The oldest and tallest tree in the world

The sequoia is a conifer that is characterized by its extraordinary size. In fact, it is the largest living being on the planet, due to its longevity and the quality of its wood. They are the tallest trees on Earth. Two species of sequoias, of different genera, are known, which mainly live in the wild in California and have been planted in the gardens of almost everyone for two centuries.

These two species exist in the famous Yellowstone Park. They are the Red Sequoia (Sequoia Sempervirenes), which reaches 95 meters in height with yew-colored foliage, with thick, very resistant fibrous bark; and the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron Giganteum), which reaches 80 meters in height and 24 meters in perimeter at its base, with scaly foliage, with thick, very resistant fibrous bark.

The secret of so many virtues lies in its particular way of growing. From a common root, its trunk is subdivided at the base into several trunks that grow independently, so one does not need the others to live. But in the event that one of them is attacked by a pest or disease, the sap from the other trunks acts to save the damaged part.

a long-lived tree

The oldest individuals of both species exceed 4,000 years. For them to grow well they have to be in a sheltered place, so they should be placed between groups of trees to protect them from strong winds and frost. They are not trees that require a special place to grow, deep soil is enough, but they can be of any type.

Redwood, the tallest

There is talk of Eucalyptus Regnans already disappeared that have been able to exceed 130 meters in height, of Douglas Firs already fallen that measured 120 meters and more. But the truth is that, at present, the only living trees that exceed 100 meters, with the exception of a specimen of Douglas Fir of 100 meters called Brummit Fir, are the Red Sequoias. And also not exceptionally, in the United States there are dozens of sempervirens that exceed 105 meters. The largest of all, known as the Mendocino Tree, located in Montgomery State Reserve, measured 112.01 meters in September 1998, although this record could fall at any time because there are several sequoias with heights greater than 110 meters pending final measurement. For a long time, the Giant of Dyerville was considered the tallest sequoia (112.08 meters), although there are contradictory opinions on this, and some authors reduce its size to ‘only’ 110.06 meters. This giant was blown over by the wind in March 1991; he was 1,600 years old. Its fallen trunk continues to attract thousands of tourists every year.

The Red Sequoia is native to a narrow strip located on the West Coast of the United States, from Oregon to California. It owes its name to the Sequoyah Indian chief, inventor of a Cherokee writing system, although surely this man never saw a sequoia in his life, since he lived in Tennessee, thousands of kilometers from the Californian coast. From the beginning, the sequoia was subjected to intense forestry activity due to the quality of its red wood, its rapid growth, between 4 and 10 years of age it can grow at a rate of 1.80 meters per year, and its gigantic size, from which huge pieces can be extracted. In the United States, tables made with a single table are highly appreciated. In addition, the cut sempervirens sprouts again from the stump and is once again timberable after a few decades.

This species of sequoia was introduced to Europe in 1843 and, due to its high ornamental value, is widely distributed in gardens and parks throughout the continent. Although they have not had time to reach the enormous sizes of their American sisters, some are already showing ways, such as the specimen located in the Castillo de Sotomayor, in the province of Pontevedra.


Source: Diario Ecologia by diarioecologia.com.

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