives, as mentioned in the Bible), while several other olive trees are suspected of being 2,000 to 3,000 years old.[56]

The pond cypress, Taxodium ascendens, has been known to live more than 1,000 years. One specimen in particular, named "The Senator", was estimated to be more than 3,400 years old at the time of its demise in early 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Native Tree Society". 
  2. ^ "Tallest Coast Redwoods". Landmark Trees Archive. Retrieved 2012-04-03. Hyperion, Redwood National Park, CA, 115.66 m 
  3. ^ "Grove of Titans, Hyperion". M.D. Vaden. 
  4. ^ "Sequoia". 
  5. ^ "Tassies Tallest Trees". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Doerner Fir - Tallest Douglas Fir". Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  7. ^ "Landmark Trees Archive - Tallest Douglas Fir". Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  8. ^ "Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii". 
  9. ^ "Picea sitchensis". Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved 2007-06-10. This tree also has a sign nearby proclaiming it to be 'the world's largest spruce'. The two tallest on record, 96.7 m and 96.4 m, are in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California 
  10. ^ "Picea sitchensis". 
  11. ^ "Tallest Giant Sequoia". Landmark Trees Archive. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  12. ^ "Sequoiadendron". 
  13. ^ "Gum - Manna (Eucalyptus viminalis) "White Knight"". Australia National Register of Big Trees. 
  14. ^ name=Tasmanian Register
  15. ^ "Tallest known tropical tree discovered in Malaysia’s lost world". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Tasmanian Giant Trees Register" (PDF). Forestry Tasmania. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. 
  17. ^ "Giant Trees Register". 
  18. ^ "Tallest Tropical Trees Discovered In Borneo". Landmark Trees Archive. 2005. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Borneo". Native Tree Society. 
  21. ^ "Tallest Eucalyptus". Landmark Trees Archive. 
  22. ^ "Pinus lambertiana". 
  23. ^ "Tsuga heterophylla". 
  24. ^ "New World's Tallest Pine. 268.29' Ponderosa". M.D. Vaden. 
  25. ^ "Pinus ponderosa subsp. benthamiana". 
  26. ^ "Abies grandis". 
  27. ^ "Chamaecyparis lawsoniana". 
  28. ^ "Native Tree Society BBS: West Coast Rucker Index". 2013-03-31. The noble fir is dead, and the tallest I know of now (measured this past August) is 264.1 feet. 
  29. ^ "Interesting Tree Facts". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  30. ^ a b "A Tale of Big Tree Hunting In California". Gymnosperm Database. Archived from the original on 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2007-06-10. Sequoiadendron giganteum is 1489 m³, Sequoia sempervirens 1045 m³, Thuja plicata 500 m³, Agathis australis ca. 400 m³ 
  31. ^ Vaden, Mario. "Largest Coast Redwood, Grogan's Fault". 
  32. ^ "ENTSTrees - Árbol del Tule". Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  33. ^ "Agathis australis". Gymnosperm Database. 
  34. ^ "Tasmania's Giant Trees". 
  35. ^ "Largest Sitka Spruce". Landmark Trees Archive. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  36. ^ a b Mitchell, A. F. (1972). Conifers in the British Isles. Forestry Commission. Booklet 33. 
  37. ^ a b c Mitchell, A. F. (1974). A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins. ISBN 0-00-212035-6. 
  38. ^ a b c Hamilton, G. J. (1975). Forest Mensuration Handbook 39. Forestry Commission Booklet. ISBN 0-11-710023-4. 
  39. ^ "Tree Measuring Guidelines of the Eastern Native Tree Society" (PDF). Native Tree Society. March 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  40. ^ Fenner, M (1980). "Some measurements on the water relations of baobab trees". Biotropica 12 (3): 205–209. doi:10.2307/2387972. JSTOR 2387972. 
  41. ^ a b "Taxodium mucronatum". Gymnosperm Database. 
  42. ^ "Sequoiadendron giganteum". Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved 2007-06-10. the General Grant tree in Kings Canyon National Park, CA, which is 885 cm dbh and 81.1 m tall 
  43. ^ Marc Salak, "The Vanishing Thorn Forests of Madagascar" part 2 CACTUS AND SUCCULENT JOURNAL vol. 74 #1 (Jan.-Feb 2002)p. 31 plus photo p.33.
  44. ^ Dr. Al C. Carder, "Giant Trees of Western America and the World" (Madeira Park, Brit. Columbia: Harbour Pubs., 2005)p. 105.
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Thuja Plicata". The Gymnosperm Database. 
  47. ^ "Te Matua Ngahere". New Zealand Notable Trees. 
  48. ^ Huxley, A (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-47494-5. 
  49. ^ White, J (1990). Estimating the Age of Large and Veteran Trees in Britain. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission. 
  50. ^ a b c "Oldlist". Rocky Mountain Tree Ring Research. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  51. ^ Lara, Antonio; Villalba, Ricardo (21 May 1993). "A 3620-Year Temperature Record from Fitzroya cupressoides Tree Rings in Southern South America". Science 260 (5111): 1104–1106. Bibcode:1993Sci...260.1104L. doi:10.1126/science.260.5111.1104. PMID 17806339. 
  52. ^ Harte, J (1996). "How old is that old yew?". At the Edge 4: 1–9. 
  53. ^ Kinmonth, F (2005). "Ageing the yew - no core, no curve?". International Dendrology Society Yearbook: 41–46. ISSN 0307-322X. 
  54. ^ Suzuki, E (1997). "The Dynamics of Old Cryptomeria japonica Forest on Yakushima Island" (PDF). Tropics 6 (4): 421–428. doi:10.3759/tropics.6.421. 
  55. ^ "Oldest olive trees". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  56. ^ "World's 10 oldest trees". Mother Nature Network. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 

External links[edit]