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Tree Species Known to Exceed 300 Feet (90 Meters) in Height

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Giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park, California, USA
Credit: Public domain photo.

These giant sequoia trees are located in Sequoia National Park, in California, USA. Notice that the tree on the right has a large scar from a fire. Fires typically do not kill the trees, but do remove competing thin-barked species. Fires also aid giant sequoia regeneration.[1]

Six tree species are known that can top 300 feet (90 meters)

The tallest trees in the world are found in two places in the world. The first is western North America, especially in the US state of California. The second is in southeastern Australia, including across the Bass Strait on the island of Tasmania.[2]

The tallest tree ever measured anywhere else in the world is a tropical species found in Indonesia, on the island of Borneo. It measured 290 feet (88 meters) in height.[2] It’s certainly possible that there are species in the world’s rainforests that can exceed 300 feet (90 meters), that have yet to be discovered – and hopefully they will be discovered before what’s left of our planet’s rainforests is destroyed.

Of the forests that are known to have giant trees, many have been decimated by human activity. One example is the giant coastal redwoods of California, of which only 5% of the original old growth forests remain.[3] It’s unfortunate that someday our species will likely have to tell our offspring about the giant trees that once were, and which we made extinct.

#1 - Giant coastal redwoods

Giant coastal redwoods in Redwoods State Park, California, USA
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Aullie_Caulfield, CC BY 2.0.

Within redwood forests you can look up and will typically not be able to see the tops of the trees, which can be more than 300 feet (90 meters) above the forest floor.[3]

The tallest known stands at 380 feet (116 meters) in height. They are found along the coast of western North America from central California to southwestern Oregon.[3] The redwood forests are my absolute favorite place on Earth.

#2 - Coast Douglas-fir

Coast douglas-fir trees, with Oregon's Mount Jefferson in the background
Credit: Wikipedia, jsayre64, CC BY-SA 3.0.

One of the tallest tree species on Earth, they are common throughout the volcanic Cascades Mountain Range.[4] Mount Jefferson in the background of this photo is a geologically active stratovolcano in Oregon.[5]

The tallest known tree stands 327 feet (100 meters) in height. They are located in the mountainous regions of western North America from British Columbia southward through Washington, Oregon, and to about the middle of California.[4]

#3 - Mountain ash eucalyptus

Mountain ash eucalyptus trees in Sherbrooke Forest, Victoria, Australia
Credit: Public domain photo.

Sherbrooke Forest is part of Dandenong Ranges National Park in the state of Victoria, Australia.[7]

This species has been measured at 327 feet (100 meters) in height, a tie with the coast Douglas-fir. They are found in southeastern Australia and the island of Tasmania. They are the tallest flowering plant on Earth.[6]

#4 - Sitka spruce

Sitka spruce tree
Credit: Wikipedia, Wsiegmund, CC BY 2.5.

This is the largest species of spruce in the world.[8]

The tallest ever measured stands 315 feet (96 meters) high. They are located along the coast of western North America from Northern California up to the southeastern extension of Alaska.[8]

#5 - Giant sequoia

The General Sherman, a giant sequoia and the most massive tree on Earth
Credit: Public domain photo.

Although not the tallest giant sequoia, at 275 feet (84 meters) in height, the General Sherman tree in the photo is the most massive tree on Earth.[9]

I can confirm that these trees are absolutely breathtaking to behold. These are the world’s most massive (heaviest) trees. The tallest known stands 311 feet (95 meters) tall. They are found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.[9]

#6 - Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus

Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus
Credit: Wikipedia, Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0.

Tasmanian blue gum eucalpytus, one of the tallest trees on Earth.[10]

The tallest known at the present time stands at 297 feet (91 meters). They are located in southeastern Australia and the island of Tasmania.[10]

Taller individual trees existed in the past

Stump of the Mark Twain Tree, a giant sequoia felled in 1891
Credit: Public domain photo.

This is the stump of the Mark Twain Tree, in Kings Canyon National Park, in California, USA. This is a giant sequoia that was unfortunately felled in 1891. It was found (by counting the rings) to have been 1,350 years old.[11] Some of the giant sequoias cut down during the 19th and 20th centuries were as large or larger than the largest giant sequoias that stand today.[9]

Each of these tree species listed is known to have had individuals that were taller in the past than any that are currently standing – which is why the Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus is included on this list.[2][10]

Now you know where to go if you want to see the world’s tallest trees, and as resident of California for 36 years, I can assure you that it is very much worth it. You may find as I have that these forests are the absolute best place on Earth to be.

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Comments

Jul 8, 2016 7:07am
LeighGoessl
I would love, love to see these amazing trees out in California someday. Enjoyed reading about these and the others I was not familiar with, great article. (That stump is amazing!)

Looking at the photo Coast Douglas-fir it reminded me of a cellphone tower built near my house - I think the builders must have been trying to model this tree. While it's clearly not a tree, they did seem to work a bit harder to try to fit it into the landscape unlike most of the towers in my area.
Aug 20, 2016 10:06am
HLesley
A great article about some great trees! The California redwoods are amazing. I also feel privileged to live in an area where we have Douglas firs and sitka spruce.
Aug 31, 2016 7:28am
xamuh
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Aug 31, 2016 7:29am
xamuh
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Aug 31, 2016 5:01pm
TanoCalvenoa
I deleted two spam comments.
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Bibliography

  1. "Sequoiadendron giganteum." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  2. "List of superlative trees." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  3. "Coast Redwoods." Save the Redwoods. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  4. "Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  5. "Jefferson." Global Volcanism Program. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  6. "Eucalyptus regnans." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  7. "Dandenong Ranges National Park." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  8. "Picea sitchensis." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  9. "Sequoiadendron giganteum." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  10. "Eucalyptus globulus." Wikipedia. 7/07/2016 <Web >
  11. "Big Stump Trail, Kings Canyon National Park." American Southwest. 7/07/2016 <Web >

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