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Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant sequoia)
Hampton, Nan

Sequoiadendron giganteum

Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J. Buchholz

Giant Sequoia, Giant-sequoia, Giant Redwood, Sierra Redwood

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Sequoia gigantea, Sequoia wellingtonia

USDA Symbol: SEGI2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The Giant-sequoia is a massive evergreen tree, maturing to 250 ft. high with a girth of 80 ft. Bluish-green needles are crowded and spirally arranged on the twigs. The fluted trunk and red-brown bark are attractive landscape features, revealed as the tree loses its lower branches. The tree retains a narrow, pyramidal crown of foliage in the upper reaches at maturity. One of the world’s largest trees with fibrous, reddish-brown trunk much enlarged and buttressed at base, fluted into ridges, and conspicuously narrowed or tapered above; narrow, conical crown of short, stout, horizontal branches reaches nearly to base. Giant trees have tall, bare trunk and irregular, open crown.

This rare species ranks among the world's oldest trees; felled trees show annual rings indicating up to 3200 years of age. Almost all Giant Sequoias are protected in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia national parks, in 4 national forests, and in state parks and forests. It is a popular, large ornamental tree in moist, cool temperate climates along the Pacific Coast and around the world. The lumber is no longer used, although many trees were cut and wasted in the early logging days. Seedlings and saplings are killed by forest fires, but the very thick bark of mature trees offers resistance. Douglas squirrels cut and store quantities of mature cones, and sparrows, finches, and chipmunks destroy many seedlings.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 250 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May


Native Distribution: Placer to Tulare Co., CA
Native Habitat: Western Sierra Nevada slopes from 4300-8000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Deep, well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Giant sequoia is a fast-growing specimen tree useful only on very large properties.


Description: Propagate from seed. Germination ranges from 30-40%. Optimum temperatures for germination range from 60-70 degrees.
Seed Collection: Cones remain attached to the tree for several years, and much of the seed will be retained. As soon as cones are removed from the tree, they start to open. Fresh cones can be collected in and after August. Store in plastic bag in freezer until ready to use.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no pretreatment, although 1 month stratification may improve results.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Sequoiadendron giganteum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Sequoiadendron giganteum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Sequoiadendron giganteum


Record Modified: 2023-03-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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