08. Wellingtonia


Sequoiadendron giganteum J.Buchholz

Native Range: The western United States to the west of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The biggest trees in the world are Sequoiadendron giganteum growing in the United States.

  • The species was first introduced into Britain in 1853 by John Matthew who sent seeds to his father in Perth.
  • William Lobb also sent seeds to the famous plant nursery of James Veitch and Co. in Chelsea. There they propagated trees for more general sale (12 guineas a dozen).
  • ‘Sequoia’ is thought to be in honour of Sequoyah (c1765-1843), the first native American to convert the (Cherokee) language into written form; ‘Dendron’ is Greek for ‘tree’.
  • In an attempt to save the remaining stands of Sequoiadendron giganteum from loggers, John Muir of Dunbar (1838-1914) campaigned in the United States for a policy of forest conservation. This led to the first national park.
  • The timber of the tree is brittle and of low value as lumber. Undeterred, the loggers felled the great trees for roof shingles (wooden slates) and cheap fencing for farmers.
  • The trees are considered young or immature until they are around 100 years old when they may have grown up to 50 metres tall.
  • The number of naturally occurring Sequoiadendron giganteum is declining and the ‘Big Trees’ now have IUCN endangered status.

This tree was planted in 1993 and is documented on the National Tree Register. If you would like to see mature examples of Giant Redwoods then visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Benmore near Dunoon. It is a member of the National Tree Collections of Scotland. Benmore has a long avenue of fifty Giant Redwoods, planted in 1863 by the then owners, the Younger family. 

UCN red list at www.iucnredlist.org

Eckenwalder, J. (2009) Conifers of the World, Timber Press

Kelly, J., (1995) Hillier’s Gardeners Guide to trees and shrubs, David and Charles

Bean, W.J., (1989), Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles (8th edn) John Murray London