|Natural range of the California members of the subfamily |
red - Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia; also known as giant redwood, Sierra redwood, Sierran redwood, Wellingtonia or simply big tree—a nickname also used by
The etymology of the genus name has been presumed—initially in The Yosemite Book by
Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive individual trees in the world. They grow to an average height of 50–85 m (164–279 ft) with trunk diameters ranging from 6–8 m (20–26 ft). Record trees have been measured at 94.8 m (311 ft) tall. Trunk diameters of 17 m (56 ft) have been claimed via research figures taken out of context. The specimen known to have the greatest
The oldest known giant sequoia is 3,200-3,266 years old based on
The giant sequoia regenerates by
Trees may produce sprouts from their stumps subsequent to injury, until about 20 years old; however, shoots do not form on the stumps of mature trees as they do on coast redwoods. Giant sequoias of all ages may sprout from their
A large tree may have as many as 11,000 cones. Cone production is greatest in the upper portion of the canopy. A mature giant sequoia disperses an estimated 300–400 thousand seeds annually. The winged seeds may fly as far as 180 m (590 ft) from the parent tree.
Lower branches die readily from being shaded, but trees younger than 100 years retain most of their dead branches. Trunks of mature trees in groves are generally free of branches to a height of 20–50 m (70–160 ft), but solitary trees retain lower branches.