These skyscraping superstars are the stalwart examples of their species.
Trees may be stuck in the ground, but they've clearly got some enviable traits – I mean, who wouldn't want to live in a pretty forest for a few thousand years? But despite all the things that trees are famous for, it's perhaps their height that inspires the most reverie. Humans may have a lot of cool tricks, but we'll never get to grow up to be 35 stories tall.
In this regard, trees get to inhabit the best of all worlds, heaven and earth. With roots planted in the ground they get a taste of soil, while their upper reaches soak up the sun and touch the sky. But unlike the proverbial beanstalk of Jack's, scientists say they can't grow upwards forever. Theoretically, the maximum height for trees is between 400 and 426 feet (122 and 130 meters) – and while trees of the past may have attained such majestic heights, some of the world's tallest trees were sadly felled for lumber. The towering trees that remain, however, are still staggeringly lofty. Consider the following 10 trees, each one the tallest in the world by species.
All hail the king! While King Stringy may sound more like a cartoon character than a tree, this beautiful brown top stringbark (Eucalyptus obliqua) can be found in Tasmania, Australia. These trees, and this one in particular, are named for their thick, stringy bark, as you can see in the photo above.
9. Alpine ash in Florentine Valley: 288 feet (87.9 meters)
Another member of the eucalyptus family, this blue gum em>Eucalyptus globulus also lives in Tasmania, Australia. As pointed out by Gatis Pavils at wondermondo.com this giant gem of a blue gum is almost perilously close to clearcut areas, as seen above. "Happily in this case," writes Pavlis, "nature conservation laws managed to save this tree from cutting - Forestry Tasmania follows the rule that trees above 85 m height are spared from cutting..."
There is actually a posse of white nights, a group of super-tall manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) that have called the Evercreech Forest Reserve in Tasmania, Australia, their home for some 300 years. Tasmania appears to be a haven for super tall eucalyptus trees.
6. Yellow meranti in Borneo: 309 feet (94.1 meters)
This incredible example of Shorea faguetiana can be found in Danum Valley Conservation Area, in Sabah on the island of Borneo. It has an almost-as-tall famous sibling in Malaysia (pictured above), which we have written about previously: Tallest tree in the tropics discovered in Malaysia.
A few rare giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) have grown taller than 300 feet, but it is the sequoia’s giant girth that sets it apart. They are usually more than 20 feet in diameter and up to 35 feet across – and in fact, the largest tree in the world by volume is the General Sherman, above, a giant sequoia, boasting a total of 52,508 cubic feet! How impressive then that one of these giant elders, found in California's Sequoia National Forest, also ranks as one of the tallest trees on the planet. Read more about these dynamos here: 16 spectacular facts about giant sequoias
Located somewhere in California's Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (pictured above), the exact location of this stately sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) remains a secret, a courtesy afforded by foresters to a number of superlative trees. Other notable trees in this forest of giants include Big Tree, Corkscrew Redwood, and the Cathedral Trees.
3. Doerner Fir: 327 feet (99.7 meters)
The Doerner Fir is neck-and-neck with number two below, vying for the status of tallest non-redwood tree on the planet. This ~500 year-old coastal Douglas fir grows in a remnant old-growth stand on the east side of Coos County in Oregon; a state in which most of the largest, oldest trees were felled in the frenzy of logging.
Centurion, in Arve Valley, Tasmania, Australia, is the world's tallest known individual Eucalyptus regnans tree; meaning it's the tallest tree of the second-tallest tree species in the world. Which is a pretty special claim to fame; that this tree has its own Facebook page says a lot about its popularity.
Ah, the grandparent of all tall trees: Hyperion! This remarkable coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) was discovered in 2006 and is so tall that its top cannot be seen. Living in a secret location in Redwood National Park, California, it lives among other notable specimens including Helios at 374.3 feet (114.1 meters), Icarus at 371.2 feet (113.1 meters) and Daedalus at 363.4 feet (110.8 meters). You can read much more about these arboreal wonders here: 11 facts about coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world