Most of this website is given over to wildlife, but flora – including trees – can be just as impressive and breath-taking as fauna, especially the largest and tallest trees in the world.
Although trees are rooted to the ground and lack the capability to move around, they do have the ability to grow upwards and outwards, reaching for the sky. Scientists believe that there’s actually a maximum theoretical height trees can grow to, of between 122 and 130 meters. The tallest known trees alive today don’t quite reach this theoretical height, but are still jaw-droppingly tall, reaching heights of over 110 meters.
The exact locations of many of the tallest trees are not public knowledge, but the western USA is home to redwoods and sequoias, the tallest species of trees on Earth today. Other towering trees of over 90 meters tall are found in the remote tropics of Borneo and Tasmania’s ancient forests.
Below we run through the world’s 10 tallest trees, the 20 tallest species of trees on Earth by average height, the highest trees by continent, and the biggest trees ever to have graced the Earth with their presence. Let’s start with the individual tallest trees in the world, with this list which includes just the one tallest tree per species:
Hyperion, 115.9 meters
Coast redwood in Redwood National Park, California, USA
Hyperion in California’s Redwood National Park is the tallest tree in the United States, and on the planet, though to keep the tree safe from vandalism and damage its exact location is kept secret.
Hyperion was discovered in 2006 by naturalists Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins, and climbed and measured by Stephen Sillett for its official height. Along with its incredible height, Hyperion has a diameter of 4.8 meters, and contains over 500 cubic meters of wood.
Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) typically live for between 500 to 700 years, though some have been documented living to more than 2,000 years old. Hyperion is thought to be somewhere between 600 and 800 years old, and still growing strong.
There are many other notably tall coast redwoods in Redwood National Park. The giant redwoods include Helios (114.1 meters), Icarus (113.1 meters), and Daedalus (110.8 meters)… but as the daddy of the lot, Hyperion deserves its impressive name and the title of the world’s tallest tree.
Menara, 100.8 meters
Yellow meranti in Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
Menara is the tallest yellow meranti tree (Shorea faguetiana) discovered by researchers from the University of Cambridge studying biodiversity in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. There has been some controversy over the exact height, but recent measurements put it at 100.8 meters – high in this list of world’s tallest trees.
Unusually for this tall tree list, Menara was discovered using a laser technology known as ‘lidar’ (light detection and ranging). A small plane with a lidar device flew over the canopy shooting laser pulses to the ground to create a topographical map. After the tree was found the researchers understandably named it Menara – the Malay word for “tower.”
Centurion, 99.8 meters
Mountain ash, Arve Valley, Tasmania, Australia
Number three on this list is another well-named tree – Centurion, named after the Roman centurions. The tree is currently recorded as being 99.82 meters tall with a diameter of 4.05 meters, though is still growing strong so may break the 100 meter mark in the coming years.
This giant of a tree is the tallest mountain ash tree (Eucalyptus regnans), and can be found in the Arve valley of Australia’s island state, Tasmania. It also holds the titles of the tallest flowering plant and tallest hardwood tree in the world.
In February 2019 Centurion very narrowly survived the Tasmanian bushfires which wiped out much of the surrounding flora, and damaged the base of Centurion’s trunk. This damage could prevent Centurion from growing much higher.
Doerner Fir, 99.7 meters
Coast Douglas-fir, Coos County, Oregon, USA
The fourth tallest tree in the world, Doerner Fir, is a Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) living in old-growth in eastern Coos County in Oregon, USA.
At 99.7 meters tall, Doerner Fir is a matter of centimeters shorter than Centurion (the world’s third tallest tree) and has been lucky to survive the intense logging of larger, older trees that’s taken place across much of Oregon.
Raven’s Tower, 96.7 meters
Sitka spruce, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, USA
Another mighty American tree with a secret location, Raven’s Tower stands tall somewhere in California’s Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The tree is a sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), discovered by Michael Taylor and Ron Hildebrandt in 2001, and measured in 2007 at 96.7 meters tall.
Raven’s Tower has a highly localized ecosystem of roots and plants growing on it up to well above ground level, using its immense size to support other forest life.
Raven’s Tower is surrounded by many other massive trees, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park was in fact conceived and established to protect these giant trees.
