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Nature’s Masterpiece: Giant Sequoia

Articles: Nature’s Masterpiece: Giant Sequoia

The Big Tree is nature’s finest masterpiece…the greatest of all living things, it belongs to an ancient stock and has a strange air of another day about it, a thoroughbred look inherited from long ago—the Auld Lang Syne of Trees.
John Muir

One of the most majestic of the West’s signature trees is giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) from the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, where temperatures and soil moisture are conducive to its great growth. Previously known as Sequoia gigantea, Wellingtonia gigantea, and Sequoia wellingtonia, it has been called commonly Wellingtonia, giant redwood, Sierra redwood, giant sequoia, and big tree. Their home range is only about 260 miles long and fifteen miles wide, smaller in extent than that of its close relative, coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Yet, because of its greater hardiness, giant sequoia has been cultivated in parks and gardens throughout much of the United States and Europe since its discovery in the early 1850s.

A towering grove of giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California. Photograph by Dean Kelch


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