I'm just going to do my favorites. You'll need to go to the site to see all 10. Happy Friday! --Gene
From oldest to tallest to most sacred and more, in celebration of Arbor Day we present a brief who's-who of arboreal heros.
There are oh so many reasons why we should thank our lucky stars for the trees that we share this planet with. They are the gentle giants who seem to have gotten the short end of the stick, so to speak. Stuck in their place without voice or arms, they are helplessly subjected to human folly – the poor things. They are generally afforded with few rights and a general lack of deep respect by many, yet meanwhile, we are so incredibly reliant on their existence: they pump out the oxygen we need to live and they absorb carbon dioxide; they remove pollution; the cool and provide shade; they create food, control erosion, the list goes on and on and on. So with that in mind, we thought we'd give a shout-out to a handful of remarkable trees we have in our midst.
credit: Rick Goldwaser/flickr
Considered the world's oldest tree, the ancient bristlecone pine named Methuselah lives at 10,000 feet above sea level in the Inyo National Forest, California. Hidden amongst its family in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest of the White Mountains, Methuselah is somewhere around 5,000 years old. For its protection, the location is kept a secret by the forest service – which means that nobody is exactly sure what Methuselah looks like, but the ancient bristlecone pine pictured above could be it. Then again, maybe not. It's a mysterious Methuselah.
The tallest living tree is a towering 379.1-foot coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) discovered by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor in California's Redwood National Park in 2006. Hyperion is a trooper; it survives on a hillside, rather than the more-typical alluvial flat, with 96 percent of the surrounding area having been logged of its original coast redwood growth. The tree-discovering duo had earlier found two other coast redwoods in the same park – Helios (376.3 feet) and Icarus (371.2 feet) – which both also beat the previous record held by Stratosphere Giant. (there's a video on the site showing a person climbing this tree to measure it)
credit: Doug Peabody
In 1630, an English Puritan named John Endicott – serving as the premier governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony – planted one of the first cultivated fruit trees in America. Upon planting the pear sapling imported from across the pond, Endicott proclaimed, "I hope the tree will love the soil of the old world and no doubt when we have gone the tree will still be alive." Indeed, 385 years later, the tree lays claim to the title of oldest living cultivated fruit tree in North America ... and still offers its pears to passers-by.
credit: Mike Baird/Flickr
How do you say majestic? How about "the General Sherman Tree." This hulking grand dame in California's Sequoia National Park is the largest, by volume, known living single stem tree in the world. This giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is neither the tallest known living tree, nor is it the widest or oldest – but with its height of 275 feet, diameter of 25 feet and estimated bole volume of 52,513 cubic feet, it's the most voluminous. And with a respectable age of 2,300–2,700 years, it is one of the longest-lived of all trees on the planet to boot.
To see the other 6 trees, go to: