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Trees are fascinating plants that can reach enormous proportions and eclipse all other living things. They are not only among the oldest and heaviest, but also among the tallest organisms on planet Earth and have stimulated human imagination since the Stone Age. In addition to the well-known tall trees such as the oak, which can easily reach 40 in height, there are giants over 100 meters.

sequoias

Sequoias - the tree giants

Along with giant eucalyptus and Douglas fir, sequoias are among the tallest trees found in the world. They often easily reach heights of over 90 meters, but it's mostly them coast redwoods (botanically Sequoia sempervirens), which grow almost to the sky. They belong to the cypress family within the conifers and are evergreen coniferous trees that have their natural distribution primarily on the west coast of the United States. In addition to the coast redwood, the following two specimens can also be found.

  • giant sequoia (botanically Sequoiadendron giganteum), is also common in the USA
  • primeval sequoia (botanically Metasequoia glyptostroboides), the only one of the three species native to Asia
Primeval redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides

The trees of this family are considered living fossils because they can often become very old and therefore very large. Each individual tree can not only be extremely tall, but also heavy. The heaviest example is this General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park and weighs almost 2,000 tons, that's more than three Airbus A380 airplanes. At 84 meters tall, it's stately enough, but nothing compared to its relative, Hyperion, which is said to be the world's tallest coast redwood.

Hyperion

Hyperion - a coast redwood tree as high as the New Leipzig City Hall

Hyperion is a Sequoia sempervirens and is located in California's Redwood National Park and is considered the tallest tree on earth. As the largest Sequoia, it reaches a height of 115.92 meters, which is higher than the New Town Hall in Leipzig and only about 90 meters smaller than the TV Tower in Berlin. Such a height is remarkable for a single tree, the final maximum growth of all trees is at a height of 138 meters. Hyperion, named after the titan of Greek mythology, is only a few centimeters away from them, but it will take decades to get there.

His further data:

  • Height: 115.55m
  • Trunk width: 4.63 m
  • Age: about 1,260 years
  • Location: Redwood National Park (41.20491 N and 124.01556 W)

the Hyperion is easily recognizable as the tallest tree in the area, as it rises a few "storeys" above its neighbors and is uniquely presented by its uniquely shaped crown. As the largest sequoia on earth, it also has a uniquely dense and extensive root system of flat roots. For this reason, the exact position is not given, despite the geodata, since too many visitors could destroy the root system, which would inevitably damage the tree itself.

Notice: Despite Hyperion's protections, there are some directions given by hikers specifically looking for large trees, so this specimen is fairly easy to find. However, the way there is not signposted or secured and therefore not necessarily recommended, even if the view is extremely majestic.

Coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens

discovery

was valid until 2007 Stratosphere giant, also a coast redwood, was the world's tallest redwood, measuring a state 112.87 meters up to that point. This specimen was discovered in 2000 by Chris Atkins, who discovered Hyperion with Michael Taylor on November 8, 2006. The status as the world's largest tree was confirmed a year later by Stephen C. Sillett, an American tree researcher who is considered an expert in this field. The tree gained popularity in a BBC Radio 4 documentary by James Aldred called James and the Giant Redwoods.

growth

Restricted growth

According to researchers, Hyperion could have grown even taller had it not been for a problem with woodpeckers. These have put a lot of strain on the upper part of the tree and used it as a habitat, which has severely impaired its growth. Although it is still growing, the growth is extremely slow and hardly noticeable. Nevertheless, due to this slow growth, it stands upright and firmly in the ground without suffering damage from the height as the largest tree on earth. Its annual growth is about 3.9 centimeters a year.

Tallest tree by 2031

Next Hyperion Another specimen can be found in the same national park and was even known as the tallest sequoia until 1995, after being named by the specimen at the time Mendocino was replaced. The name is paradox and this one is in the Lower Bull Creek Flat area of the National Park. Due to the extremely strong growth of an incredible 18.9 centimeters a year, Paradox Hyperion will overtake it by 2031 at the latest and will then be known as the largest tree in the world. Such rapid growth is not uncommon for the species.

Primeval redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides

tree sizes

How tall were previous trees?

Despite its considerable size, Hyperion not the largest specimen of a tree up to now. These come from Australia and have been felled since the colonization of the continent. Due to their mass, they served as wood suppliers and were necessary for the settlers to be able to settle down there. Forest ranger William Ferguson found one near the Watts River in the state of Victoria giant eucalyptus with a height of 132.6 meters and other specimens that reached the maximum height of about 138 meters. This makes this tree species even taller than the sequoias and therefore even more unique.

Notice: The tallest current giant eucalyptus is a specimen called Centurion. This is found in southern Tasmania and reaches a remarkable height of 99.6 meters and is still growing.

Biggest Tree

In Germany

There are also large trees in the homeland, which are not that tall, but are still noticeable when you walk past them or watch them from afar. The tallest tree in Germany Waldtraut, a Douglas fir planted in 1913, which stands at an impressive height of 66.58 meters near Freiburg in the Arboretum Freiburg-G├╝nterstal and can even be visited. The Douglas fir gained greater prominence in 2022 after being officially presented as the tallest plant in Germany. Waldtraut benefits from the damp location in this area, which is unfavorable for native trees.

Coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens

origin

Where does Waldtraut come from?

Waldtraut is not a true native tree as the original seedling was brought to Germany from the USA in 2013. The plant, which was still very young at the time, came from the west coast and was brought to Baden-W├╝rttemberg by foresters to refresh the tree population there, which had suffered from the last cold period. Since it was planted, Waldtraut has belonged to a colony of Douglas firs, which are thriving there and attracting many hikers who want to see these trees.

tallest specimen

Tallest specimen of a native species

If species are excluded that do not really come from Central European latitudes, the highest specimen on German soil is a classic one Spruce (botanically Picea abies), which is estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old. It is 59.30 meters high and is located in the Kirnitzschtal, which is part of the Saxon Switzerland National Park and was able to grow there undisturbed.

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