Known as both the giant redwood and the coastal redwood, sequoia sempervirens differs from its relative the giant sequoia, sequoiadendron giganteum, primarily in the environment it requires. As its nickname suggests, giant or coastal redwoods thrive in the moist, humid climate of the Northern California coast, where marine fog delivers precise conditions necessary for its growth. The fog adds moisture to the soil and helps trap it there by lowering the rate of evaporation.
Giant redwoods typically outreach their giant cousins in height, standing up to 378 feet tall.
Giant sequoias thrive in higher elevation habitats than giant redwoods and grow naturally only along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, primarily between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. Giant sequoias require the periodic dry heat of the mountains in order for their cones to open and release seeds.
Still reaching impressive heights of up to 311 feet, giant sequoias are typically shorter than their coastal relations. What they lack in height, however, they make up for in size, usually outweighing giant redwoods substantially.
Through sheer incredible volume, giant sequoias claim the largest tree in the world. Known as General Sherman, this most giant of sequoias weighs a staggering 2.7 million pounds and stands 275 feet tall from its base, which is more than 100 feet wide. Not only is General Sherman the largest living tree, it also owns the title of largest living organism on the planet.
More About Redwoods and Sequoias
Live up to 2,000 years
Have branches up to 5 feet in diameter
Bark grows up to 12 inches thick
Can reproduce either by seed or by sprout
Live up to 3,000 years
Have branches up to 8 feet in diameter
Bark grows up to 3 feet thick
Reproduce by seed only
General Grant - Sequoia Giant
The General Grant tree, the second-largest sequoia in the world, is a 3,000-year-old wonder and the centerpiece of Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.
A massive specimen of Sequoiadendron giganteum, General Grant measures almost 270 feet tall and 107 feet around at its base. The tree was named in 1867 to honor Ulysses S. Grant, and was coined the “Nation's Christmas Tree” by President Calvin Coolidge. It is one of the “biggest” attractions in America’s national park system