Oregon State University
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giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron)

  • Needles are short (1/4-1/2" long) and scale-like with thick, sharp points that stick out from the twigs, resulting in a prickly feel.
  • Cones are woody, egg-shaped, extremely hard, and 2-3" long.
  • Bark is reddish-brown, stringy, and very thick.


Giant sequoias are the largest trees ever to inhabit the earth, and are among the oldest. Heights of 250 feet and diameters of 15 feet are not uncommon. Their ages commonly range from 2,000 to 3,000 years (only bristlecone pines are older). Although once widespread, giant sequoias now occur only in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California. Since 1890, giant sequoias have been protected in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, as well as in smaller individual groves. There is only one species within this genus, Sequoiadendron giganteum; it has the same common name as its genus, giant sequoia.

species page For more information on giant sequoias, go to the species page or see "Trees to Know in Oregon".

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