Menara – the world’s tallest tropical tree, Danum Valley

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One of the world’s oldest tropical forests – Danum Valley forest in early 2019 provided a long-sought discovery: the world’s tallest tropical tree, the first tree in tropics and the first flowering plant which is more than 100 m tall!!!

Danum Valley

Danum Valley Conservation Area was established in 1995 to protect lush rainforest of the eastern Sabah – one of the oldest forests in the world, existing in this place for more than 130 million years! Most of this forest is a totally pristine natural area with very high species diversity.

Very tall trees in Danum Valley – some 50 trees with a height over 90 m – were discovered in 2016 and were first reported by Mr. Gregory Asner from the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University.

For a while the title of the tallest known tree in tropics went to a Shorea faguetiana tree not too far from the current record-holder – this is a 94.1 m tall giant!

New world record

A team of the researchers from the Universities of Nottingham and Oxford in the cooperation with the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership announced the discovery of the new world’s tallest tropical tree – a 100.8 m tall giant. This tree was named simply Menara – “tower” in Malay language.

The tree was climbed by the now legendary arborist and tree-climber Unding Jami (Jamiluddin Jami) who in 2016 climbed the former world’s tallest tropical tree in Maliau Basin (a bit more than 90 m tall!). He climbed the new world-record holder (among tropical trees) on 6th January 2019 – first shooting the climbing line to a 86 m high (!) branch and then climbing some 3 hours to the top of the tree.

The height of this tree might be close to the maximum theoretical possibilities of biological systems of flowering plants – higher plants simply can not sustain themselves. Nevertheless, specialists are not convinced that this is the tallest tree even in Danum Valley. Thus – new, exciting discoveries can happen!

The world’s tallest tropical tree, Danum Valley is included in the following list:

Map of tallest trees in the world
Tallest trees in the world

References

  1. Mary Gagen, The world’s tallest known tropical tree has been found—and climbed, National Geographic, April 3, 2019. Accessed on 5th April, 2019.

The tallest (100.8 m) yellow meranti tree, Danum Valley on the map

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Menara - the tallest (100.8 m) Shorea tree in Danum Valley 4.936630, 117.831940 The world\'s tallest tropical tree, Danum Valley
Location, GPS coordinates:4.9366 N 117.8319 E (mistake up to 5 km)
Categories:Trees, Biological extremes
Values:Biology, Visual
Rating:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Where is located?Asia, Malaysia, Sabah, Danum Valley, Rhino Ridge
Species:Shorea faguetiana
Height:100.8 m

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.

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

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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