In the 1830s, the first white adventurers struggled across the mountains of California. They were not prepared for what they found.
California has already welcomed them with astonishing prairies, deserts, and vast canyons.
They discovered strange plants and animals unknown to science and ordinary folk. Back east, in the westernmost range, they encountered one more surprise:
They encountered an ancient race of giants like trees. The mysterious giants mentioned in the Bible seemed far larger in reality.
These trees were and are the largest trees on earth. The Giant Sequoias.
The legendary writer conservationist, John Muir, a founder of the Sierra Club dubbed these massive trees gods of the woods.
Below are 20 facts about the giant Sequoia trees:
1. Sequoia Trees are Mostly Found in California
The Sequoia tree originates from coastal California and southwestern Oregon. They are also known as the coast redwood or the California redwood.
2. They have a Long Lifespan
The Sequoia is a redwood evergreen tree that can live up to 2200 years.
3. They Have Unique Agents of Pollination
Sequoia trees have both the stamens and the pastels in separate flowers on the same plant; ie both male and female parts
4. Giant Sequoia Trees Can Reach a Height of Over 295 Feet
It is common for a Sequoia tree to reach a height of over 295 feet.
According to the Landmark Trees Archive, the tallest recorded Sequoia tree to date is the Hyperion. It stood at 375 feet 3.5 7 inches tall in the Redwood National Park, Northern California.
The Landmark Trees Archive states that 41 measured living Sequoia trees are taller than 360 feet.
The largest volume of coast redwood can also be found in Northern California.
It has been dubbed the lost monarch in the grove of titans. It has an estimated mass of 42,500 cubic feet.
America's Pacific coast is home to the Sequoias.
It is a unique habitat in that it experiences heavy seasonal rainfall.
It also experiences a cool coastal air in a large amount of fog. The result is a damp forest environment lacking in nutrients.
This necessitates the tree's reliance on the organic community of the entire forest.
It is also vital to recycle dead trees. The redwood forests encourage the habitation of many birds, reptiles, and mammals.
5. They Have Thick Barks
The Sequoia tree has an extremely thick bark. Their bark is possibly the thickest of any known tree on earth.
The Sequoia's bark is sometimes more than two feet at the base of the tree. It prevents flames of fast-burning fires from reaching the interior of the tree.
6.Sequoias Release a Vast Number of Seeds
Sequoia trees release an estimated number of 300,000 to 400,000 seeds per year.
7. They Have Tiny Seeds
Sequoia seeds are extremely tiny and are dispersed when squirrels and other nut eating animals crack their shells. They are quarter-inch seeds embedded in cones. Most grove soils are granitic. They are formed partly of decomposed granite rock.
Sequoia seeds require mineral soils for rooting and overall growth. Despite their daunting sizes, sequoias struggle.
They wrap their base around a cedar, making their trunk more stable.
8. They Have Tiny Cones
Just like how its seeds are tiny, the cones that harbor them are not big too. A cone is estimated to be about 7 centimeters long and some are much smaller.
9.Sequoia Cones Start Green
These green cones appear at the top of the Sequoia tree at the age of twelve years. They remain closed until the age of twenty years.
This is when the Sequoia is deemed to be mature.
10. They are Sexual and Asexual
There are two methods of Sequoia reproduction; sexual and asexual. At around 10 years of age, the trees start producing seeds that are dispersed by the wind.
These seedlings grow extremely fast reaching a height of 65 feet in 20 years. Asexual reproduction is when the tree layers sprouts from the root crown stump or a fallen branch.
These sprouts come from dormant buds located just under the Bark's top layer. Sprouts can reach a height of seven and a half feet in one season of growth.
11. Sequoia Trees are Used for Timber
The most common use for the Sequoia is timber. There exists a one hundred and ninety-nine thousand acres of forest managed specifically for timber production.
Sequoia trees are resistant to fire due to their lack of resin. These trees are extremely valuable because they are highly resistant to decay.
Its timber has also been used in the construction of trestles and railroad ties in California. The boroughs of the redwood are sometimes used in the manufacture of furniture.
12. Sequoia Trees Can be Found at the Sequoia National Park
In 1890, the Sequoia National Park was established, saving many groves from devastation by commercial logging. Other groves became part of a new National Forest in 1908.
On these new parks and forest lands, a primary goal was formed to protect the venerable groves from the threat of fire.
In Sequoia National Park, wildfires were heroically fought and extinguished for 80 years.
The US National Park Service runs Sequoia National Park in the Southern Sierra Nevada California.
This park is famous for its sequoia trees.
One of the park's attractions is a tunnel running through a fallen giant Sequoia tree that was once 275 feet tall and 20 feet wide.
The tree fell naturally in 1937 landing across a park road.
A year, later the park staff created a 7-foot high, 17-foot wide hole in the tree to enable visitors to pass through it.
The National Park is also home to Crescent meadow. This is a beautiful meadow encircled by Sequoia trees.
13. They Live in Groves
Sequoias need a cool moist climate. This suitable condition is found only on the west slope of the range mostly at elevations from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.
Sequoia groves are not pure but include trees of several other species. Rivulets fed by melting snow run through the groves supplying water. In the warmer and drier months, many animals make their homes in among and under the big trees.
