A huge honking tree

This is “The President,” supposedly the world’s largest tree (probably not the third largest, as indicated below) if you’re considering volume. It’s a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in California, and these massive trees are one of the most amazing sights I’ve seen: certainly the most impressive single organism I’ve encountered in my life. When you first see one of these giants, you simply cannot believe that a tree can be this large.

To show how big they are, My Modern Met shows a photo made from many individual photos:

For the December 2012 issue of National Geographic, photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols journeyed to the Sequoia National Park in California in order to capture this image of the President, a giant sequoia that is the third largest tree in the world, if measured by volume of the trunk above ground.

Using a rig system made up of ropes, Nichols and his team raised a camera so that they could take shots of every part of the 247-ft-tall, 27-ft-wide giant. It took Nichols 32 days of work to photograph the tree and stitch together the final image from 126 individual photos, creating the first picture of the President captured entirely in a single frame. The result is a stunning image that shows the majestic tree in all its glory, towering high above the snowy ground and tiny people.

Look at this baby!

michaelnichols2

 

michaelnichols6

Their range is very limited, so it’s a special experience to see one. Here’s the range map from Wikipedia:

738px-Sequoiadendron_giganteum_levila

 

 

michaelnichols3

Here’s a National Geographic video about that tree:

One of the wonderful things about California is that it has the world’s oldest trees (the bristlecone pines), the world’s tallest trees (the giant redwoods), and the world’s most massive trees (see above). Two of these—the bristlecones and giant sequoias—are within a day’s drive of each other, and the giant redwoods only another day’s drive away. Throw in Death Valley, one of my favorite spots on earth, and you have four biological/geographical wonders easily accessible in a few days’ drive.

Take Professor Ceiling Cat’s word: go see these big and old trees if you get to California.

h/t: Dom

88 Comments

  1. Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Judging by the mid-to-upper branches, that tree had its top split many times. How much more magnificent might the President be if it would have grown without splitting? Truly amazing.

  2. John Harshman
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of California’s natural wonders, how about Pinnacles National Park, which features half of an old volcano transported 150 miles north along the San Andreas fault? It’s seldom so easy to see plate tectonics in action.

    • mordacious1
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Great place to camp and hike…a lot of wild boar running around.

    • boggy
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Quite amazing how the Flood caused continents to move, and only about 5,000 years ago!

  3. Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Aside from tropical rainforest and arctic tundra, I don’t think there’s a major ecological designation that you can’t find in California.

    …partly because it’s a damned big state. I think even many Americans don’t “get” just how big it is. It’s about 800 miles from northern to southern borders. I don’t think there are any European countries aside from Russia where you can go for 800 miles in a straight line and still be in the same country. It’s also a couple hundred miles wide, which is a typical European border-to-border distance.

    It’s somehow fitting that the largest trees should live in California.

    And, yes: experiencing them in person would be an imperative were it not for the fact that several billion people making the pilgrimage would be disastrous….

    b&

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Ahem, Canada and Australia are also large with large provincial / state boundaries

      • Kevin Alexander
        Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        The tallest tree ever recorded was from Canada.
        Maybe I should say the longest tree because they only measured it after they cut it down.

        • Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          I can’t support the death penalty under any circumstances, but I sure wouldn’t have shed a tear to read of the obituaries of the criminals who cut it down.

          b&

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            Maybe they were collecting it like scientists used to collect birds to study them by shooting them. ;)

            • Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

              Maybe we need to do a similar study on old growth loggers….

              b&

            • John Harshman
              Posted April 1, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

              I hate to tell you this, but scientists still collect birds to study them by shooting them.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted April 2, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

                Yeah I figured.

          • Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            Reminds me of The Far Side cartoon where a man is pointing out the rings of a huge tree he had cut down: “And see right here Jimmy? That’s another time this magnificent fellow miraculously survived some big forest fire!”

            • Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

              One of that most insightful social commentators of the modern age. Too bad he put down the pen….

              b&

            • jahigginbotham
              Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

              Sadly, that is what happened to Prometheus, a bristlecone older than Methuselah, cut down in 1964 by Donald Rusk Currey and/or a forest ranger.

      • Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        To be sure — and that’s why I tried to be careful to specify “American” or “European” as appropriate.

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I saw that dodge. ;) I mentioned it anyway. Muhahaha!

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      I think Sweden, Ukraine and Turkey would qualify. (Assuming you allow Turkey as Europe of course).

      • Posted April 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Sweden and California are comparable in area and shape. Ukraine has more area, but it’s rounder and a couple hundred miles shorter in its longest dimension. Turkey…yeah, Turkey’s bigger geographically, but is it European? I think most geographers place the divide between Europe and Asia somewhere close to Turkey’s western border.

        But the main point is that, if California were its own country, it’d be one of the bigger, more populous, wealthier, more productive agriculturally and technologically, etc., etc., etc., in the world — and that fact doesn’t even quite register with most Americans, let alone others in the world.

        Hell, most Americans think of “Texas” as synonymous with “big.” Texas ain’t small, to be sure, but it really couldn’t quite hold its own in a grudge match with California, except in land area. Certainly not in ecological diversity, the original topic, nor in any of the other metrics I mentioned. California’s economy is twice the size of Texas’s, its population is half again as large, and so on. California has out-Texased Texas probably since before I was born.

        b&

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:15 am | Permalink

          I absolutely agree that California has the wow factor whichever way you look at it. I am looking forward to seeing a tiny fraction of it next week! :-)

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink

          Turkey…yeah, Turkey’s bigger geographically, but is it European? I think most geographers place the divide between Europe and Asia somewhere close to Turkey’s western border.

          Culturally … well, Turkey has been trying to get into the EU for decades – and has made substantial internal changes to try to make this more plausible. But I don’t see it happening this generation, and the increasing tide of Islamic fundamentalism and right-wing political repression isn’t doing anything to improve it’s chances at the moment.
          Geographically … the Hellespont / Sea of Marmara/ and Bosporus have traditionally been taken as the dividing line between Asia and Europe. Though the Byzantine and Ottoman emperors have always complicated that divide by ignoring it.
          Geologically, the North Anatolian Fault follows those seas (more or less) and is a major crustal dividing line in the same order of magnitude as the San Andreas Fault. So that’s a perfectly reasonable line to take. If you want to divide the Earth up at all. Which, TBH, people do.

          • TJR
            Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

            The other side of the Hellespont/Bosphorus is Asia Minor, so it’s pretty well got to count as asia. Its a bit trickier elsewhere (Urals, Caucasus?)

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 6, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

              The Caucasus form a perfectly good dividing line to me. There’s the remnant of a subduction zone under the Kura – (I forget the name of the Georgian river to the Black Sea – I’ll have to bone up on Black Sea geography before the boat gets there) valley to the south. Examining hundreds of samples of the Apsheron “Productive” Series when I worked there impressed on me just how different these ‘flysch‘ and ‘melange‘ sediments are compared to normal clastic sediments.
              Sorry, Azerbaijan was an interesting job. I look forward to returning one day.
              Are the Urals a fair dividing line between “Europe” and “Asia”? Well the Russians certainly thought so – not that it stopped them marching east when they got into their empire-building mode. It’s another healed continental suture line. But in that case you can just as well split the British Isles into three continents (dividing on the “Iapetus Suture” under the Solway Firth, and on the Great Glen Fault ; you could make a good pint-long argument for dividing at the Highland Boundary Fault too), while there are several more microcontinents comprising modern Norway.
              There’s a definite similarity to the “lumpers versus splitters” debate within taxonomy. As we get better knowledge about the structure of the deeper crust, we see more and more layers of scar tissue – scar upon scar, even – leaving the planet as a mass of welded together microcontinents. Where to draw the line between one set of lumped-together microcontinents and another gets … either contentious or tedious depending on how many times you’ve had the argument this week.
              The Russians have a big monument on the road through the Urals – between Satka and Chelyabinsk ; possibly on other roads – marking “You are now entering [Asia|Europe]” on opposite sides of the monument. There’s another similar on at the Arctic Circle in Salkhard (the wife’s county town when she lived there).

