More about the trees
Map of described trees
This category includes the largest and most unusual trees of the world.
- Largest trees - species
- Largest trees - locations
- Some notes on measurements and records
- Giant trees of the past
Trees for most part are perennial woody plants who have one main trunk and considerable size. There is no minimum size for a tree agreed and imagination is applied to some degree when distinguishing between shrubs and trees.
Here are listed trees of species which exceed 85 m height and/or 14 m girth measured at 1.3 - 1.4 m height.
Out of 10 existing plant divisions 6 divisions contain trees.
Total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess - may be 10,000 and may be 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including the Western Europe.
Giant sequoia - General Grant, California, United States. Photo by Miguel Vieira, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
The largest trees belong to a comparatively small division - conifers (Pinophyta). Approximately half of the large and outstanding trees listed here are conifers. Conifers are the highest, largest and oldest trees in the world, conifer is also the second stoutest tree in the world.
Most impressive conifers and trees in general are two species of subfamily Sequoioideae belonging to Cupress family (Cupressaceae): giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.) and coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.).
Both trees grow along the western coast of United States. Giant sequoia is the largest tree on Earth by volume, fifth largest by the height and third stoutest. Coast redwood is second largest by the volume, the highest tree on Earth and fourth stoutest.
Several more conifers have exceptional size - such as Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum Ten., 1853) - third largest by the volume and second stoutest in the world, also coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) - seventh largest by the volume, third tallest and twenty third stoutest.
Next group of exceptionally large trees belongs to flower plants - these are eucalypts (Eucalyptus) belonging to myrtle family (Myrtaceae). Out of more than 700 species in this genus five exceed height of 85 metres, five exceed trunk volume of 200 m3 and eight exceed girth of 14 metres.
Stoutest tree of the world is African Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.).
It seems that there is not a very high probability that some other species of trees can take over the record for volume, height or stoutness. But further investigations can change the list of the ten largest trees in each category significantly.
Chandelier Tree, California. Photo: Bobak Ha'Eri, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-2.5.
Nowadays there are two regions in the world with pronounced tree gigantism - coastal California, Washington and Oregon (United States) and Tasmania (Australia).
Out of ten records regarding the trunk volume, height and stoutness in California, Washington and Oregon there are registered 9 records and in Tasmania - 8. This can be explained by the fact that both these regions of world really have giant trees and these magnificent monuments of nature have rised large interest. Thus many enthusiasts have searched other champion trees in these regions and performed exact measurements to prove their findings.
Other champion trees are located in diverse regions of the world - two in Madagascar, one in South Africa, one in Mexico, and so forth.
Author recognises that lists here are far from being complete and here might be missing numerous great trees already well known in their respective localities.
I am glad to announce that trees increasingly rare are "measured" by their imaginary age. It was not that long ago that tourist booklets announced that some tree is that and that many thousand years old and local people were virtually ready to fight to prove that their oak or cypress is exactly that old. Scientific justification? None! Just hundreds of tourist booklets and even some people with scientific degree repeating this mysterious figure once and again.
Happily more and more people realise that the size of the tree tells little about its age. Nowadays naming such imaginary age of the tree is rather a sign of provinciality.
In practice the age of the tree can be determined just in some cases, when the tree rings are well visible and the core of the tree is not hollowed, or when the date of tree planting is known with confidence.
Nowadays more and more attention is turned to measurable values - volume of trunk, height, diameter, girth (also going out of trend), crown projection.
Also here mistakes and uncertainties are common.
Very often the girth is mingled with the diameter in favour of "increasing" the tree. Very often the tree is measured at soil level - of course, thus getting pretty impressive number. In such cases the height of measurement is not mentioned - thus, if you hear about English oak with 25 metres girth without further explanations - most likely it is measured at soil level and has a girth of some 9 - 10 metres at 1.3 metre height.
Measurement should be made at the narrowest place between the soil and 1.3 - 1.4 metres height, athwart to the tree stem. If the tree stands on slope - measurement is made uphill.
