Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Giants among us

The coast redwood is one of the three sequoia species, together with the giant sequoia and the dawn redwood The coast redwood grows in natural stands in a long, thin coastal area along the Pacific Ocean in the west and northwest of the US (mostly California). It is the tallest tree in the world.

With its relatively slender silhouette this tree can grow even 20 meters higher than the tallest giant sequoias, that are nevertheless the biggest trees in the world, when looking at the volume of the trunk. The tallest known living tree, named Hyperion, is 115.55 m or 379.1 feet (measured in 2006) tall! This gets close to 120 to 130 m, that, according to a 2004 biological study, is the maximum attainable height of a tree.

Foggy coastal forests of the Pacific.

During the whole year it rains quite a lot in this thin coastal strip and it is quite foggy most of the time. This way the tree can absorb enough water and does not suffer that much from evaporation stress. Most of the tallest trees can be found in the wet river valleys on fertile, alluvial deposits, although unexpectedly a couple of recently discovered record breaking trees appeared to grow on the valley slopes. The coast redwood forests have an abundant undergrowth (amongst which there are a lot of ferns). However, the biggest biodiversity can be found tens of meters up: differents species of plants, lichens, salamanders, ... live high up in the sky between the complex branch systems of the redwoods. Prof. Steve Sillett, who studies these redwood canopies, compares them with "hanging gardens".

1 comment:

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...


I'm surprised that I did not see this page before and offer a URL to the image page of the redwood titans like Del Norte Titan in the photo you chose. See:

Titan Redwood Photos: Largest Redwoods

The photos are of the largest known coast redwoods. Earlier this year, I noticed that images of these trees online were virtually non-existent, except a few small images of Del Norte Titan.


M. D. Vaden of Oregon