Current list is an attempt to list 10 tallest known species of trees in the world.

Wondermondo though believes: if people would know everything about Earth, this list would look different - most likely with more species of trees from tropics represented.

What are the limits of the height of trees?

Over the last years scientists of the world have published rather many research papers about the limits of maximum tree height.

The limiting factor most likely is the ability of tree to pump the sap up to the top. Peripheral branches of trees often are suffering from xylem embolism when air is blocking the vessels. Research shows that due to this factor the maximum possible height of tree is between 109 - 138 m (1). At big height the walls of sap vessels become thicker and ducts - more narrow until they are too narrow to let through the water.

Further research shows that conifers in general have somewhat larger pores between water-conducting cells than hardwood - due to this conifers tend to be taller than hardwood trees.

Most likely this is not the only reason limiting the height of trees - in very wet climate tops of the trees might get the water directly from the precipitation - but they still do not grow higher.

Currently the highest known tree in the world is coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) in United States, California. It is 115.61 m high. But there are credible statements about taller trees in recent past.

References

  1. Jean-Christophe Domec, Barbara Lachenbruch, Frederick C. Meinzer, David R. Woodruff, Jeffrey M. Warren, and Katherine A. McCulloh, Maximum height in a conifer is associated with conflicting requirements for xylem design, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. August 11, 2008. Accessed 18.12.10.
  2. Elizabeth Pennisi, The Sky Is Not the Limit, Science. December 23, 2005. Accessed 18.12.10.
  3. George W. Koch, Stephen C. Sillett, Gregory M. Jennings & Stephen D. Davis, The limits to tree height. Nature. April 22, 2004. Accessed 19.12.10.

Map of 10 locations with the tallest trees in the world


If "lost", refresh the page to see all 10 locations!

All these monuments belong to the category of Trees. One can see high concentration of the tallest trees of the world in western coast of United States (5 species) and Tasmania (3 species).


10 tallest tree species of the world

Species are listed by the height of tallest existing specimens (except for klinki pine (Araucaria hunsteinii) which simply is not measured nowadays but SHOULD be tall).

1. Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) - Hyperion

115.61 m

United States, California

Current tallest tree discovered in 2006, latest measurement from late 2009.

There are no doubts that coast redwood is the tallest tree species on Earth. This might be lucky (for coast redwood) coincidence - in recent past there were coast Douglas firs (in United States and Canada) and eucalypts (in Australia) of comparable height and possibly higher, but these trees were ruthlessly cut. Nowadays there are known many hundreds of coast redwoods exceeding the height of 100m... and no trees of other species exceeding this height.

Tallest and largest known tree was Lindsey Creek tree (Fieldbrook, California), uprooted by storm in 1905. This tree was 118.9 m tall, diameter could reach 11.6 m.

See images of Hyperion at www.landmarktrees.com!

2. Mountain ash or swamp gum (Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell.) - Centurion

99.8 m

Australia, Tasmania

Current tallest tree discovered in August 2008.

It is lucky coincidence that Centurion has survived. Wildfires in 1934 spared just a few older trees in this area and passed on west side. In 1950 there was logging nearby and at that time this giant tree would not be spared. In 1966 and 1967 the forest close nearby was deliberately burned for later regeneration, in 1967 this turned into furious, devastating fires. This time fire passed the tree on east side.

This tree has good hopes to exceed 100 metre height. Tree climbers have reported that crown is healthy and is respouting from broken top, thus some time ago Centurion was some 103 metres high. Thus it is most likely candidate also for historical tallest known tree with reliable measurement results.

See images of this tree in the Website of Institute for Redwood Ecology!

Doerner Fir, Oregon, United States
Doerner Fir, Oregon.
US Bureau of Land Management, public domain.

3. Coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) - Doerner Fir

99.4 m

United States, Oregon

Current tallest tree discovered in 1989, last measured after 2008.

It is possible that the tallest tree of the world up to the end of 19th century was coast Douglas fir - in 1897 there was cut reportedly 142m tall fir in Loup's Ranch, Washington state. Nowadays the tallest known coast Douglas fir is 99.4 m tall, the age of this tree is approximately 450 - 500 years. Top of this tree is dry and it gradually gets lower.

