Sequoia Tree

The sequoia tree is a member in the cypress family of Cupressacaea and is one of three species of redwoods. These may be more familiarly known as the Coast Redwood and California Redwood, found in the northern part of the state of California. Known for its height and age, the tallest tree in the world is a redwood, reaching over 379 feet, with a base of 23 feet and living up to 2,200 years, the redwoods are awe inspiring to hike through.

Towering over its neighbors this giant sequoia reigns supreme
Towering over its neighbors this giant sequoia reigns supreme

The other two types of sequoia are the Giant Sequoia and Dawn Redwood and are some of the main reasons to visit the Sequoia National Park in California, growing on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 feet. The sequoia is naturally fire-resistant, with grayish red bark several feet thick. Fires are very helpful to the growth of the sequoia forest because it clears out undergrowth and the heat dries out the cones allowing the seeds to fall out. A mature sequoia usually has 11,000 cones on it, with as many as 300,000 to 400,000 seeds contained inside. The male and female cones are on the same tree and can be spread by the wind as far as 600 feet from the parent tree.

There are two other creatures involved in the spread of sequoia seeds, the longhorn beetle and the Douglas squirrel. The beetle lays eggs in the cones and the emerging larva feeds on the stem, reducing the water flow to the cone allowing it to dry out. Some seeds are also released by the squirrel as it feeds on the green cones.  It is broader then its relative the redwood but still reaches a respectable height.  These trees are under government protection and it is illegal to cut them down.

Cultivation of the giant sequoia in Europe and other countries has been somewhat successful, with one large example being in southwest Scotland and reaching a respectable height of 177 feet at 150 years of age. Other countries where it is successfully planted include Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

The following web site has wonderful pictures of giant sequoia.

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