Wondermondo has listed here the world’s tallest trees by champions of species. The list begins with the tallest trees and includes all the known species above the height of 80 m.
Please note: this list is far from the final truth! We can be confident that nature has created many more species of tall trees. Also, the listed trees are changing.
Map of the described tallest trees
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So… which are the world’s tallest trees?
The world’s tallest trees are several species of conifers and eucalypts, as well as dipterocarps.
Nowadays convincing champion is coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.): many hundreds of these trees surpass the height of the second-highest tree species in the world.
When in 2000 there was found the highest known coast redwood – Stratosphere Giant (now 113.05 meters high), it was announced that the discovery of a taller tree is little likely. This is symptomatic – when somebody starts to think that all discoveries are made, new ones come. Since then over a few years, there were discovered three trees that are higher than Stratosphere Giant. The current publicly announced record – Hyperion – was discovered in September 2006. The height of Hyperion is close to the historical record of species. There are known taller coast redwoods, more than 116 m tall – but these trees are not publicly announced.
In January 2019 one more tree above the height of 100 m was announced – yellow meranti (Shorea faguetiana) in Sabah, Malaysia (this measurement though is contested). This is the tallest known flowering plant in the world, located in a grove with some 50 other trees exceeding the height of 90 meters. There is a possibility that higher trees will be found here.
Next tree species above 100 m was discovered in early 2021 – in Northern California was found a 100.2 m tall Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).
Very close to the threshold of 100 meters – maybe exceeding it a little – are some trees in Australia. Mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell.) named Centurion was discovered in Tasmania, Australia in 2008. Its height is 99.82 meters (or 100.5 m?). This species might have been the highest on Earth up to the late 19th century – there are reports of 132.6 meters high eucalyptus from 1871-1872 and more reliable measurement of another tree in 1881 – measured height was 114.3 m. Both these trees were located in Victoria where nowadays most eucalyptus have been felled. There are rumors of trees exceeding 150 meters in height from the middle of the 19th century. There are hopes for new trees – some eucalyptus has reached a height of 85 meters in 80 years’ time.
Other very tall trees
Several more species of trees are close to the threshold of 100 meters. The tallest known coast Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) in Oregon, United States is 99.75 meters high. There is a report of 142 meters high tree from Washington, United States from 1897.
(Un)completeness of the list of world’s tallest trees
Climbing a very tall tree is very hard. At first one should overcome 40 – 60 meters height until he reaches the first branches. At this moment a man already could be at the height of a 15-floor building. Then he should ascend the tip of the tree – as high as possible. It might be shaky and brittle and full height might not be reached. Measurement by trigonometric methods for the most part is out of the question – tall trees often grow in deep ravines, surrounded by other large trees.
Due to this the height of tall trees is not measured too often. We know very little about the world’s tallest trees.
Good example of this is the expedition of R.Dial (Alaska Pacific University) to Sabah, Malaysia in 2007. Here in the area of 2 km2 were found 8 species of trees exceeding the height of 80 meters!
Thus – the quest for the world’s tallest trees still is open.