Flying Around Sequoia Trees in The Dark is a Bad Idea

Flying Around Sequoia Trees in The Dark is a Bad Idea

The sequoia (aka giant sequoia) along with the dawn redwood and coast redwood make up the redwood family of trees. Fossil records of the most amazing of these trees, the giant sequoia, date back to the Jurassic period, more than 200 million years ago. Sequoias towered above the head of Tyrannosaurus Rex. You want to watch out for one of these when flying a helicopter or plane—the sequoia, not the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

sequoia trees

Why Are Sequoias Amazing?

  • Giant sequoias are the largest single trees and largest living organism on the planet by volume. The honey fungus is larger in size, covering an area 2.4 miles across. A quaking aspen called Pando, which is a clonal plant possessing an extensive root system connecting multiple trees, weighs an astounding 13 million pounds (6 million kg).
  • There are 2 billion leaves on the 3rd largest sequoia, The President.

sequoia trees

  • The largest living sequoia, The General Sherman, weighs approximately 3 to 4 million pounds.
  • Giant sequoias are among the oldest living organisms on the planet. The oldest known based on ring count is about 3,500 years old. High concentrations of the chemical tannin in the sequoia bark gives it resistance to rot, boring insects, and fire.
  • The largest of the sequoias are as tall as a 26-story building. Record trees have been measured to be 311 feet and average sequoia heights are in the range of 165 to 280 feet.
  • A large sequoia may have about 11,000 cones and spread 300,000 to 400,000 seeds per year.
  • Typical specimens range from 20 to 26 ft. in diameter (6 to 8 meters).

sequoia trees

Where Are They?

sequoia trees

Present distribution of groves of naturally growing sequoias are limited to Sierra Nevada, California but prehistorically was a somewhat common species in across North America and Eurasia. Fossil of sequoia from the Cretaceous era have even been found in New Zealand. Giant sequoia have become an ornamental tree in many areas of the world today, including the following regions:

  • Southwest British Columbia in Canada
  • Southeast Australia
  • Chile
  • Pacific Northwest and limited eastern United States
  • Britain
  • France (tallest sequoia outside the United States – 189 feet (56m meters)
  • Italy
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic

Note: This post prompted by the following passage from The Field Trip:

Once far enough to be protected by the forest below, Jay shouted, “I am sorry. My coordination is poor.”

“Not your fault, it’s what those bastards put in you,” he yelled to be heard above the noise. “I wish I could see better. I’d like to stay just above the trees, but the moon doesn’t give enough light and I’ll probably run into some stupid sequoia.”

Swaying slightly side to side, she corrected, “Sequoias are not native to this region.”

Ross shook his head.

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