sequoia

(redirected from big tree)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

sequoia

sequoia (sĭkwoiˈə), name for the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and for the big tree, or giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), both huge, coniferous evergreen trees of the bald cypress family, and for extinct related species. Sequoias probably originated over 100 million years ago. Once widespread in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the trees were almost exterminated by the ice sheets of the glacial ages. Several species are known only by fossil remains; some such fossils have been found in the Petrified Forest in Arizona.

The two living species survive only in a narrow strip near the Pacific coast of the United States. The redwood occurs along the coast of California and S Oregon, often in easily lumbered, pure stands. Growing 100 to 385 ft (30–117 m) high, it is probably the tallest tree in the world; the tallest known tree is the redwood Hyperion (379.1 ft/115.5 m), in Redwood National Park. The redwood is able to obtain the abundant moisture needed to sustain its towering growth by capturing water from regularly occurring ocean fogs. The water then drips down from the leaves and branches to the soil, where it penetrates to be absorbed by the roots. The redwood's trunk is 20 to 25 ft (6.1–7.6 m) in diameter, and its needlelike leaves are usually bluish green. Some redwoods are believed to be over 2,000 years old. The big tree, 150 to 325 ft (46–99 m) tall and with a trunk 10 to 30 ft (3–9.1 m) in diameter, grows on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California. It reaches an even greater age than the redwood; some individuals are believed to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old. The leaves are small, overlapping scales. Both trees have deeply grooved, reddish bark and soft, straight-grained, reddish heartwood whose resistance to decay makes it especially valuable for outdoor building purposes, e.g., for shingles, siding, and flumes. Although the sequoias are protected in Kings Canyon, Redwood, Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and several California state parks, their existence elsewhere is threatened by exploitation.

China's deciduous dawn redwood tree (Metasequoia) is believed to be a related species and is perhaps an ancestor of the California redwood. This genus was named and described from fossil remains a few years before the few living specimens were discovered during World War II. Some thousand trees were subsequently found, and they were on the verge of extinction by lumbering. The fast-growing dawn redwoods are now propagated elsewhere. The East Indian and South American redwoods are in the unrelated brazilwood genus.

The sequoia is classified in the division Pinophyta, class Pinopsida, order Coniferales, family Taxodiaceae.

Bibliography

See N. Taylor, The Ageless Relicts (1963); R. Silverberg, Vanishing Giants (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sequoia

 

a genus of coniferous evergreen trees of the family Taxodiaceae. The sole species is the redwood (S. sempervirens). The redwood and the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are among the tallest trees in the world. The redwood reaches heights greater than 100 m and diameters of 8.5 m. It forms dense forests in the mountains of California and southern Oregon. Fossils of the tree have been found in Europe and Asia. The wood is used in construction, for example, for underwater structures. It is rarely cultivated; in the USSR it is grown in Western Transcaucasia and also on the southern coast of the Crimea.

REFERENCE

Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sequoia

[si′kwȯi·yə]
(botany)
A genus of conifers having overlapping, scalelike evergreen leaves and vertical grooves in the trunk; the giant sequoia (Sequoia gigantea) is the largest and oldest of all living things.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

sequoia

either of two giant Californian coniferous trees, Sequoia sempervirens (redwood) or Sequoiadendron giganteum (formerly Sequoia gigantea) (big tree or giant sequoia): family Taxodiaceae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
Para Bruin, the rubber bear, climbed to a limb of the big tree, rolled himself into a ball, and dropped to the platform, whence he bounded up again to the limb.
One of the big trees had been partly chopped through, and standing beside it, with an uplifted axe in his hands, was a man made entirely of tin.
There were shrubberies and big trees, but I remember the clear assurance I felt that none of them concealed him.
But at last I seed a bit o' white by a rock on top o' th' moor an' I climbed up an' found th' little 'un half dead wi' cold an' clemmin'." While he talked, Soot flew solemnly in and out of the open window and cawed remarks about the scenery while Nut and Shell made excursions into the big trees outside and ran up and down trunks and explored branches.
I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them.
The Big Tree Restaurant in Mombasa has been shut down for encroaching on the Indian Ocean.
A University of Illinois Extension forester will present the public with information about large tree specimens suitable for inclusion in the Illinois Big Tree Register.
The National Big Tree Program was established that same year and the national register of American Forests Champion Trees --then called the American Big Trees Report--was published the following year.
The projects were funded by the national Big Tree Plant campaign, led by Defra and the Forestry Commission.
Travel Business Review-August 3, 2012--Hilton Dunkeld House Partners with Perthshire Big Tree Country Initiative(C)2012] ENPublishing - http://www.enpublishing.co.uk
The Jordan Well museum opened its new creative installation, In The Big Tree Top, on Saturday and it is already a hit with children and adults.