Large trees often have large buttresses and then a girth includes lots of empty air, not tree. Due to this more correct figure is medium diameter of the tree. Of course, it takes some effort to calculate it.
Highest palms in the world in Cocora Valley, Colombia. Photo by Diego Andrés Alvarez Marín, Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA-3.0
Height of the trees is hard to measure. For most part it is done by climbing the tree and measuring it. Being at shaky summit of giant tree at the height of 20-floor building is not for everyone - in fact very few in the world do this. Often the last metres of summit are not measured - it is too risky - and are not included in the height of tree.
Another approach is using modern remote sensing technologies, such as LIDAR. Thus, for example, second tallest known species of trees in world - mountain ash or swamp gum named Centurion in Tasmania - was found and measured. This tree is 99.6 metres high - second highest tree species in the world.
We can be sure that there are numerous very high trees in the world waiting to be discovered. Very tall trees grow in ravines and deep valleys, well protected from winds. Thus several tree enthusiasts from Alaska Pacific University found 8 species of trees exceeding 80 metre height in an area of 2 km2 in Sarawak, Malaysia in January - February 2007.
Volume seems to be the best value to measure the size of a tree. But it pretty hard to calculate and there is a lot of ways to do it wrong. The volume of the main trunk is measured and compared most often.
Great Banyan, India. Main trunk has died but thousands of aerial roots remain.
murky / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
To do this there is determined diameter of the tree at different heights, height of the tree and then calculated the volume. Roots and branches are not included, hollows are included.
This is fairly easy to do for many conifers who have one top. Measuring the volume for many other trees which have complex canopy might be too hard.
Over the last centuries people have been eager to cut forest and especially - large trees. None has doubts that in this way there have been lost many largest trees of the world. Unfortunately even at the beginning of 20th century these measurements in most cases were of dubious quality and most of data are not trustable.
Below are listed some of the interesting and large trees from the recent past. Don't trust too much some of the figures:
- Lindsey creek tree is the largest known single organism in world. This coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) was uprooted by a storm in 1905. Trunk volume of this tree was at least 2,550 m3.
- The Fergusson Tree (Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell.) in Victoria, Australia was 132.6 m high. It was cut down in 1871 or 1872. It is possible that the measurement was not exact. Exactly measured maximumt height for eucalypts is 114.3 m (Cornthwaite Tree, Victoria, Australia). Unfortunately this tree was also felled in 1881.
- God's Valley Spruce (Oregon, United States) had enormous trunk - its diametre was 7.32 m.
- There are pictures of western red cedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D.Don) with a diameter up to 6.71 m.
- Charles Darwin reports that he found a specimen of alerce Fitzroya cupressoides (I.M.Johnst.) in Chile with a diameter 12.6 m (circumference circa 39.6 m). This is unusual as the largest specimens of this beautiful tree are much smaller nowadays - it seems possible that here is confused girth and diameter. But there has been proven that Fitzroya can live up to 3,622 years long making it the second oldest tree species.
Here are selected some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees of the the world. Circumference and diameter, if not stated otherwise, is measured at the narrowest place of trunk up to the 1.3 - 1.4 m height.
- Largest trees of the world
- 10 tallest trees of the world
- 10 stoutest trees of the world
- Oldest trees of the world
- Rarest trees of the world
- Some other notable trees of the world
Trees arranged by the main trunk volume records of species - selected species with volume exceeding 200 m3. Selected more or less convincing measurements of existing trees.
Please note! This list is far from final truth as there might be numerous other tree species with volume above 200 m3!
- General Sherman - California, United States. Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.), the largest tree of the world by volume. Volume 1,487 m3. Height 83.8 m, girth 33.0 m. Believed to be 2,300 - 2,700 years old.
