Wonder

Hyperion (tree)

WorldBlue  In short

Some people know taller coast redwoods but the tallest announced tree of the world currently is Hyperion which in 2017 was 115.85 m tall. (2)

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GPS coordinates
41.2050 N 124.02 W (just a general location, exact location is not shown)
Location, address
North America, United States, California, Humboldt County, Redwood National Park. Exact location not disclosed.
Trees, Biological extremes
Species
Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.)
Height
115.85 m (2017)
Diameter
4.84 m (2015)
Volume
502 m3 (?)
UNESCO World Heritage status
Part of “Redwood National and State Parks”, 1980, No.134.

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Tallest tree species

Hyperion, California
Hyperion / © Mario Vaden.

We have little doubt that coast redwood is the tallest tree species on Earth now. This might be a lucky (for coast redwood) coincidence – in recent past, there were coast Douglas firs (in the United States and Canada) and eucalypti (in Australia) of comparable height and possibly higher, but these trees were ruthlessly cut. Nowadays we know about many hundreds of coast redwoods exceeding the height of 100 m… and only one tree of other species – yellow meranti in Sabah exceeds the height of 100 m.

Recent discovery

The year 2006 was lucky – there were discovered three trees taller than the former world record holder – Stratosphere Giant (113.11 m tall in late 2009). The most successful find was on August 25 when naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor found the first known living tree on Earth exceeding 115 m height – its height then was 115.72 m. Hyperion tree is in good shape and seems still to be growing up although measurements from 2017 are slightly more impressive – height is 115.85 m (380.08 ft) and diameter – 4.84 m (15.87 ft) (2).

Secret location

Traditionally the exact locations of this and many other tall trees (as well as caves and many other valuable natural landmarks) in the Western United States are not disclosed. This is done to avoid the temptation to “develop” this part of the national park or simply – to prevent disturbance to the forest by the crowds of excited nature lovers wading towards the tree. It is only known that it takes an arduous walk to reach this remote location in Redwood National Park.

Although part of the scientific community is not happy with this stance (location of the tree is not disclosed even in scientific publications), there are many sad cases when sensitive information from deeply scientific publications easily becomes VERY public. But, of course, heated debates about ethics in science and personal intrigues form the prosaic side in the lives of scientists. The magnificent Hyperion stands tall above this.

Until 2013 there were few traces of human activity around the (then) world’s tallest known tree. But on the visit from 2015 and later, there was noticed that more people have found this tree. The secret to a large extent still holds even after 13 years since the discovery, but, it seems, more and more people know the path to the tree.

There exist taller trees

It is known that in 2013 there was discovered even taller coast redwood and later – taller. The height of record trees is approaching 119 m!!! But currently, these trees are not announced to the public (2). An interesting fact is that these trees were not “noticed” by the LiDAR equipment – although measurements were made in these locations. Discovery was made with other, unannounced methods.

 

References

  1. Pictures of Hyperion on Landmarktrees.com, 17 August 2010, was accessed on December 18, 2010
  2. Hyperion Coast Redwood, Coast Redwood Adventures, last accessed on 3 December 2019. (images!)

Hyperion tree is included in the following list:

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Portrays the anatomy and growth of the redwood, describes the plants and animals that share its habitat and looks at the history of redwood logging.

Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History


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