Reliable historical record holder is 119.8m tall Mineral Tree, with a diameter of 4.6 m. It is highly possible that coast Douglas fir in recent past was the tallest tree in the world.

4. Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong) Carr.) - Raven's Tower

96.9 m

United States, California

Current tallest tree discovered in 2001, last measured in 2007.

Exact location of this enormous tree is not diclosed but it is known that the tree is located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This park was established in 1920ies in order to protect redwood forests with extremely tall and large trees whose growth has been facilitated by the very frequent fogs.

Tree has lively top, seems to be growing and might be taller by now.

See images of this tree in the Website of Institute for Redwood Ecology!

5. Philippine rosewood (Petersianthus quadrialatus Merr.) - Barangay Alegria Toog

96.9 m?

Philippines, Agusan del Sur

Current tallest tree known since older times, last measured in autumn 2010.

Few know that one of the highest trees of the world is located in Philippines. Near national highway, in the outskirts of San Francisco town there is towering a tall Philippine Rosevood - or as locals call it - toog tree.

In autumn 2010 the people of Alegria decided to organize an extravagant event - to have the highest Christmas tree in Philippines and most likely - in the whole world. In order to record this achievement, there was needed exact measurement. The measured height of the tree was 96.9 m. It is though possible that the decoration on the top of the tree was included and the tree is somewhat lower.

There are not known earlier taller trees of this species and it is clear that other Philippine rosewoods need to be researched to determine maximum height.

See images of this tree in the galleries of Jojie Alcantara!

6. Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.) - Tallest Giant Sequoia

94.9 m

United States, California

Current tallest tree discovered in 1998, last measured in July 2005.

Giant sequoias by far are the largest trees of the world by wood volume. But they belong also to the highest trees of the world reaching well over 90 m height.

The tallest sequoia grows in Redwood Mountain Grove and has not received any specific name. It's exact location is not given in the available works.

There is information about giant sequoias reaching height up to 97.8 m.

See images of current tallest sequoia in the Website of Institute for Redwood Ecology!

7. Manna gum or white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis Labill.) - White Knight

91.3 m

Australia, Tasmania

Current tallest tree discovered in 1970ies.

Manna gum is common, for most part comparatively small tree. It came as a surprise when in 1970ies loggers discovered nearly 90 m tall trees of this species in northeast part of Tasmania. To protect them in 1977 there was created Evercreech Forest Reserve. Now the tree has exceeded 90 m height.

See images of this tree in the Tasmanian Plants website by David Tng!

8. Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus Labill.) - Neeminah Loggorale Meena

90.7 m

Australia, Tasmania

Tasmanian blue gum is popular plantation tree as it is well suited for Mediterranean climate and also tropics, it grows fast and serves as a good material for pulp and eucalypt oil. Current record holder is lower than the tallest known trees of this species - there have existed up to 101m tall Tasmanian blue gums.

9. Noble fir (Abies procera Rehder 1940) - Noble Fir in Goat Marsh

89.9 m

United States, Washington

Noble firs are beautiful, impressive trees - the largest firs. It is possible that highest noble firs fairly recently exceeded 100m height but today the highest tree of this species grows at the Goat Marsh - in 1989 it was 89.9 m tall. Unfortunately this tree is dead by now and maybe even is not standing anymore.

Tallest known tree of this species was 99 m tall. Unfortunately it was destroyed in eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

10. Klinki pine (Araucaria hunsteinii (K.Schumann 1889)) - Klinki in Bulolo Valley

88.9 m (?)

Papua New Guinea, Morobe Province


The tallest tree was measured in 1941 and other trees of comparative height have not been measured since then.

But there is little dooubt that klinki pine is the tallest of all araucarias and one of the tallest trees in the world. Average diameter of klinki in oldgrowth stands is 200 cm and more! Trees in such stands are at least 55 m tall, often exceeding 70 m height.

May be it is not scientifically correct to place klinki pine in this list as there is not scientifically verified existing tree of such height. This is rather an attempt to urge people to find it out - how tall this beautiful araucaria is nowadays.


Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 26 December 2010, 29 June 2014 Gatis Pāvils

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