If you consider yourself a tree-hugger you might wanna think about grabbing an army of your tree-huggin’ friends to assist you in quite possibly the world’s greatest group hug with the biggest trees in the world by volume; which—now that I mention it—doesn’t seem like a bad idea… It could even land me my “15 minutes of fame” on TV or at least YouTube. Hey, with the stuff folks seem to go nuts over these days—it’s possible! Anyone wanna go hug some big trees with me? Anyone? …Okay, so it might take me a bit to get enough people to jump on that bandwagon with me, so until then, I’m just gonna talk up these tree-mendous trees.
I’ve been on a bit of a Bob Ross kick at home and ya know, it really is no wonder why he put so many of these statuesque marvels on canvas. Aside from their captivating and unprecedented beauty, trees have an abundance of imperative uses and quite frankly, our lives and the world we live in just wouldn’t be possible without them in it! Everyone knows that they provide us with oxygen as well as stabilizing the air and soil. Of course, without them, we would have to find alternative resources for everyday essentials considering so many different products that we own come from trees. The newspapers and magazines we read; the cardboard boxes that most of our food is packaged in; even as I sit here typing away about trees, the desk that houses my computer along with some important documents (ahem! Printed on paper which came from a tree.), and a few dozen books (hello! More tree products) is made of wood. Nothing fancy, like some of the pieces of furniture you would find on one of our other lists paying tribute to trees: 15 Most Expensive Wood for Furniture in the World, but it still serves its purpose nonetheless. I could go on and on about all the different products that we use that we may not even realize come from trees; such as, chewing gum, toothpaste, soap, and even certain cosmetic and medicinal products, but that is another list in itself; and in this list, I am focusing on the size of the biggest trees in the world by volume.
There are a handful of trees in my backyard, but one, in particular, stands out from the rest. It towers over all of the trees that surround it and even my two-story tobacco barn that stands in front of it, and I often can’t help but admire its magnificence and wonder how long it’s been standing. It’s crazy to think that the trees on this list will put that massive tree in my backyard to shame. Many of them have been around for hundreds if not THOUSANDS of years and have had a lot more time to grow into the monuments they have become known to be. Which is actually one thing that all of the trees I will mention have in common aside from being, well, huge. They are all also, very old.
Before I get started, obviously I’d like to get into what went into determining the volume of the largest trees in the world. Now, I assumed that I could just use the genius that got me into advanced math classes in high school to determine a basic formula for calculating the volume of a tree. I figured since trees are somewhat cylindrical in shape that I could essentially use the same formula I would use to find the volume of a cylinder. I quickly found that coming up with the volume of a tree can be much more complicated than just finding the area and height of the tree and multiplying the two numbers together to get its volume. I was, however, on the right path, as there is a simple method in figuring out the volume of a tree where you do, in fact, make the assumption of the trunk being cylindrical and in turn, use the formula for calculating the volume of a cylinder to come up with the volume of the tree. But, much like us, no two trees are alike, and their range of different shapes and sizes is much more vast than our basic body shapes and sizes. However, all of the trees that make up the 11 biggest trees in the world by volume have that familiar tree shape, so lucky for me (and you, of course), I don’t have to get into the more involved approach of finding their volume. I will, however, point out that while there are a number of different ways one might come up with the height of any given tree, there is a pretty standard way to measure its girth (or circumference), and that is, quite simply, to take the measurement of the trunk at about four to five feet above ground level. This is because it is noted that most trees are thicker at the base and tend to gradually taper as you go up, so measuring the trunk’s girth at breast level is more accurate than taking a measurement right at the base. Luckly for us we found that data on Monumental Trees. Easy-peasy, right? Now, onto our biggest trees in the world by volume!
11. Eucalyptus Delegatensis
Spoiler alert! The eucalyptus delegatensis isn’t the only one of its genus type found on this list. So, it’s safe to say that eucalypts (so they’re called), in general, are a rather large tree by volume. The eucalyptus delegatensis, in particular, is more commonly referred to as the alpine ash and the largest known of its kind is located in Tasmania, Australia. Other nicknames of the alpine ash are white-top, gum-topped stringybark, and woollybutt… Just for fun, I’ll stick with woollybutt! The woollybutt in Tasmania can be found standing just a tad over 288 feet tall in Styx Valley with a total volume of 10,100 cubic feet!
10. Eucalyptus Obliqua
Well, well; another eucalypt! Told ya there’d be a few mentioned as they all typically grow to be quite tall. It, too, is located in Tasmania; which is fitting, since you often hear it go by Tasmanian oak or Australian oak. Like the alpine ash, the Australian oak has a slew of common nicknames such as brown top, brown top stringbark, messmate, stringybark, and messmate stringybark. The largest recorded Australian oak goes by the name of “Gothmog”, so if you’re at all familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien novels you can imagine how it got that name. Gothmog stands roughly 295 feet tall with a total recorded volume of 11,920 cubic feet.
9. Sitka Spruce
As we climb higher up the list of the world’s most massive living monuments, we’ll find that a lot of these trees start to have more common names they go by instead of just their scientific name along with a slew of funky monikers. The sitka spruce happens to be the tree’s common name, while its scientific name is picea sitchensis. And the names don’t seem to stop there.Many of the world’s largest documented trees seem to have specific names given to them and are measured regularly. The biggest sitka spruce has been named “Queets Spruce”, and she lives in the Olympic National Park located in the state of Washington. Standing at 248 feet tall with a diameter of just under 15 feet, Queets Spruce has a total volume of 11,920 cubic feet.
8. Coast Douglas-fir
Located in British Columbia, Canada stands the world’s largest recorded coast douglas fir that goes by the name of Red Creek Tree or Red Creek Fir; which is so much easier to remember (and pronounce, for that matter) than its scientific name: pseudotsuga menziesii. Yeah! Try saying that one five times really fast. Actually, try saying it just once! Even with the loss of some of its height due to a wind storm a number of years ago, it still manages to be the largest of its kind standing 242 feet tall and roughly 43 feet around with a total volume of 12,320 cubic feet! Kind of makes you wonder if it would have beat out some of these other trees had it stayed intact.
7. Tasmanian Blue Gum
The tree so nice they named it twice! Okay, technically speaking Rullah Longatyle—a.k.a Strong Girl—the Tasmanian blue gum, or scientifically eucalyptus globulus, has four names. I kinda just dig its common name, since it makes me think of the Looney Tunes character, Taz, and of course, candy! This particular Tasmanian blue gum is coincidentally located in Tasmania, and has a total volume of 13,000 cubic feet with a height of about 270 feet and a girth of just over 62 feet.
6. Eucalyptus Regnans
If you haven’t already figured out, most all of the biggest trees on the planet by volume have names given to them. Eucalyptus Regnan, an evergreen tree, goes by the name of “Still Sorrow”. However, it also has a slew of common names it tends to go by depending what region you are in. These names include, but are not limited to mountain ash, giant ash, and Victorian ash. I, myself, am more familiar with the terms mountain or giant ash. These are among some of the tallest of eucalyptus species on Earth, many reaching heights of over 300 feet tall! Still Sorrow happens to be the largest recorded mountain ash at 13,808 cubic feet by volume.
5. Western Redcedar
You can find the largest known redcedar in the world growing by Lake Quinault just north of Aberdeen, Washington; which is where it gets its name, “Quinault Lake Redcedar”. Not only is she one of the world’s largest trees with a total volume of 17,650 cubic feet, but she is the biggest tree found in the state of Washington. Her stump is rather cave-like with an opening that one can walk right into; she almost looks like something out of a fairytale.
Okay, so the kauri tree—which is a species native to New Zealand—might not be the largest on this list, but it most certainly is one of the most interesting! More precisely, the most popular of its kind is known as Tāne Mahuta has a rather interesting legend behind it. As the largest known kauri on the planet, Tāne Mahuta is actually a name derived from Māori that translates to “Lord of the Forest”; a fitting name, considering it has a volume of 18,222 cubic feet. The name also refers to one of the Māori gods. Legend has it that Tāne was essentially the son of the sky and Mother Earth. At one time, the sky and the Earth were connected; which caused a world of darkness. In an attempt to separate his father and mother Tāne thrust his legs into the sky, pushing his father away from his mother and thus shedding light on the world and creating new life. Neat story, huh?
3. Montezuma Cypress
Short, fat and proud of that! That’s right, the taxodium mucronatum (or Montezuma cypress) does not grow into a very tall tree, however, what is lacking in its height is certainly made up for in its girth (that’s what she said), and the stoutest Montezuma cypress in the world is known as El Árbol del Tule. Indeed Mexico’s most famous tree, it is also a popular tourist attraction, and with a total volume of 25,000 cubic feet—most of which being made up by its girth—it’s no wonder why so many flock to it each year.
2. Coast Redwood
It’s no secret: there are some freaking TALL trees standing in California’s Redwood National Park, as redwoods are known to reach impressive heights. We’re talkin’ some reaching TWICE the height of the Statue of Liberty (the statue, itself—not including the foundation)! Hyperion is the tallest known coast redwood, and standing at a massive 379 feet tall, it is not only the tallest redwood but the tallest documented tree on the planet! Surprisingly, Hyperion is NOT the largest coast redwood in terms of volume! No, ma’am! At only 19,488 cubic feet, there is one coast redwood, in particular, that takes the cake—the voluminous cake, that is. That tree goes by the name of ‘Lost Monarch’, and it, too, is located in California. Not nearly as tall as Hyperion, being as though Hyperion has it beat by almost 60 feet, but its girth along with its height makes a total volume of a whopping 42,500 cubic feet!
1. Giant Sequoia
Here she is, folks. The moment you’ve all been waiting for! The absolute biggest tree in the world by volume is (drumroll, please) ‘General Sherman’! While he’s nowhere near the height of Hyperion, he still stands and impressive 274 feet tall; which can only mean that he substantially more stout than Hyperion AND Lost Monarch, because his total volume blows them both away! You ready for this? General Sherman has a total volume of 52,508 cubic feet! Holy smokes, folks! Can you remember back to the first tree mentioned on our list? Think of the Lost Monarch PLUS the eucalyptus delegatensis, and you end up with General Sherman! Put THAT into perspective! Makes me wanna buy a ticket to California and check her out for myself.