The sequoia tree is one of the most fascinating natural wonders of the world. Its great height and longevity make it a unique tree and study in how plants adapt. Most people who visit one of these trees are impressed by its sheer size and history. Read on to find out interesting facts about the world’s biggest tree, the sequoia.
Giant sequoias are the oldest trees in the world and can be called the oldest living thing on Earth. The oldest recorded one lived to be 3,500 years old. It’s part of a species of trees called redwoods. Redwood fossils that are over 200 million years old have been found before, dating back to the Jurassic era.
Sequoias can grow to be as tall as a 30-story building. The reason sequoias grow to such a great height is partly due to how old long they live. The other reason is that they grow really fast compared to other trees. They need huge amounts of water, which they draw from the melted water of the Sierra snowpack. This water soaks into the soil and the trees, in turn, feed off of it.
It has wide-spreading roots
The roots of a sequoia tree are as large as the rest of its measurements. Most trees have a taproot, which is one straight root from which several rootlets grow out. The sequoia doesn’t have that. Instead, it has a wide spreading root pattern. When it reaches maturity, the roots can spread up to one acre wide (4,000 square meters). The root system is also unique in that it’s very shallow. Even when mature, it won’t go further than 14 feet (4.3 meters) down into the soil.
It’s incredibly fire-resistant
One of the reasons that the sequoia tree has survived for thousands of years is its ability to protect itself. The bark of this tree is rich in tannins, which also protects it from insects. It’s also furrowed and can be up to 3 feet (90 centimeters) thick at its base. Funnily enough, fire also helps the species to survive. The wildfires that happen frequently in California are a tool that helps clear the forest of other plants. This in turn helps the seedlings of the tree to get all the sunlight and not have to compete with other plants. It also provides soil rich in nutrients.
The world’s largest sequoia is located in California
The General Sherman Tree is not only the world’s largest sequoia tree but the largest tree period. It rises a whopping 275 feet (84 meters) in the air. At its base, it spreads over 36 feet (11 meters). When measured around its trunk, the total circumference is 102 feet (31 meters). Even though they used to be all over the Northern Hemisphere, sequoias now only exist in California, in a specific part of the state. The Sierra Nevada mountain range is the home of these giant trees. A number of national parks and national forests preserve these magnificent specimens.