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article imageThe world's tallest tree is higher than the Statue of Liberty

By Karen Graham     Mar 27, 2019 in Science
The world’s tallest tree is a redwood called Hyperion which towers above the ground in Redwood National Park, California. The Goliath was identified in 2006 and measures exactly 115.85 meters (379.7 feet tall and about 22 feet (7 meters) at its base.
Around the world, there are claims to having the "oldest tree" in Europe or Australia to having the "tallest" of a particular species of tree, and it is always fun to learn more about these special, record-breakers among the three trillion trees currently alive in the world.
Hyperion - the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in California was not discovered until 2006. The only explanation for Hyperion not being noticed sooner is that the mammoth tree is in the midst of a remote area of Redwood National and State Parks purchased in 1978. The purchase of the land was fortuitous because the tree, along with its neighbors almost ended up being cut down.
According to ZME Science, in the 1970s, 90 percent of the country’s ancient forest owned by the federal government was being cut. The logging got within about 100 meters of Hyperion, based on a barren landscape formed by tree logging. But the giant tree's life was saved by a presidential pardon, so to speak.
During the Carter administration, the valley where Hyperion grows was seized by the government and added to Redwood National Park. Only 4 percent of the park's historical redwoods have escaped logging. The exact location of Hyperion is kept in secret to prevent any damage to the tree from visitors.
So, just how tall is a 379.7-foot tree? For comparison, New York City's Statue of Liberty is 93 meters (305 feet) tall. London’s Big Ben reaches a height of 96 meters (316 feet). Think about a 35-story skyscraper, OK? Now that is about how tall a giant redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) can grow.
Hyperion is in excellent company. The park is also home to the world's second tallest redwood, Helios at 114.1 meters (374.3 feet) in height, and Daedalus at 110.8 meters (363.4 feet) in height.
Climbing the world's tallest tree
Not too long after Hyperion was discovered, Jim Spickler, a canopy scientist, climbed the giant tree, describing his experience in a video, as seen at the start of this article. According to Spickler, it is true that the only way to accurately measure a tree's height is to use a tape measure - or in this case - a really big one.
“Just climbing up, the sense of exposure you get is just incredible. At 200 feet you’re still at the zone where it’s just the trunk. And then as you get a little bit higher, you start entering the lower crown of the tree. And that point the crown envelops you and you have that sense of ‘Wow! Am inside this organism, inside its arms, its branches, and you lose for a moment .. just a moment the sense of the ground."
“The view from the top of the world’s tallest tree is second to none. There’s nothing like it on the ground. You cannot imagine the experience,” he added.
Other record-breaking trees worthy of mention
Old Tjikko is a tree in Fulufjäll in Sweden which is claimed to be the oldest tree in the world.
Old Tjikko is a tree in Fulufjäll in Sweden which is claimed to be the oldest tree in the world.
Karl Brodowsky
Growing atop Fulufjället Mountain in the Dalarna province of Sweden, you will find Old Tjikko, a 9,550-year-old Norway Spruce. And yes, it does look a bit like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. At only 16 feet tall, Old Tjikko, discovered in 2004 by geologist Leif Kullman and named after Tjikko, his dead dog.
Kullman, a professor of Physical Geography at Umeå University, says that for thousands of years, the tree has survived due to vegetative cloning. The tree that is visible is relatively young, at only a few hundred years of age, but it is the root system that is thousands of years old. Carbon dating was done on genetically matched plant material collected from under the tree, giving scientists the true age of the remarkable tree.
Adonis  a Bosnian pine located in northern Greece is said to be Europe s oldest living thing  say sc...
Adonis, a Bosnian pine located in northern Greece is said to be Europe's oldest living thing, say scientists.
Dr. Oliver Konter, Mainz/University of Mainz
While it may not be the oldest tree in the world, a Bosnian Pine called Adonis, found in the highlands of northern Greece can claim to be the oldest tree on the continent. Scientists who examined the elderly pine say it is 1,075 years of age. Pinus heldreichii or the Bosnian pine is native to the mountainous regions of the Balkans and southern Italy.
This evergreen tree can get up to 25–35 meters (82–115 feet) in height and its trunk can reach two meters (6 ft 7 inches) in diameter. A group of researchers from Stockholm University, the University of Mainz (in Germany) and the University of Arizona, dated the tree by using tree rings, a process where a core sample was extracted from the tree going from the outside to the center of the tree.
Finding a tree as old as Adonis is kind of amazing. Just think, the tree was but a seedling in 941, when Vikings were roaming around Europe. And it was already 250 years old when Oxford University was founded.
Centurion tree - photo taken up-slope from a gap in the forest created by another old fallen Eucalyp...
Centurion tree - photo taken up-slope from a gap in the forest created by another old fallen Eucalyptus regnans in 2009.
Eucalyptus 99
Way across the world, in southern Tasmania, Australia, is another giant tree. The Centurion is the world's tallest known individual Eucalyptus regnans tree and the world’s second tallest tree, next to the coast redwood. The tree was measured by climber-deployed tapeline at 99.6 meters (327 feet) tall in 2008.
The name "Centurion" was saved for the hundredth noble tree to be discovered by Forestry Tasmania and coincided with the height of the tree. Centurion is in a small patch of very old forest surrounded by secondary forest and has survived logging and forest fires by lucky coincidence.
Centurion has a couple of distinctions that make it different than the redwoods. Eucalyptus is a flowering plant unlike the cone bearing giants in California. So this makes Centurion the tallest flowering plant in the world. And Tasmania's Eucalyptus trees only live to be about 300 years old, while the redwoods live much, much longer.
More about Hyperion, coast redwood, Sequoia, tallest tree, over 600 years
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