          • Posted April 2, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            If the San Andreas is to be the dividing line, then I crossed into and out of North America every day I went to elementary school. (Actually, I think the school itself was exactly on the fault. Home at the time was a mile or so to the west, just over the ridge (Skyline) of the fault valley the school was nestled in.)

            b&

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 6, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

              I’ve got some photos of the wife and her daughter engaging in an East-West tug-of-war on the lawns below the Observatory at Greenwich and – as well as I could judge – aligned across the axis of the Prime Meridian telescope.
              Which just goes to show how much of a hair-splitting exercise these things can get to be.
              On the other hand, straddling a fault line that marks a large discontinuity in the history of a particular part of the Earth is always good fun. I always pay a little more attention to such things, and check for pseudotachylite.

              • Posted April 6, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

                I remember visiting the Observatory, and casually making sure to straddle the Meridian at the stroke of noon….

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

                Be careful doing that. There’s a large sword buried in the grass that slices through straddlees the morning after the clocks change.
                Pour,” in the words of Voltaire, “encourager les autres.

              • Posted April 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

                I thought the Brits kept their mythical swords in stones, not grass. Or is this an allusion to something more…psychedelic?

                b&

              • Posted April 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

                I think you’ve misunderstood *swords in the stones* …

                /@

              • Posted April 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

                Don’t tell me — it’s another sexual innuendo, isn’t it?

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 6, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

                I just have this image of the laser on the telescope’s mounting slicing through the sky, but for people who get the time wrong, there’s a more literal slicing.

              • Posted April 7, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

                Where there’s lasers, especially death lasers, there’re frickin’ sharks. I happen to like sharks….

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 9, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

                Sharks with lasers on their heads.
                There have been some truly appallingly bad films down that road. It almost calls out for some Japanese radioactive goo and an iguana.

        • eric
          Posted April 2, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          This generalization is a few years old now (so may be out of date), but the old mantra used to be that if it were a country, California’s economy would rank as the 6th largest in the world.

          • moarscienceplz
            Posted April 2, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

            Looked it up on Wiki, but it’s a bit weird. They SAY Calif. has the 12th largest economy, but they link to a chart that would put us at #8, behind USA, China, Japan, Germany, Brazil, UK, & France (by GDP). I gonna say 8th is the correct ranking. I suspect China and Brazil were below us a few years ago, so your memory seems to be correct, eric.
            California’s economy is bigger than all of Russia, so chew on that, Putin!

    • Posted April 2, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      You would get pretty close to tropical rainforest, I’d guess – because it is pretty far south in places and there would be *rainforest*. (After all, there’s what I believe is called “temperate rainforest” in British Columbia.)

      • Posted April 2, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        The redwood forests — at least the coastal ones — are temperate rainforests.

        But those are radically different ecosystems from tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests are the archetypal jungles with chattering monkeys and slithering snakes and lazy sloths and Tarzan yodeling and swinging through the trees.

        Mexico has tropical rainforests, but you won’t find any in California.

        b&

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    That is one ginormous tree!

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I saw that tree! The thought occurred to me that I was only looking at the little ones that the loggers hadn’t got around to before someone came up with the idea of National Parks to protect the ones that hadn’t yet be turned into holy money.

  5. Rory
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    This is great: awesome trees and a road tripto fantasise about. Thanks for sharing Dr. Coyne.
    Does anyone know how long the giant sequoias and redwoods live? I imagine it takes quite a few years to grow as large as they do.

    • lkr
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Giant sequoias are known to reach 3500 years, and coast redwood over 2000 years. But they can get huge very fast. My nextdoor neighbor Rudy, now deceased, built the first house in my neighborhood in the 1950s and made a hobby of greeting new neighbors with cute little trees from the forest nursery where he worked. Quite a few got giant sequoias, and several planted the babies in the middle of smallish front lawns. One of these 60-70 year old sequoias was removed this week. About 100 feet [30m] high, with a trunk over 7 feet [2 m] at the base. Another, even larger, was planted near the street, and only limbed up this year to allow traffic to pass — its spread has reached nearly 80 feet [25m] and had taken more than half the width of our street.

