North America is home to some of the most impressive and tallest trees in the world. For centuries people have been craning their necks in amazement at trees large enough to dwarf some buildings. North America’s unique and habitable climate has made it possible for some of the oldest and tallest trees on Earth to thrive. Let’s look at some of the tallest and most significant of these trees.
The Douglas-fir is one massive pine tree that grows throughout North America along the Pacific coast. They stretch out through California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. This tree generally grows 200-250 feet.
However, a few exceptions have been measured up to 330 feet high, with the tallest currently in Olympic National Park, Washington. The Douglas-fir is also the tree most commonly used in timber production in North America. So, chances are your home is full of this tree, from walls to furniture.
Starting a little farther north in Alaska and running throughout Canada into Oregon is another tall tree found in North America, the Western Hemlock. This is a large evergreen that can reach heights of 194 feet high, that’s about the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.
They play an important role in Alaskan life as well. The Western Hemlock’s pine needles are rich in vitamin C and have been used by indigenous peoples to make nutrient-rich tea for centuries.
The next tallest trees are a real giant, and the name proves it. The Giant Sequoia is one of the largest tree species in the world and they grow in North America. With average heights between 164 and 279 feet, they are towering trees. They’re also the widest trees on the planet.
One sequoia, called the General Grant tree, has the largest diameter of any tree measuring in at nearly 29 feet in diameter. Giant Sequoias have very brittle wood that can break easily, which makes harvesting them for timber very difficult and wasteful. Thanks to this, Sequoias have avoided be over-logged, allowing them to grow old and tall.
Finally, the tallest and possibly best well-known trees in North America are the California Redwoods. Before extreme logging for their high-quality timber began, these tall redwoods heavily populated the coast of California. Although their numbers have decreased, thanks to preservation efforts they can still be found along the coast and in national parks.
With protection, these trees can live 1,200-1,800 years in the wild. It’s also a California Redwood that gets the honor of being the tallest tree in world. Located in Redwood National and State park a tree called Hyperion, measuring in at 380.1 feet high, it is the tallest tree on the planet and is reportedly still growing.
The tall trees of North America are a resource that we all share and should be proud of. Taking time to visit these natural and living towers is time well spent. From the tall firs and pines, to the instantly recognizable Sequoias and Redwoods, North America’s big trees will be inspiring and amazing us for a long time to come.