Unnamed giant sequoia, 95.7 meters
Giant sequoia, Sequoia National Forest, California, USA
Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) typically grow to around 90 meters, but this one unnamed specimen in California’s Sequoia National Forest reaches the incredible height of 95.7 meters.
Not only are these sequoias in North America tall trees, but they are some of the widest trees on Earth, with a girth of up to 7 meters that needs to be seen to be believed. In fact, if we were measuring the largest trees by volume, General Sherman – a giant sequoia with a diameter of 7.7 meters – would be top of the list, having a volume of 1,487 cubic meters!
White Knight, 91 meters
Manna gum, Evercreech Forest Reserve, Tasmania, Australia
Evercreech Forest Reserve in Tasmania, Australia, is home to a group of super-tall manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) that are around 300 years old. The tallest of these – reaching a whopping 91 meters – is a tree known as White Knight.
Unlike many of the other tall trees on this list, the White Knight’s location is not a secret. In fact, it’s a popular local landmark near the town of Mathinna and attracts large numbers of sightseers.
Neeminah Loggorale Meena, 90.7 meters
Blue gum, Tasmania, Australia
Another tall tree from Tasmania, Neeminah Loggorale Meena is the tallest known blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) on Earth. Its unusual and unusually long name means “mother and daughter” in the Aboriginal language.
The giant tree stands in the middle of an area that’s been clearcut, and thankfully local conservation laws mean that Timber Tasmania (previously Forestry Tasmania) spares any trees higher than 85 meters from being felled.
Unnamed Alpine Ash, 87.9 meters
Alpine ash, Florentine Valley, Tasmania, Australia
Yet another big tree from Tasmania, the Florentine Valley is known for its remote old-growth forest, home to some huge Alpine ash trees (Eucalyptus delegatensis).
The largest of these is still unnamed, but has been measured at 87.9 meters tall.
King Stringy, 86 meters
Brown top stringbark, Tasmania, Australia
The wonderfully named King Stringy is last on this list of the 10 tallest trees, but is worthy of its crown of the tallest brown top stringbark (Eucalyptus obliqua) worldwide, at 86 meters high.
Despite this species being extremely sturdy These trees are named for their thick, stringy bark that flakes off the tree easily.
Some bonus tall trees
The tallest tree in Africa:
Africa’s tallest tree was recently discovered in a remote valley on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Measuring 81.5 meters high, this Entandrophragma excelsum is one of a very few giant trees on the African continent.
The tallest tree in Europe:
The title of the tallest tree in Europe goes to the renowned Karri Knight tree in Valle de Canas. The Karri Knight tree (Eucalyptus diversicolor) is currently 72.9 meters tall, but at ‘only’ 120 years old it’s likely it will continue growing for some years to come.
The tallest tree in the United Kingdom:
Betws y Coed in Wales’ Snowdonia National Park is not just home to the highest peak in Wales, but also the highest tree in the United Kingdom.
The coast Douglas fir is an American tree, but seems to like the Welsh soil and air, growing to 67.5 meters tall.
The 20 tallest species of trees
It’s no secret that some tree species are absolute monsters, so along with the tallest individual trees listed above we wanted to share this list of the 20 tallest tree species, ranked according to average species height:
- Redwood Sequoia sempervirens
- Mountain Ash Eucalyptus regnans
- Coastal Douglas-Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii
- Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis
- Giant Sequoia Sequoiadendron giganteum
- Manna Gum Eucalyptus viminalis
- Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus
- Yellow Meranti Shorea faguetiana
- Alpine-Ashe Eucalyptus delegatensis
- Philppine Rosewood Petersianthus quadrialatus
- Brown-Top Stringbark Eucalyptus obliqua
- Mengaris Koompassia excelsa
- Karri Eucalyptus diversicolor
- Dark Red Meranti Shorea argentifolia
- Magnificent Meranti Shorea superba
- Shining Gum Eucalyptus nitens
- Sugar Pine Pinus lambertiana
- Western Hemlock Tsuga heterophylla
- Giam Hopea nutans
- Meranti Majau Shorea johorensis
And that’s your lot for our round-up of the world’s tallest known trees. Have you had the opportunity to see any of these stunning trees in the wild? Please share your experiences in the comments section below!