      Rudy was quite a joker, and this slow-motion attack of afforestation was surely what he had in mind at the start.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think Rudy was alone. I grew up in Oregon but haven’t lived there for several decades; when I did I don’t remember ever seeing sequoias there. When I go back now I see them all over, and often cramped in tiny yards where they’ll inevitably have to be cut down some day. Must have been some landscaping fad back in the day.

        • Duncan
          Posted April 2, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

          And a fad that crossed the pond. When I was growing up we had one of these in our garden in a village called Tibberton in Shropshire. I’m pretty sure the sequoia has the vernacular name of Wellingtonia in England.

          One of our siamese cats seemed to enjoy running up the trunk using her claws in the soft bark to a height of about 20ft. My dad would then have to get a ladder to get her down as she was too scared/stupid to work it out by herself.

          • Diane G.
            Posted April 2, 2014 at 12:30 am | Permalink

            :D

            Wow, think how far a cat could get up a sequoia!

    • Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      They can easily make it thousands of years if they don’t get cut or burned down. I think most of the redwoods in Muir Woods (just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) are at least a thousand years old, many twice that, and some likely older than the Pyramids.

      b&

      • Achrachno
        Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Coast redwoods resprout following fire, cutting or other damage and commonly form fairy rings of stems from a damaged parent trunk. It seems likely that while individual stems may be 1-2k years old, the seed from which they grew may have germinated much deeper in the past. Seed>tree>resprout tree> more resprout trees,ad infinitum.

        One genetic individual probably persists much longer than any single stem.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      I imagine it takes quite a few years to grow as large as they do.

      There was a bit of a fad for planting sequoias (of various species) in arboretums around Scotland around a century ago, and the seem to like it. 100ft trees are nothing particularly uncommon.
      I don’t know if they’re self-seeding here. But they do seem to like the climate.
      (Caveat geologist : I don’t pay that much attention to things that aren’t fossilised. You’d do better getting your detailed botany from someone else.)

    • Stuartg
      Posted April 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      There’s a few coastal redwoods at Rotorua, New Zealand. They were planted in 1901. The tallest is apparently 72 metres – not bad growth in just over a century!

      http://redwoods.co.nz/

      Average lifespan is 600 years, but who knows how long they will live so far from “home”?

  6. kansaskitty
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree! Go see the giant sequoias! We took a driving trip to California a few years ago and took in Sequoia National Park, King’s Canyon, Yosemite and Death Valley. The giant sequoias are THE most awe inspiring thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I hope to go back someday. Absolutely magnificent.

    • Paul S
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, beautiful and not fully appreciated until you see them up close. It’s a new definition of big. Although the prettiest place I’ve been in the US is glacier national park. Stunning, just stunning.

    • Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      We’ve done that trip a couple of times now. Awesome.

      /@

    • Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      We did too. And to top it off we drove east from Yosemite down to Mono Lake. Possibly the weirdest place on earth, and definitely worth the drive.

  7. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s a stitched photo all right – the man on the top is ~ 2 times the length of the man on the bottom. And judging from the clothes it’s the same man.

    “Intriguing.”

    • Achrachno
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Maybe they just got a deal on parkas in bulk.

    • Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      I believe that is a matter of perspective, partly because he’s standing our further in the photograph than the man at the bottom.

      • Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Oh and my avatar is a photo of me hugging a giant tree near The President :-)

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        And I suspect they wore bright clothes just for the picture.

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted April 3, 2014 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          You’re probably right.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

        That would be camera perspective then I assume, since their height differs in pixels. A wide-angle lens effect?

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted April 3, 2014 at 12:20 am | Permalink

          Oh, and part could come from the tree being proportionally wide. Right.

        • Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          The rig they used had the camera on an elevator-like contraption, making many dozens of exposures that they then stitched together. Distortion would therefore be an artifact of either the stitching technique or the camera’s path not being aligned to vertical.

          b&

  8. cruzrad
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    If you want to learn more about these amazing trees and the intrepid folks that love and study them, there is a wonderful book called The Wild Trees by Richard Preston. It tells the tale of a group botanists and amateur naturalists that climb these trees both for the adventure and to learn the forest secrets. Great read!

    • cruzrad
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Not to mislead…the book is more about the taller Northern California coastal cousins of Sequoiadendron giganteum, the Sequoia sempervirens. The tallest known is called Hyperion, measuring 379.3 feet.

      • Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        My husband recommends this book too. He met Preston last year at a tree climbing conference. I had it but ended up taking it back to the library. I DO plan on reading it one of these days. If people are interested in tree climbing they can google “recreational tree climbing” and find information on where to do it.

  9. marksolock
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  10. Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Wow… nothing can describe my amazement at that tree. Now *that’s* something to have on one’s bucket list — to stand under the canopy of these magnificent giants.

  11. Thanny
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I prefer the coastal redwoods myself. Up in Crescent City, there’s a road called Howland Hill which runs through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, passing right next to monstrous coastal redwoods. It’s a small gravel road, which is fixed once per year, so you need to drive very slowly (cars coming the other way is another reason to do so). There are spots where you can pull over and get out to marvel at the behemoths up close.

    In Yosemite, you need to take a hike to reach trees that the misguided rangers haven’t cordoned off (these trees have bark two feet thick – you aren’t going to hurt it). In Mariposa Grove is one of my favorites. It’s called the Telescope Tree, a sequoia which has had its core burned out by a lightning fire. You can walk right inside the tree, which is very much alive, and see sky looking straight up through the trunk.

    The picture above is pretty good, but there’s no real substitute for seeing these trees in person.

    • cruzrad
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Thanny. You can often find solitude among the redwoods along the gorgeous Smith River (largest undamed river in California). Stout Grove on Howland Hill Rd is a favorite place of mine. Big Basin State Park in Santa Cruz County is another great place for viewing the redwoods.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted April 2, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      I think the reason for cordoning them off is not the risk of damage to the trunks (as you say, the bigger trees have very thick bark) but the fact that their roots are shallow and too many people too close will overly compact the soil around the roots and damage the trees that way.

      • Thanny
        Posted April 2, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        That’s a claim I’ve seen made, but it doesn’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny. You can’t compact soil to that degree (where it prevents the roots from getting water) just by walking on it, no matter how many people do it however often. Heavy machinery might do that kind of indirect damage, but no one’s trying to drive bulldozers in there.

        You can even see the uncertainty in the signs themselves. In one part of the park, you see a sign saying that walking above the roots causes damage. In another, you see one saying that it may cause damage. The reality is that there’s zero evidence of actual damage – it’s pure speculation. People with good motivations – protecting these incredible trees – let themselves get carried away from sound reasoning, and as a consequence are marring the redwood experience for everyone else.

        • Posted April 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know how it affects big trees, but soil compaction is a very real phenomenon and a serious problem, as any gardener or farmer can tell you. At the very least, it leads to topsoil erosion and prevents nutrient absorption. Considering that the natural mulch from fallen leaves and branches plays a crucial role in the nutrient cycle of large trees, significant soil compaction could well lead to chronic nutrient deficiencies that would lead to the types of stress that leaves trees vulnerable to parasitic infestations and diseases.

          Whether the roots themselves are physically damaged wouldn’t matter much.

          And even in desert ecosystems such as we have here in the Southwest, it doesn’t take much to cause damage that can take decades or longer to recover. Some Depression-area footprints are still visible in some places….

          Stay on the paths, people. Please — for the sake of the very wildlife you’re there to admire.

          Cheers,

          b&

    • JBlilie
      Posted April 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Howland Hill and that road through JSSP and RNP is a must-see, a bucket-list place.

      The photo does not do it justice. The trunks are incredibly close together, barely room to drive between.

