World’s Largest TreesColin Campbell-Preston
Climbing hundreds of feet above the ground and lurching towards the skies, the world’s largest trees provide some of the most stunning sights on the planet. Here we explore the skyline for some of nature’s greatest achievements and have a look at six of the world’s tallest, widest and oldest trees.
Located in the Giant Forest (so-called because of the large volume of giant trees) of Sequoia National Park in California; General Sherman is the largest known living single stem tree on Earth, by volume. Although not the tallest or the widest, General Sherman has the most impressive combined stats of any tree on the planet.
As an indication of the age of the tree, the giant sequoia was named after American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1879 – when it was already considered to be amongst the largest trees in the world.
The tree has an estimated age of 2,300 – 2,700 years, is 84 metres high with an estimated bole volume of 1,487 m3.
To put this in context, most of the semi mature trees grown in our London gardens are around 12 metres high with a bole volume of around 50 cubic metres.
Renowned as the world’s tallest living tree, the Hyperion’s height has been measured at 379ft. A coast redwood, the tree stands in Northern California. The exact location of Hyperion has not been disclosed to the public as it is thought that the footfall would disrupt the ecosystem of the area, although it is believed that the tree is roughly 700-800 years old.
It is thought that the tree could have grown taller, but damage caused by woodpeckers may have stunted its growth.
With a trunk diameter of 34.5 metres, the Sagole Baobab in South Africa is thought to be the world’s widest living tree. With a fee of 21 South African Rand (roughly £1) to visit the massive Baobab, the tree has proven popular with locals and tourists. Baobabs are fairly unique as somehow they use the water stored in their trunks as part of their support system and when they die and the water evaporates.
Located in Florida, The Senator was the world’s largest and oldest pond cypress tree until it was destroyed by fire in 2012. Although the fire was originally thought to be have been caused by a lightning strike, it was discovered that it was an act of accidental arson.
A number of visitors claim to have seen saplings grow from the base of the tree – suggesting it is still alive and ready to start growing to great heights once again.
Crannell Creek Giant
Believed to be roughly 17% larger in volume than current record-holder, General Sherman, it is thought that the Crannell Creek Giant was the largest tree ever recorded by man. Sadly, the tree was felled in the 1940s, and only one known photograph exists of the Crannell Creek Giant. When felled, the lumber of the tree was sufficient to build 22 average sized homes.
Pando, the Trembling Giant
All the trees we have mentioned so far are single stem trees however if we include ‘multi stem’ trees then the largest in the world is a Poplar Tree known as the Trembling Giant or Pando, growing on the western edge of the Colorado Plateau. This tree is a clonal colony of a single tree and is around 80,000 years old. The tree’s root system throws up suckers which then grow into new trees and so on and has evolved to a collection of around 50,000 trees. Scientists have estimated the weight of the mass to be in excess of 6,600 tonnes. It is thought to be the world’s largest known living organism.
Douglas Fir in Scotland.
The tallest tree in Britain is according to The Forestry Commission is a Douglas Fir at 66.4 metres – 217 ft. Located in Reelig Glen, near Inverness, the tree claimed the honour from a neighbouring Douglas fir known as Dughall Mor.
Whilst we can’t promise any of the plants or bulbs sold in our garden centres will reach these same great heights, they have all been carefully sourced from trusted growers to ensure beautiful growth when nurtured. Visit our homepage, or call us now on 0208 874 2037, for a full range of great Capital Gardens products and services.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Sellerink, scrubhiker, Miguel Vieria, redwoodnps