Tule Tree, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Gengiskanhg, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
- Árbol del Tule - Oaxaca, Mexico. Besides the incredible girth this Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum Ten., 1853) has volume 750 m3. Girth 36.2 m, diameter 11.62 m, height 35.4 m. Age estimated to be 1,400 - 1,600 years. Sacred Zapotec tree.
- Quinault Lake Red Cedar - Washington, United States. Largest specimen in species (Thuja plicata Donn ex D.Don). Volume 500 m3, including the hollowed middle. 55 m high, diameter 6.04 m.
- Rullah Longatyle (Strong Girl) - Tasmania, Australia. The largest eucalypt and largest Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus Labill.) in the world. Volume 368 m3). Height 82.3 m, diameter 5.54 m.
Arve Big Tree, Tasmania, Australia.
TTaylor, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
- Red Creek Fir - British Columbia, Canada. Largest coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) in the world. Trunk volume 349 m3, height 73.8 m, diameter 4.23 m.
- Queets River Spruce - Washington, United States. Largest Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis ((Bongard) Carr.) in the world. Volume 337 m3. 75.6 m high, diameter 4.55 m.
- Gothmog - Tasmania, Australia. Largest Australian oak (Eucalyptus obliqua L'Hér.). Volume 337 m3. 53 m high, diameter 5.37 m.
- Styx Valley Alpine Ash - Tasmania, Australia. Largest alpine ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis R.T.Baker). Volume 286 m3, diameter 5.41 m, height 72.0 m.
- Tāne Mahuta - Northland, New Zealand. Largest contemporary kauri (Agathis australis (D.Don) Loudon), volume 255 m3. Girth 13.77 m, height 45.2 m. Reports of larger trees in the forest.
- Devil's Canyon Colossus - California, United States. Largest incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens ((Torrey) Florin), volume 223 m3. 50.3 m high, diameter 3.78 m.
- Whitelaw Tree - Victoria, Australia. Largest (and also stoutest) shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens H.Deane & Maiden). 57.5 m high, girth 14.9 m, volume 200 m3.
More about tallest trees.
Trees arranged by the height records of species - selected species with known height over 85 metres. Selected more or less convincing measurements of existing trees.
Please note! This list is far from final truth as there might be numerous other tree species with height above 85 m!
- Hyperion - California, United States. Tallest known tree in world, coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.). 115.61 m high, diameter 4.84 m. Contains 502 m3 of wood. In total more than 500 coast redwoods exceed height of 103 m.
- Centurion - Tasmania, Australia. Highest known mountain ash and eucalypt (Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell.) in the world. Height 99.6 m, diameter 4.05 m (girth 12.73 m), volume 268 m3. Has been at least 103 m tall but the top is broken.
- Doerner Fir (Brummet Fir) - Oregon, United States. Tallest coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) in the world. Height 99.4 m, diameter 3.54 m, volume 237 m3. Some time ago was 100.3 m high.
- Raven's Tower - California, United States. Reportedly tallest Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong) Carr.), 96.9 m high.
- Barangay Alegria Toog - Agusan del Sur, Philippines. Tallest known Philippine rosewood (Petersianthus quadrialatus Merr.), 96.9 m high or a bit lower, with 3,66 m diameter at its base. Sacred tree to Manobo people.
- Tallest Giant Sequoia - Redwood Mountain Grove, California, United States. Tallest giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.)), 94.9 m high.
- Neeminah Loggorale Meena - Tasmania, Australia. Highest Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus Labill.). Height 90.7 m, diameter 3.88 m, girth 12.2 m. There are claims that other specimens of species reached up to 101 m height.
- Noble fir in Goat Marsh - Washington, United States. Highest known specimen in species (Abies procera Rehder 1940), height 89.9 m. Tree is dead now.
- White Knight - Tasmania, Australia. Highest manna gum (Eucalyptus viminalis). 89 m high, diameter 3.30 m (girth 10.0 m), volume 180 m3.
