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Giant Sequoias: The Last of Nature’s True Giants

Updated on August 12, 2012
Redwood Canyon in Sequoia National Park
Redwood Canyon in Sequoia National Park | Source

True giants of the earth

Only a few people are lucky enough to marvel at nature’s giants. These giants stand more than 350 feet tall and can have a diameter exceeding 20 feet. These are not alien creatures but are actually nature’s silent spectators to history. The redwood tree is without a doubt a spectacular sight to behold. Nothing but humbling can describe standing next to these

The giant sequoia trees are among the worlds tallest and biggest living things. in fact, back in 200 and redwood tree nicknamed Stratosphere was discovered by Chris Atkins. This giant tree stands at 367.8 feet. Although this is already an amazing height even for giant sequoias, it still falls short as the world’s tallest tree. The giant sequoia nicknames Hyperion towers at a whopping 378.1 feet. In addition, 2 more redwood trees were discovered that towered over Stratosphere. Helios stands at 376.3 feet while Icarus stands at 371.2 feet. These giants belong to the coastal redwood family which is known to grow to tremendous heights.

Today, only a fraction of redwood forests exists. Because of this, many redwood forests are now protected. Redwood State Park and other redwood parks are considered as the densest areas on earth in terms of biomass.

Have you visited any Redwood Park?

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Living fossils

Back in the olden times – around 65 million years ago, sequoia trees grew in every corner of the earth. But chances in the climate decreased the areas where these magnificent trees grew. Today, three types of sequoias grow and are distinguished by their location. The Coastal Redwood grows in the Northwestern California. The Redwood State Park is said to be the largest virgin sequoia forest in the world. On the other hand, the Sierra Redwood thrives in the Sierra Valley. Lastly, the rarest of them all is the Dawn Redwood found only in Central China.

Although the Redwood trees can survive in different climates, it requires specific conditions to grow to tremendous heights. First, they need a temperature of 50-60 degrees. Second, these trees require fog from which they absorb moisture. Getting water up to their canopy requires a lot of energy. So the best way to replenish the trees’ top branches with water is through absorbing it in its surrounding. As such, fog is essential in the survival of these giants. Lastly, like any other trees, they require ample amounts of sunlight. With these three elements, these trees can survive for a long time and grow to unparalleled heights.

Amazing Views

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Redwood National ParkFog in Redwood National ParkRockefeller Forest, Humboldt Redwoods State ParkRoute 199, Jedediah Smith State Park Stout Memorial Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park | Source
Fog in Redwood National Park
Fog in Redwood National Park | Source
Rockefeller Forest, Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Rockefeller Forest, Humboldt Redwoods State Park | Source
Route 199, Jedediah Smith State Park
Route 199, Jedediah Smith State Park | Source
Stout Memorial Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Stout Memorial Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park | Source

Natural survivors

The redwood has two natural enemies: wind and fire. These two together can create devastating forest fires. But nature has made them truly resilient. With barks as thick as a foot, it really takes more to drive them to extinction. We can add a third to this list – humans. Unfortunately, this third enemy poses as the greatest threat.

Another fascinating fact about redwood is their ability to repel insects that can affect the health and growth of other trees. Having special chemicals in their system, they can easily repel ants, termites and other insects.

The redwood trees are truly resilient even when they fall, they will continue to grow and proliferate. As much as 80% of trees in protected forests grow this way. Surprisingly, only 20% of new trees come from seeds. Another way for these majestic trees to survive is through growing lateral root systems during floods. In one instance, one tree had seven lateral root systems indicating it survived 7 floods!

Nature has made sequoias strong and resilient. They’ve been here long before we set foot on earth. Chances are they will remain here long after we are gone. But this can only hold true if we protect them and preserve them. Many redwood trees have withstood numerous natural disasters, 2 world wars and a host of other events through out history. If these trees could talk, what would they say about humans who just barely inhabited the earth?


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