List of trees described by Wondermondo


More about the trees

Map of described trees

General description

This category includes the largest and most unusual trees of the world.

Contents

Criteria

Giant sequoia General Sherman - largest of all trees
Largest tree in the world - General Sherman, California, United States.
Chris M., Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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.

 

Largest trees - species

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
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.

Arve Big Tree, Tasmania
Second largest eucalypt - Arve Big Tree, Australia.
puzzlement, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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.

 

Largest trees - locations

Chandelier Tree, California
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.

 

Some notes on measurements and records

Age
Growth of very old Great Basin bristlecone pines, California
Growth of very old Great Basin bristlecone pines, California.
Anauxite, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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.

Girth and diameter
Red tingle with 22.3 metre circumference, Western Australia
Red tingle with 22.3 metre circumference, Western Australia.
Amanda Slater, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Height
Highest palms in the world in Cocora Valley, Colombia
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

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
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.

 

Giant trees of the past

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.
  • Enormous coast Douglas fir in 1900, Washington
    Enormous coast Douglas fir in 1900, Washington. 9 feet diameter.
    From brochure "Seattle and the Orient"
    A Coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) cut down in 1897 at Loop's Ranch, Washington (United States) was reported to have measured 142 m in height.
  • 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.
  • Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses, Sicily
    Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses, Sicily.
    Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses - Sicily, Italy. Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.). Once the stoutest tree in world - in 1780 measured circumference was 57.9 m. Now split in three stems, still growing. Considered to be 2,000 - 4,000 years old.
  • L'Arbre du Ténéré in 1939, Niger
    L'Arbre du Ténéré in 1939, Niger. Once the loneliest tree in the world.
    L'Arbre du Ténéré once was the loneliest and most isolated tree in the world. This Acacia sp. was located in north-east Niger and there was no other tree closer than 200 kilometres from it. Tree died in 1973.

Outstanding trees

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.

Contents

Largest 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!

  1. 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.
  2. Tule Tree, Oaxaca, Mexico
    Tule Tree, Oaxaca, Mexico.
    Gengiskanhg, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
    Lost Monarch - California, United States. Largest (also stoutest) coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) in the world. Volume 1,206 m3. Height 97.8 m, diameter 7.92 m.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Arve Big Tree, Tasmania, Australia
    Arve Big Tree, Tasmania, Australia.
    TTaylor, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
    Arve Big Tree - Tasmania, Australia. Second largest eucalypt and the largest mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell.) in the world. Volume 360.1 m3, height 87 m, diameter 5.44 m.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Gothmog - Tasmania, Australia. Largest Australian oak (Eucalyptus obliqua L'Hér.). Volume 337 m3. 53 m high, diameter 5.37 m.
  10. 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.
  11. Tāne Mahuta, Northland, New Zealand
    Largest kauri - Tāne Mahuta, Northland, New Zealand.
    Phillip Capper, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
    Dorrington sugar pine - California, United States. Largest sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Douglas). Volume 255 m3, diameter 3.53 m, height 66.1 m.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

10 tallest trees of the world

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Doerner Fir, Oregon, United States
    Doerner Fir, Oregon, United States.
    US Bureau of Land Management, public domain.
    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.
  4. Raven's Tower - California, United States. Reportedly tallest Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong) Carr.), 96.9 m high.
  5. 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.
  6. Tallest Giant Sequoia - Redwood Mountain Grove, California, United States. Tallest giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.)), 94.9 m high.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. White Knight - Tasmania, Australia. Highest manna gum (Eucalyptus viminalis). 89 m high, diameter 3.30 m (girth 10.0 m), volume 180 m3.
  10. 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.

10 stoutest trees of the world

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Boole Tree, California, United States
    Boole Tree, California, United States.
    Bradluke22, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
    Boole Tree - California, United States. Giant sequoia (S. giganteum (Lindl.)), has the largest girth. Height 81.9 m, girth 34.8 m, volume 1,244 m3.
  5. Moreton Bay Fig in Bellingen - Australia, New South Wales. (Ficus macrophylla Desf. ex Pers.), girth 29 m, 50 m high.
  6. Tnjri (Skhtorashen Tree) - Azerbaijan, Yukhari-Karabakh. Giant Platanus orientalis tree, more than 2,000 years old, with a circumference of 27 m, 54 m tall.
  7. 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.
  8. Kamou no Ohkusu - Japan, Kagoshima. Camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J.Presl.) with a circumference of 24.2 m at the height of some 3 m, at lower height tree becomes much larger. Tree is some 30 m high, with estimated age of 1,5 - 3 thousand years.
  9. 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.
  10. Red Tingle in Walpole - Western Australia, Australia. Stoutest red tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii), girth 22.3 m, 30 m high.

Oldest trees of the world

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.

Rarest trees of the world

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.

Some other notable trees of the world

Trees ordered by alphabetic order of countries.


Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 4 May 2010 Gatis Pāvils

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