Sequoiadendron

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Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia, Sierra redwood, Sierran redwood, or Wellingtonia) is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron, and one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods, classified in the family Cupressaceae in the subfamily Sequoioideae, together with Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwood) and Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood). The common use of the name "sequoia" generally refers to Sequoiadendron, which occurs naturally only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

Contents

Description

Giant Sequoias are the world's largest trees in terms of total volume (technically, only 7 living Giant Sequoia exceed the 42,500 cubic feet (1,200 m3) of the Lost Monarch Coast Redwood tree; see Largest trees). They grow to an average height of 50–85 metres (160–279 ft) and 6–8 metres (20–26 ft) in diameter. Record trees have been measured to be 94.8 metres (311 ft) in height and 17 metres (56 ft) in diameter.[1] The oldest known Giant Sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old. Sequoia bark is fibrous, furrowed, and may be 90 centimetres (3.0 ft) thick at the base of the columnar trunk. It provides significant fire protection for the trees. The leaves are evergreen, awl-shaped, 3–6 mm long, and arranged spirally on the shoots. The seed cones are 4–7 cm long and mature in 18–20 months, though they typically remain green and closed for up to 20 years; each cone has 30-50 spirally arranged scales, with several seeds on each scale giving an average of 230 seeds per cone. The seed is dark brown, 4–5 mm long and 1 mm broad, with a 1 mm wide yellow-brown wing along each side. Some seed is shed when the cone scales shrink during hot weather in late summer, but most seeds are liberated when the cone dries from fire heat or is damaged by insects (see Ecology, below).

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