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The Wonder Of The Giant Sequoias

662 words - 3 pages

The largest living things on earth are the Giant Sequoia trees. The seventy-five groves of the giant sequoia that exist today are located on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada from Placer County to southern Tulare County, California. The groves occur between elevations of 4,500 and 8,400 feet and range in size from 1,000 to 4000 acres. Their bark is as much as 4 feet thick, 50 feet long, and branches 100 feet off the ground. Some of the largest trees measure 35 feet in basel diameter (the diameter as measured at the base of the tree). Giant Sequoias are among the most fire, disease, and insect resistant trees known. Several anatomical features, such as bark, cones, and crown structure, are responsible for this tremendous resistance. The thick, fibrous, cinnamon-red bark contains tannin, a natural fire extinguisher, which also is suspected to inhibit wood borers and fungi.. Giant Sequoias can grow up to 1 to 2 feet tall per year until its between 200 to 300 feet high, then like people they grow out. The most famous and largest Sequoia tree is the General Sherman. It is 274.9 feet tall (tall as a 27 story buliding, a 13 story building would barely touch its first huge branch), 102.6 feet wide around the bottom, and its volume in cubic feet is 52, 508. Some trees have survived for 2,000 or 3,000 years, some even longer. The cones of a Giant Sequoia are surprsingly small, obtaining a maximum length of only 9 centimeters. The cones take in excess of 2 years to mature and may remain on the tree up to 20 years. The Giant Sequoia develops on average 1,500 cones per year. As a result of the massive cone production and the tremendous longevity of cones, a mature tree may have up to 40,000 cones at any one time. Of these 40,000 cones, 1/3 are dried, nonfunctional, seedless cones. The remainder are green and closed, awaiting fire or the long horned beetle to...

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