  12. Christian
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Impressive.

    An other amazing tree is a giant cashew tree in northeastern Brazil (Rio Grande do Norte).

    According to wiki it covers an area between 7300 m² and 8400 m².

    • Achrachno
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Might the nuts be proportionately large? :-)

  13. BilBy
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    As we are talking about giants, I urge everyone to visit the Tetrapod Zoology website to read the news about a new species of giant cassowary! Dr Darren ‘TetZoo’ Naish often reveals such important discoveries around this time of year.

    • Achrachno
      Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and the rest of the year he’s trustworthy. It is a great site and well worth digging into regularly.

  14. scooterwes
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    It was a foldout in National Geographic mag. Also, there are three other men throughout the tree. The one at red is easy to spot, and also appears much larger because he is on a branch much closer to the camera. But there are also two others, besides the guy on the ground.

    > On April 1, 2014 at 2:08 PM Why Evolution Is True > wrote: > > whyevolutionistrue posted: “This is “The President,” supposedly the world’s > largest tree if you’re considering volume. It’s a giant sequoia > (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in California, and these massive trees are one of > the most amazing sights I’ve seen: certainly the most impressive s” >

  15. cremnomaniac
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I hate to nitpick, but the map of distribution is incomplete. I fails to show the Northern most grove of giant sequoia.
    That grove is located on highway 4, just east of the small town of Arnold (120 mi. ENE of San Francisco). I had the pleasure of living there 10 years. I was just 10 minutes from Calaveras Big Trees State park. I’ll send some pics. While no tree in the park holds a record they do not lack presence. In fact, if I have my history correct, it was this locale that they were first discovered by settlers, the indians knew of them.

    I always imagined seeing some ancient creature bouncing through the grove. The South grove is quite impressive, with over 1000 mature trees in the park.

    And as a note of interest, the Sherman Tree is the world’s largest living organism. It is a major attraction in Sequoia National Park.

    • Phil
      Posted April 2, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      Actually the northernmost naturally occurring grove of giant sequoias is farther north still. The Placer County Grove (comprising only a handful of mature trees) is located east of Forestville, in Tahoe National Forest, about 90 km (50 mi) north of the Calaveras stands. This is a very small, isolated population, just barely hanging on. Giant sequoias were evidently more widespread in the past — there are fossils from Miocene deposits in Nevada.

      • cremnomaniac
        Posted April 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Noted, I now vaguely recall that grove. Never visited. Next time up there I’ll have to have a look.

  16. mfdempsey1946
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Those who haven’t seen it might want to check out Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” which in one mesmerizing scene makes brilliantly moving and chastening use of the rings in a felled sequoia.

  17. Posted April 2, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    to almost quote, “This tree and me, we’re made if the same stuff!”

  18. uglicoyote
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Road.

  19. W.Benson
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    My misanthropic query: How big was the tree they had to cut down to get the photo?

  20. Newish Gnu
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I went to Sequoia NP a couple years ago. There are some things in life that have to be seen in person to truly appreciate — and these trees are in that category. I looked at photos for decades before getting to the park. No comparison. Not even close. See them in person if you can.

  21. Kilo
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the many wonders of California, I’d like to throw in the Big Sur coast in central California and the Mendocino coast in Northern California.

    Miles and miles of spectacular cliffs that are breathtaking to behold.

    • uncleebeneezer
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Yosemite is possibly my favorite place on Earth and I’ve done Sequoia, Kings Canyon, tons of Mammoth hikes, Joshua Tree, Death Valley etc. But I had never been North of Mono Lake until I went on an Anniversary trip last Summer with my wife. We continued up 395 from Bridgeport (where we got married) and spent two weeks going up to Crater Lake in Oregon, then out to the coast and back down through Northern Cali. I was blown away by Mendocino, PCH on the coast, Redwoods, etc. Which is just my way of saying, yes, even for a California-dweller, the state holds almost unending wonders and variety. I had never even HEARD of Lassen National Park, and it was one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited (I’d put it on par with Yosemite but much less crowded, we definitely want to go back.) Yay California.


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