The gigantic sequoia trees are among the world’s largest creations. The name “Sequoia” was given in honor of the Sequoyah, the Cherokee Indian chief (1776-1842) who taught his people how to read and write using a unique alphabet he invented himself. One of the first books published in the Cherokee language was the Holy Bible in 1825.
There are three types of Sequoia trees: Californian Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens), also known as Redwood, used as an ornamental tree, Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), considered the largest tree by total volume, being protected by law and Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia) known as a fossil until 1941 when discovered in China.
These natural giants are found in high numbers in California. A species of the gymnosperm family, the Sequoia Gigantea is a tree that can live for thousands of years. Amazingly, they can grow to be 145m tall with a body circumference of up to 38m. In fact, the Sequoia Gigantea is so huge that the stump surface of a tree with only a diameter of 16m could easily park up to 12 limos. Or, it could be a dance-floor with 60 dancers and house a full orchestra as well. The official size record is held by a giant sequoia called the “General Sherman“, which can be found in the Sequoia National Park in California. It is 83.8m tall (275 ft) and 31.3m (102 ft) at the base. With a possible subterranean fungi network, it is the biggest living organism on Earth. Its thickness is ten times more than that of a blue whale. At its estimated 1486 cube meters, it contains enough wood to build 40 houses with five rooms each. Its bark is said to be over 1.3 meters in width. Initially, people thought that the General Sherman could be over 6000 years old; later, biologists revealed that it is up to 2150 years old and still growing vigorously--it will continue growing for thousands of years. The tallest tree in the world is a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), named Hyperion after a person in Greek mythology. He is 115.55 m (379.1 feet) tall! This enormous tree was only discovered in September 2006, in a remote part of the Redwood National Park, California by naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. So precious are these natural marvels that the places where many of them live (like the Old Metusala Sequoia or the Mendocino Sequoia tree) are kept secret, to hide and protect them from vandals or souvenir hunters searching for trophies.
The sexual reproduction of the Sequoia Gigantea is accomplished through seeds. Until the age of 20, they can reproduce only through offshoots. The young trees begin reproduction only after 20 years. At any time, a mature tree can hold around 11 cones. Because of the impressive height, the seed can be carried by the wind up to 200m away.
The trees from Sequoiadendron Giganteum have difficulties in reproduction in the natural environment especially by being growth. This is owed to the necessity of a well irrigated mineral soil and to a whole sun exposure. In the last period, the American researchers realized the importance that the forest fires have in the process of reproducing. The fire does not take down these huge trees, but inhibits the development of soil vegetation, being in favor of the baby trees of sequoia in their growing period. As well, the fire generates hot air which forces the opening of the cones and the release of some great quantities of seeds over the optimum soil for the growth of the baby trees. The soil ashes also protect the seeds from the solar radiations.
Sequoia in Romania
Usually, this gigantic tree species lives in the forests of Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, at an altitude of over 2000 meters. For those who have never had the chance to meet these giants, Sequoia.ro presents the most important examples of the Sequoia trees from Romania:
The most imposing tree from Apuseni Mountains arrived at the base of Vladeasa Mountain more than a decade ago. The “Arborele de sequoia” forest reservation is situated on “Dealul Domnului” (God’s Hill) between Sacuieu commune and Rogojel village. Hungarians from around Huedin have planted some rare species here, such as “larita”, larch (conifers with deciduous needle-like leaves) and black pine. The two giants look with nostalgia toward the snowy Vladeasa Peak, dreaming of the North-American lands they were brought from. To view the area, click on this link. link.
The locals say that baron Dietrich Jozsef, the owner of a winery in this area, brought three sequoia gigantea seedlings from California in 1845 which he planted on Dealul Mare (Big Hill), near Maderat village. Even though to extend its roots and to normally develop the tree needed at least 10 meters of soil, it adapted very well in this area in spite of the soil which is only 2 meters deep. All three seedlings developed, but some years ago, one was struck by lightning and died. However, the other two are a real attraction for the tourists with a height of approximately 35 meters and a base diameter of over 5 meters. It takes four people to just barely hug the circumference of these magnificent giants. To view the area, click on this link. Special thanks to Claudiu Oltean for the GPX track of the Maderat tree.
The Sequoia trees at Baile Herculane prove that they are capable of developing in low-altitude conditions. Its position on Valea Cernei (Cerna’s Valley), at 160m altitude and parallel with Nisa and Venice, gives a climate with Mediterranean influences. Romanian and foreign tourists who pass this area are always impressed by its adaptation to this hot springs resort. The tree from Herculane is pretty small. It hasn’t reached maturity yet, even though it's 30 meters tall with a base diameter of 1.5 meters. Being a rare species, the tree was declared a Monument of Nature. To view the area, click on this link.
In Romania, Oradea is the city with the largest number
of Sequoia trees. The city hall decided to take
advantage of this natural wealth by building a park
that starts from the three Sequoia trees near the #14
General School. The three green mammoths will be
included in the tourist circuit of the city. According
to Marton Baroc, a scientific researcher, the area
with the three Sequoia trees was once a park of the
Baroc Palace. Today, they are over 100 years old with
a height that varies between 19 and 22 meters; their
diameters vary between 64 and 90 cm. To view the area,
click on this link.
Any help gathering information or photographs for this scope is greatly welcome and appreciated. Thank you.