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Big Tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

S. gigantea. S. wellingtonia. S. wellingtoniana. Wellingtonia gigantea. W. californica.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Big Tree
Sequoiadendron giganteum

Wood – coarse-grained, very light, soft, very durable, rather brittle. Used for shingle, construction, fence posts etc[11, 46, 61, 82, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame in light shade. Seed can also be sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Germination rates are usually very low[11], two months cold stratification might help[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Plants will require some protection from cold and spring frosts for their first year or two outdoors[78]. If there are sufficient seeds, they can be sown in a lightly shaded outdoor bed in late March[78]. Grow them on for two years in the seed bed before planting them out into their permanent positions in late autumn or early spring.
An easily cultivated, fast-growing tree[81], it prefers a deep rich soil and a sunny sheltered position[1, 11, 81]. Thrives in any soil, site or exposure[81] including a hot dry position. Tolerates light shade only when very young[200], older plants strongly dislike shade[11]. Does not thrive on shallow chalk[200]. Established plants are drought resistant[200]. Dislikes atmospheric pollution[200]. This species is the biggest (but not the tallest) tree in the world[81] and can weigh up to 2000 tonnes[185, 200]. It is also a very long-lived tree in the wild, specimens have been found that are 3500 years old[81]. Fairly fast growing in height in Britain, annual increases of 60cm for the first 50 years or more are common[185]. Increase in girth can be spectacular, 7 – 10cm a year being the average[185]. Trees appear to be long-lived in Britain[185]. Best planted into its permanent position when no more than 30 – 50 cm tall[200]. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[81, 200]. The foliage is hard and harsh to the touch and readily emits a scent of aniseed[185]. Cones take 2 years to mature[82]. In its native habitat the cones are retained on the tree with viable seed for up to 30 years[185]. The cones open after the heat of a forest fire[200].
South-western N. America – California.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.