- Klinki in Bulolo Valley - Morobe, Papua New Guinea. Reported (but not verified) 88.9 m high specimen of Klinki Araucaria hunsteinii (K.Schumann 1889) in 1941. These trees are very tall and there is high probability to discover very tall specimens today as well.
More about stoutest trees.
Trees arranged by the diameter records of species. As in many countries there is measured girth - here put girth and diameter together, making the ranking in this list somewhat less credible - but reader can be sure that any of the trees listed here is very impressive! Selected more or less convincing measurements of existing trees.
Please note! This list is far from final truth as there might be numerous other tree species with girth above 14 m!
- Glencoe Baobab - Limpopo Province, South Africa. Up to recent time - the stoutest baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) and stoutest tree in world. Diameter was 15.9 m, height 17 m. In November 2009 split into two parts.
- Balete tree in Maria Aurora (Millenium Tree) - Aurora, Philippines. Balete (Ficus balete Merr.) - a species closely related to banyan. Stem of this tree consists of multiple smaller stems and aerial roots and is hard to measure - but the diameter is 10 - 15m. Height of this giant tree is 60 - 65 m.
- Árbol del Tule - Oaxaca, Mexico. One of the stoutest trees on Earth, Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum Ten., 1853). Girth 36.2 m, diameter 11.62 m, height 35.4 m. Discounting the buttresses of trunk the diameter - 9.38 m. Volume 750 m3. Age estimated to be 1,400 - 1,600 years. Sacred Zapotec tree.
- Lost Monarch - California, United States. Stoutest (also largest) coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) in the world. Diameter 7.92 m. Volume 1,206 m3, Height 97.8 m.
- Ampanihy baobab - Atsimo-Andrefana, Madagascar. Stoutest baobab Adansonia za (Baill.), girth 23 m (plaque at the tree says that 27 m). Largest tree in Madagascar.
- Red Tingle in Walpole - Western Australia, Australia. Stoutest red tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii), girth 22.3 m, 30 m high.
- Baobabs of Mangoky Valley - Haute Matsiatra, Madagascar. Possibly the stoutest Grandidier's baobabs Adansonia grandidieri Baillon in the world, diametre up to 7 metres.
- Kita Kanegasawa - Aomori Prefecture, Japan. Largest ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba L.) in Japan, girth 22 m, height 40 m, considered to be over 1,000 years old, with very large chichi (stalactite like wood formations).
- Sweet chestnut in Nucifori - Sicily, Italy. This tree (Castanea sativa Mill.) has circumference 22 m - but rather consists of several enormous trunks dividing close to level of soil. 22 m high.
This list includes some of the oldest trees of the world - the ones with measured age. The ones which are announced to be thousands of years old by tourist guides and village people without any scientific justification are not shown here.
- Alerce - Chile. Oldest known living alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides I.M.Johnst.) was 3,622 years old - this tree was felled. Alerce Milenario in Monumento Alerce Costero in Chile, Los Ríos is 3,260 years old.
- Huon pine growth of Mount Read - Tasmania, Australia. Growth of genetically identical Huon pines (Lagarostrobos franklinii (Hook.f.) Quinn), stand of trees is 10,500 years old although none of trees is that old.
- Methuselah - California, United States. Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva D.K.Bailey). Oldest known individual tree in world, 4,844 years old.
- Old Tjikko - Dalarna, Sweden. The oldest living clonal tree (Picea abies (L.) H.Karst.) in the world - its root system is at least 9,550 years old, while the tree above the soil is much younger.
This list includes selected rarest trees of the world. List by far is not exhaustive and unfortunately - quickly changing, where some species disappear at all and others become very rare.
- Encephalartos woodii (Sander) - Natal, South Africa. This treelike cycad does not exist in the wild anymore. Just few male specimens were seen in late 19th century - early 20th century. Since then this plant grows in several plant nurseries.
- Pennantia baylisiana - Great Island, Three Kings Islands, New Zealand. The only known specimen of (Pennantia baylisiana (W. Oliver) Baylis) in wild.
