Monday, November 24, 2008

Really Giant Sequoia week - the Sentinel Tree

This week I'm going to provide - in addition to a few other posts - something a little different. This week will be Giant Sequoia week. California's Giant Sequoias, Sequoiadendron giganteum, are the largest living things on earth. Due to the small number of wild Sequoias, their girth, age and recognisability many of the largest have names and other distinguishing features - this week we'll run down the top 5 most massive Sequoias. Unfortunately we didn't make it to one of the big 5 - The Washington tree at 254.7 feet high, 101.1 feet in circumference and 47,850 cubic feet in volume is probably the third largest of all - it has decreased in size having lost a big chunk in 2005. Also unfortunately, due to the scale and habitat of these monsters some of the photos aren't brilliant. Accordingly here's a nice photo of a beautiful but average Sequoia, the Sentinel Tree as a stand in for Washington:


By way of comparison the Sentinel is 257 feet high but much smaller than Washington due to the slender graceful nature of its trunk. It's also perhaps as much as a couple of thousand years younger than Washington which is a very old Sequoia.


Speaking, as I was, of slender less massive trees it should be noted that a number of trees are taller but less massive than the giant sequoias, most notably their close relatives, the coastal redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens. Really big Coastal Redwoods like the named trees Hyperion, Icarus and the Stratusphere Giant may be over 100 feet taller than the largest Sequoiadendron giganteum.

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