For the black bear, the slow decay on the ground floor of a grove makes a type of cafeteria. Here he finds a meal of insect larvae lodged in rotting logs.
14. Sequoias Need Fire to Regenerate
Fires in Yosemite National Park will consume 70 acres of forest. This is as big as 68 football fields. They are deliberately started by men. For most of the last century, naturally-occurring fires in Yosemite usually caused by lightning were put out whenever they started. The result was an incredible buildup of deadwood and undergrowth.
This fueled catastrophic infernos, Now National Park firefighters play catch-up. They manage and allow naturally-occurring fires to burn or set controlled fires. They do not let all the fires burn and they do not put all fires out. They have to find a compromise in the middle.
You have to understand that fires are a vital and important part of our ecosystem. This fire has special significance and special risks because it burns in one of the most historically important places. Few square miles of all Yosemite lies the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
Yosemite is the largest remaining bearer of these great trees. In 1864 when it was policy to stop fires at all costs few Sequoias sprouted. This enduring mystery was finally solved just a few decades ago. Giant sequoias depend on fire to reproduce.
The heat opens their seed cones. When their seeds are released, the flames clear the earth for their germination. While lesser trees blaze around them, the Giant Sequoias stand virtually unscathed by the flames. They're remarkably fire-resistant.
They have seen fire for eons and they will continue to see it. If we have anything to do about it when the flames die down the earth is ready for a new generation of the giant.
They are one of the natural symbols that make Yosemite National Park one of America's greatest wonders.
15. Sequoia Trees Have Shallow Roots
The Sequoia trees do not have taproots. They rather have shallow roots. These roots measure up to about 3-4 meters and do not change even in maturity.
They are also widespread and spread up to 3,500 square meters.
16.Tourist Site of the White House
The Sequoias are an iconic symbol of Yosemite.
This grove was one of the main reasons President Roosevelt took time out from the Civil War to declare Yosemite a protected place.
Each year Yosemite National Park's beauty draws millions of tourists, even famous ones.
In 1879 Civil War general and former President Ulysses Grant visited Inspiration Point and felt the view of the valley was the most beautiful he had seen in the world.
Arriving by wagon in 1880, Rutherford Hayes became the first sitting President to marvel at Yosemite and its Sequoia trees. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and President Franklin Roosevelt visited on separate occasions.
President John F Kennedy visited the year before his assassination turning down an offer to return to climb Half Dome.
In 2016 President Obama's helicopter landed in a meadow off-limits to the public to push his climate change agenda.
It was President Theodore Roosevelt's three-day visit in 1903 with naturalist John Muir that led to sweeping federal protections of natural Yosemite.
17.”The President” is the Seventh Oldest Tree in the World
“The president” is a Giant Sequoia and is 3,200 years old. It grows in Sierra Nevada California and is the oldest known living Sequoia.
It is not the tallest Giant Sequoia tree in the world nor the widest but it is the third-largest tree in the world. Measured by the volume of trucks, it has approximately 2 billion leaves. It can barely be caught completely in cameras as a result of its size and height.
Per the marks on the trunk and bark of the President, we can tell it has been through a lot. It is rumored that over the past centuries, it has been struck by lightning.
18. The Branches of Sequoias Grow on the Upper Half of The Tree
These branches oddly enough cannot be found at the lower or midsection of the tree, only at the top. These branches form rounded crowns.
19. The General Sherman Tree is the Largest in the World
The world's largest tree is the General Sherman tree.
Now my largest, I mean, largest by volume. It isn't the tallest and largest around but by volume, it is the biggest.
It is about 52,000 cubic feet.
Now to give you an idea of the size of this tree we have to create a comparison.
We are going to compare the base of the tree to an average-sized shuttle bus.
If you were to park such a shuttle behind General Sherman you'd only be able to see the front and the back bumpers.
The rest of the 35-foot bus will be hidden by the mass of General Sherman.
It's very extremely big. People wonder often how the tree got the name General Sherman tree.
It is not known what the Native Americans called this tree if they had any particular name for it at all.
However, back in the 1870s, it was named by a gentleman called James Warburton who was a Civil War veteran on the Union side. He was also a rancher in the area, and when he first saw this he was so impressed by it.
He thought to himself that he wanted to name it after somebody he respected.
During the war, he fought under General William Tecumseh Sherman and hence named the Sherman tree in his honor.
A lot of people don't know that in the 1880's this tree had a second name. It was also known as the Karl Marx tree. There was a socialist colony that was just down the hill, and they named that in honor of somebody they respected.
Well, the two names competed for a while depending on who you talk to. However, in 1890 when the park was established this changed.
The Sequoia National Park was first run by the US Army before there was any national park ranger. You can imagine which name they chose to use.
One of the things that impress visitors the most whenever they come up to this tree isn't the fact that it is the largest tree in the world. It is, however, the significance of the tree to the indigenous people.
20. A Sequoia Cone House About 250 Seeds
A sequoia tree has about 10,000. These cones contain numerous seeds waiting to be dispersed. However, few mature because a sequoia needs fire to grow.
At the park, you will find different faces, people of different ages, and people of a different color. This goes to show the wide spectrum of people the trees attract.