Sequoiadendron giganteum
Common name: 
Sierra Redwood
Giant Sequoia
Big Tree
se-KWOY-a-DEN-dron ji-GAN-te-um
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, fast growing to 100 ft (30 m), 300+ ft (92 m) in wild, dense and pyramidal-oval in youth.  Bark is reddish-brown, fibrous, very thick, spongy, deeply furrowed.  Leaves blue green, scale-like, sharp pointed (awl-shaped), on cord-like branchlets, crowded and overlapping in three longitudinal rows, 3-6 mm long on leaders. Monoecious  -  male and female cones on the same tree.  The cone buds form during late summer. The pollen producing male cones are terminal on short shoots.  Pollination occurs in late winter or spring when the female conelets are only 2-3 times larger than the twigs. However, fertilization does not occur until summer, by which time the cones are almost full size.  Embryos develop during the next summer and reach maturity at the end of the second growing season.  A single egg-shaped mature reddish-brown cone, 5-9 cm long, yields an average of 200 seeds.
  • Sun.  Prefers a deep, rich soil with plenty of moisture, but it can withstand drier conditions than Sequoia sempervirens.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 6      Native to California Sierra Nevada Mountains above 4,500 ft.  A Giant Sequoia named General Sherman, located in Sequoia National Park, is by volume the largest known living single stem tree on Earth.  The third largest tree by volume is The President, which is also in the Park.  It is shown in total in a spectacular photograph by National Geographic.
  • dendron: a tree,     giganteum: gigantic
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: large trees on north side of Memorial Union Quad, they were planted sometime before 1926.  (In 1926 a small article in the campus newspaper, The Daily Barometer, mentions them as small trees.)

For the story of the finding and naming of this tree see, The “discovery” and naming of Sequoiadendron giganteum:

Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, ~93 years-old, Oregon State Univ. campus

    plant habit, ~93 years-old, Oregon State Univ. campus

  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • foliage


  • branchlets


  • branchlets


  • scale-like leaves

    scale-like leaves

  • needles, comparison

    needles, comparison

  • branchlets with male cones

    branchlets with male cones

  • developing female (seed) cones

    developing female (seed) cones

  • seed cone at seed drop

    seed cone at seed drop

  • trunks


  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark