Giant Sequoia

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
There are no known varities.
"Giganteum" doesn't even begin to describe the size of this species. Sequoiadendron giganteum can be as tall as 90m and as wide as 11m. It has fireproof, red/brown bark and evergreen leaves. Just imagine how big this tree will be in only a couple (thousand) years!
Nolan Wilson
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
2.20 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.08 m

Sequoiadendron giganteum has red/brown, fibrous, furrowed bark that ranges in width from several inches to several feet. This surprisng width is good for fire- and bird-proofing and for making wooden goods, a practice that once endangered the specie's survival and has since been banned (Habeck, 1992).
Twigs & branches
Sequoiadendron giganteum has horizontal- to downward- sloping branches with upturned tips. They are able to be regrown fast, and therefore help (1) to make reproductive structures at a young age, and (2) to regrow/heal quickly (Habeck, 1992).
Sequoiadendron giganteum has awl shaped, sessile, and persistent leaves with stomates on both sides (Habeck, 1992; Watson, 2014).
  • The Eternal Winter of 2014
  • Winter (Giant Sequoias, 2014)
  • (Giant Sequoias, 2014)
Natural range of distribution: 
Sequoiadendron giganteum is found along the moutainous, coniferous forests of Western Sierra Nevada, California. (Text: Watson, 2014; Image: Wikipedia contributors, 2014).
Origin, history, and uses: 

In the 1800s, Sequoiadendron giganteum were cut down for their colorful, thick, and fireproof bark that was made into wooden goods like pencils, fence posts, stakes, shingles, and furniture. Now, they are a protected species located mostly in national parks (Habeck, 1992).

Sequoiadendron giganteum uses cones and seeds to reproduce and can start reproducing as young as twelve years old. Per year, it can produce as many as 300,000-400,000 seeds and 11,000 cones!

“Giant sequoias in California”. Monumental trees. 20 Apr. 2014.

Habeck, R. J. “Sequoiadendron giganteum”. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Science Laboratory. 20 Apr. 2014.

Watson, Frank D. “Entry for Sequoiadendron giganteum”. Global Plants. JSTOR. 20 Apr. 2014.

Wikipedia contributors. “Sequoiadendron giganteum.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 19 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Other information of interest: 

As one of the biggest and oldest living species, Sequoiadendron giganteum has many examples of its greatness. For example, Muir Snag is over three thousand years old and is believed to be the oldest of its kind. General Sherman has a diameter of almost eight meters and is thought to have the largest single stem of any kind. If you like to see more, check out Scotland’s Benmore Botanic Garden. It has its own sequoia avenue!

Media and Arts

O, giant sequoia:

Taller than Harkness Tower,

older than Yale’s first hour,

greener than Cross Campus,

rarer than Atlantis,

you are so impressive a conifer

that you’re seen but only through binoc’lars.

O, Christmas tree:

How strong you must be

to pull up so much water without the help of gravity.

So how is it that you can be that tall?

Is it your xylem, phloem, or osmotic pressure and all?

While you may not have flowers or fruit in your small town of California,

your use of small seeds and large cones trumps any old flowering begonia.

With long branches and thick bark,

your fireproof exterior would make for one heck of an ark;

but, in the interest of avoiding your extinction,

I’ll instead keep you and write about your distinction.