Hyperion (tree)

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Hyperion, California
Hyperion / © Mario Vaden.
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)

Tallest tree species

We have little doubt that coast redwood is the tallest tree species on Earth now. This might be 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

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.

Hyperion tree is included in the following list:

10 tallest trees in the world

10 tallest trees in the world

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 on the map (the exact location is not shown!)

Travelers' Map is loading...
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Location, GPS coordinates: 41.2050 N 124.02 W (just a general location, exact location not shown)
Categories: Trees, Biological extremes
Values: Biology
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Where is located? North America, United States, California, Humboldt County, Redwood National Park. Exact location not disclosed.
UNESCO World Heritage status: Part of "Redwood National and State Parks", 1980, No.134.
Species: Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.)
Height: 115.85 m (2017)
Diameter: 4.84 m (2015)
Volume: 502 m3 (?)

Video of Hyperion – climbing the tree in 2006!


Peter Wall, December 2006

Landmarks of California

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Although California is one of states in the United States of America, Americans often compare it to a separate country, e.g. “if California would be a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world”. We can go on with this comparison – California has more landmarks and attractions than many large countries of the world.

Trees

Árbol del Tule, another aspect of trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form
Árbol del Tule, another aspect of trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form / cezzie901, / CC BY 2.0
Category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees of the the world. 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.

Recommended books

Redwoods: The World’s Largest Trees


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


Coast Redwood is the first contemporary illustrated book to focus exclusively on the natural and cultural history of the world’s tallest tree. This handsome volume, updated and revised in 2011, contains 230 color images and 100 black and white historic photos and describes the origins, distribution, life history, ecology, and wildlife associated with coast redwood.

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