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Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant redwood)

Giant by name and giant by nature, this huge Californian conifer is by volume the largest tree in the world.
Sequoiadendron giganteum in the Sequoia National Forest

Sequoiadendron giganteum regeneration in Converse Basin, in the Sequoia National Forest in the Sierra Nevada, eastern California.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J. T. Buchholz

Common name: 

giant redwood, Wellingtonia, giant sequoia

Conservation status: 

Vulnerable (VU) according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Growing as an emergent in mixed montane conifer forests.

Key Uses: 


Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Sequoiadendron

About this species

It may not be the tallest tree in the world but Sequoiadendron giganteum is the largest by volume, reaching up to 95 m in height and 12 m in diameter. On its introduction to Britain in 1853, the species was named Wellingtonia gigantea after the recently deceased Duke of Wellington. However, this scientific name was not legitimate because the name Wellingtonia had been used earlier for another plant (although it is still called Wellingtonia as a common name in the UK).

Always on the lookout for new and exciting large trees, estate owners jumped at the chance of growing another impressive specimen and having the name Wellingtonia worked wonders as a marketing tool. Although planted less frequently now, it is quite common throughout the British Isles, particularly in large gardens and parks. The giant redwood, which can live up to 3,200 years, was formerly put in the swamp cypress family (Taxodiaceae), which is now placed in the cypress family (Cupressaceae).


Wellingtonia gigantea, Sequoia gigantea


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