There really are some amazing trees in California. I never get bored with them, and should get out to see more of them.

Tony Tomeo

The biggest, tallest and oldest trees in the World are all native to California. The biggest trees are the giant redwood, Sequoiadendron giganteum. The tallest trees are the coastal redwood, Sequoia sempervirens. The oldest trees are the bristlecone pines, Pinus longaeva. The biggest and the tallest are two of only three specie of redwood in the World, and except for a few coastal redwood that live barely north of the Oregon border, both are endemic only to California. Most of us know that the coastal redwood is the state tree of California. However, some believe that California is the only state with two state trees, which are the two native specie of redwood.

This gives arborists from California serious bragging rights.

Most of the arborists whom I work with are very familiar with the coastal redwood. Not only is it the most prominent tree in the Santa…

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8 thoughts on “General Sherman Tree

    1. Coastal redwoods grow wild here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just above the Santa Clara Valley. They are not as massive as the giant redwoods, but are a bit taller. (These are not the biggest ones of course) To me, they were always the ‘standard’ forest tree. When I was a kid, I thought that all forests were like these. The vast emptiness of the Mojave Desert is what gave me a ‘different’ perspective.


  1. I’m wondering about the word “believe” in your statement “some believe that California is the only state with two state trees.” Is that not a checkable fact? In Texas, all the nativeLupinus species have been granted the status of official state wildflower.

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    1. No.
      Coastal redwood was originally designated as the state tree of California a few years after California became a state, but a few years before the giant redwood was identified as a distinct species. Since it was the only known redwood at the time, it was identified simply as ‘redwood’, or more specifically, ‘California redwood’. That designation, without botanical name, remained when it became the Official State Tree decades later. That was in about 1937, so really should have been more precise.


    1. The palms are more fascinating than scenic. To most people, they likely look like a colony of feral Mexican fan palms out in the desert. I found them fascinating because I had never seen palms of any species in their natural environment, and these particular palms happen to be the only species that is native to California. They are still my favorite palm, even though they do not perform very well here.

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      1. History? Gee, even I do not know their history. They just live out in the desert and mind their own business. They are unpopular in landscapes because they do not perform as well as other palms outside of desert climates. (Not many people live in the harshest desert climates where the California fan palm is happiest.) It happens to be my favorite palm because it is so stately. It gets about half as tall as the common Mexican fan palm, but is generally quite vertical instead of curving. They were used in formal landscapes of the Victorian period, and were reasonably healthy where they were not irrigated. The driveway at the Winchester House used to be flanked by formal rows of them. Unfortunately, modern landscapes are irrigated much more than landscapes of the Victorian Period were. Old trees succumb to rot if irrigated more than they are accustomed to. In the wild, they can actually live on the edges of streams, like Palm Springs, but only because the ‘soil’ is very gravely, and the weather is very warm and arid.

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