Giant sequoia Facts

Giant sequoia Facts
Giant sequoia is the largest species on the planet. It belongs to the family Cupressaceae. This plant can be found on the western slopes of Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Giant sequoia requires dry summers and cold, snowy winters for successful growth. It lives on alluvial soils on the altitude of 4000 to 7000 feet. Cultivation of giant sequoias is nearly impossible due to specific climate conditions and unusual requirements associated with reproduction. Giant sequoias were discovered in the 19th century. Due to their incredible size, giant sequoias instantly became targeted by loggers. Luckily, people realized that these giants cannot be exploited in commercial purposes and placed them under protection. Despite that, giant sequoias are still on the list of endangered plants.
Interesting Giant sequoia Facts:
Giant sequoia can reach 164 to 279 feet in height and 20 to 26 feet in diameter.
Giant sequoia has deeply furrowed bark that is 3 feet thick and brown in color.
Branches grow on the upper half of the tree. They form rounded crown.
Giant sequoia is evergreen plant. It develops miniature, scale-like leaves that are spirally arranged on the branches.
Green cones appear on the tree at the age of 12 years, but they remain closed until the age of 20, when giant sequoia reaches maturity.
Male and female cones develop on the same tree. Adult tree has 11.000 brown cones that are 2.8 inches long (size of a chicken egg).
Each cone produces around 230 seeds. They are miniature, flat and brown in color. Giant sequoia releases 300.000 to 400.000 seeds annually.
Longhorn beetle lays egg in the cones. Larvae dig holes in the cones and facilitate opening of scales and release of seeds.
Wind, insects and rodents spread seeds of giant sequoia. Seed can be dispersed 590 feet away from the parent tree.
Fire plays important role in the life of sequoia. It clears the ground from competing plants, facilitates opening of the cones (and release of seeds) and enriches the ground with minerals required for the growth of new seedlings.
Not so long ago, people tried to keep the forest fire under control to protect remaining sequoias. Without knowing that fire plays crucial role in the life of sequoia, people actually prevented successful regeneration of sequoias in the wild.
Bark of sequoia is resistant to fire. Traces of forest fire can be seen on the trunk of some old trees, but those trees are healthy beneath the surface.
Wood of giant sequoia is brittle and it cannot be used in the construction industry. Even though giant sequoias are extremely tall and heavy, they can be used only for the production of fence posts and toothpicks.
Giant sequoias are popular tourist attraction. The biggest specimens are known as: General Sherman, General Grant, President, Lincoln, Stag and Bole.
Giant sequoia can survive more than 3500 years in the wild.

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