The 94.1 m tall Shorea faguetiana in Danum Valley

The race to find the tallest tropical trees is on and one after another we learn about new discoveries. In November 2016 there was reported new record – in Danum Valley, Sabah was found 94.1 m tall tree – specimen of Shorea faguetiana. This wass the tallest known tree in tropics until 2019, when a Menara – a 100.8 m tall yellow meranti was found and measured nearby.

Danum Valley

Danum Valley Conservation Area was established in 1995 to protect the lush rainforest of the eastern Sabah. This protected area is 438 km² large and nearly pristine – there are no human settlements. In some parts of the area have been developed tourist facilities but most of Danum Valley is pristine rainforest with very high biological diversity. Such precious and rare inhabitants as Borneo orangutans, Müller’s Bornean gibbons, clouded leopards, mousedeer and even some Borneo elephants still are living here.

Very high is the plant diversity – here are known more than 15,000 plant species. Some of the most impressive ones are the giant trees – numerous species of Dipetrocarpus and Shorea.

This is one of the oldest forests in the world, existing in this place for more than 130 million years!

The giant Shorea faguetiana

Very tall trees in Danum Valley were discovered in 2016 and were first reported by Mr. Gregory Asner from the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University in conference "Heart of Borneo" on the 8 – 9th November.

He had the opportunity to use helicopter over the Danum Valley. Earlier laser scanning of Carnegie Airborne Observatory brought information that here are some 50 trees with a height of over 90 m. Earlier there were not known any trees in the tropics above 90 m of height.

The tallest of these newly discovered trees was 94.1 m tall, with two other trees of similar height next to it. Crown of this giant is 40.3 m in diameter.

Tree belongs to Shorea – species-rich genus with at least 138 species in Borneo island. Currently, the tree has no special name given.

An expedition by the Forest Research Centre of the Sabah Forestry Department in early 2017 confirmed the species of the tree – this is Shorea faguetiana (2).

Only some months earlier there was reported the previous record bearer of tropical trees: yellow meranti tree (Shorea faguetiana) in the nearby Maliau Basin. It is a bit more than 90 m tall.

These exciting discoveries testify: the tropical forest of Borneo is very special and unique. Unfortunately, these forests are quickly lost due to the encroachment of human activities.


  1. Mongabay, World’s tallest tropical tree discovered, along with nearly 50 other record-breakers, 10 November 2016. Accessed on December 23, 2016.
  2. Brandon John, ‘Seraya kuning siput’ is world’s tallest tropical tree, New Straits Times, 11 March 2017. Accessed on 5th April, 2019.

Tallest Shorea tree, Danum Valley on the map

Travelers' Map is loading...
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Location, GPS coordinates: 4.9460 N 117.8395 E (mistake up to 5 km)
Categories: Trees
Values: Biology, Visual
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Where is located? Asia, Malaysia, Sabah, Danum Valley
Species: Shorea faguetiana
Height: 94.1 m
Diameter of the trunk: 2.14 m (at the base)

Landmarks of Malaysia

Petronas Towers and lightning, Malaysia
Petronas Towers and lightning / Andy Mitchell, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Malaysia is unusual country which is divided by South China Sea into two distinct parts. The eastern part on Borneo island could be characterised as the "great wilderness" while the west – Malay peninsula – is more rich with amazing man made landmarks. Most impressive landmarks in this spectacular country are world’s largest cave chambers and amazing ecosystems in Sabah and Sarawak.


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

Wild Borneo: The Wildlife and Scenery of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan

A celebration of Borneo’s natural wonders, from its rainforest-covered lowland areas to its mountain ranges, highland areas, and winding rivers, with over 200 stunning color photographs.

Remarkable Trees of the World

The publication of Remarkable Trees of the World took American audiences by storm. Thomas Pakenham embarks on a five-year odyssey to most of the temperate and tropical regions of the world to photograph sixty trees of remarkable personality and presence: Dwarfs, Giants, Monuments, and Aliens; the lovingly tended midgets of Japan; the enormous strangler from India; and the 4,700-year “Old Methusalehs.”


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