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Washington State University

Pop Quiz Answer – Barking Up the Right Tree

Posted by rdsayler | March 21, 2023
Grizzly Giant Sequoia Tree
[Giant Grizzly, a large specimen of Giant Sequoia in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. Source: Wikipedia. Photo credit: Mike Murphy. License: CC BY-SA 3.0]


We hope you guessed correctly. The large conifer trees depicted in the pop quiz are Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), also commonly known as Sierra Redwoods, which are considered endangered by the IUCN. Their current natural distribution is limited to the western Sierra Nevada of California, but they are also planted as an ornamental tree around the world where sites allow for its eventual large size.  Wikipedia reports that the oldest known giant sequoia is about 3,200 to 3,266 years old and these trees are among the oldest living trees in the world.

As fire-adapted trees, the thick bark helps insulate and protect these trees from fires, however, large-scale and intense wildfires and climate change now threaten these trees.

The evolutionary history, ecology, and future conservation of these magnificent trees is fascinating to study. We encourage you learn more about giant sequoias through photos and information presented by the National Park Service and others.

The history behind the Giant Sequoias planted by someone in the city of Lewiston is unknown to us at the moment, but if we learn more about them, we’ll report back in the future.

To learn more about about our academic and research efforts in forest ecology in the WSU School of the Environment, see: Forest Ecology & Management for information on academic programs and courses and SoE Science News for current research news.

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