- Dendroseris neriifolia ((Dcne.) H. & A.) - Robinson Crusoe Island, Juan Fernández archipelago, Chile. Only two specimens of this tree found in wild.
- Dendroseris gigantea - Alejandro Selkirk Island, Juan Fernández archipelago, Chile. Only one tree is found in the wild.
- Stirton's Whitebeam (Sorbus stirtoniana T. G. C. Rich.) - Montgomeryshire, Wales, United Kingdom. This tree is known only from one specimen and discovered in February 2009. Included here to show that there are discovered new tree species even in Western Europe.
- Café marron - Rodrigues. The only specimen of Ramosmania rodriguesii (Tirveng. & Verdc.) in the wild, discovered in 1980.
- Baishanzu Baishan firs - Zhejiang, China. Extremely rare species of fir (Abies beshanzuensis Wu 1976) consisting of only 3 trees.
- Encephalartos aemulans - Natal, South Africa. Just two trees 10 km away from each other, on a single hill in northern Natal.
- Bois dentelle - Mauritius. Elaeocarpus bojeri (R.E. Vaughan) represented in the wild by just two trees. Tree has beautiful bell-formed white flowers.
Trees ordered by alphabetic order of countries.
- Tree of Life - Bahrain. Approximately 400 years old mesquite (Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce) growing in a place devoid of water.
- Carmanah Giant - British Columbia, Canada. One of the largest Sitka spruces (Picea sitchensis (Bong) Carr.), 95.7 m high, diameter 3.66 m.
- Chinese Ginkgo King (Tiantan ginkgo) - Guizhou, China. Enormous Ginkgo biloba L., girth 16.8 m, height 50 m, age told to be 4,000 years.
- Wax palms of Cocora Valley - Quindío, Colombia. The highest palms Ceroxylon quindiuense (Karsten) in the world. Although the measured height is 43 metres, it is told that these extremely slender palms can reach a height of 60 m, some sources mention even 80 m! This palm grows in mountains up to 3,500 m high - this also is a record for palms.
- Starkste Ecke im Ivenack - Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Most impressive oak (Quercus robur L.) in Europe and the largest oak in Germany, 33 m high, circumference 11.25 m. The largest one in a group of 5 enormous oaks.
- The Great Banyan - Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Belongs to trees with largest canopy. This Ficus benghalensis L. is considered to be some 200 - 250 years old, area of canopy - 1.5 hectares, circumference of canopy - 1 kilometre. Height up to 25 metres, contains some 2,880 aerial roots rooted in soil.
- Sarv-e-Abarqu - Yazd, Iran. Oldest known individual tree in Asia, second oldest species of tree in world - more than 4,000 years old cypress (most likely Cupressus sempervirens L.). Age not proved. Beautiful, proportional tree.
- The Cotton Tree - Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ceiba pentandra, symbol of the city, found growing in the town centre in 1792 when here came freed slaves from United States. Girth over 12 m. Site for offering prayers for peace and prosperity.
- Baji Cypress (King Cypress) - Nyingchi, Tibet. Largest known giant cypress (Cupressus gigantea W. C. Cheng & L.K. Fu), height circa 46 - 56 m, diameter - 5.8 m, approximately 2,600 years old (not testified).
- The Chandelier Tree - California, United States. Enormous coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) with large 1.83 x 2.64 m hole carved in 1930ies - car can drive through it. Height of the tree - 96 m.
- Daisy Spruce - California, United States. Second highest Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong) Carr.), 96.6 m high.
- General Grant - California, United States. Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.)), second largest tree in the world. Height 81.5 m, girth 33.5 m, volume 1,357 m3. This beautiful tree is declared to be National Shrine, memorial to those who died in war.
- Pando - Utah, United States. Enormous clonal colony of single tree - Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.). Multiple trees covering area of 43 hectares with some 47,000 stems, all forming an single organism with a common root system. Total weight of Pando - 6,615 tons. Existence of larger clonal colonies highly possible.