Seven Natural Wonders of the World Part 2

About the seven natural wonders of the world, wonders found specifically in nature, in this case General Sherman, a sequoia tree, the largest plant, the tallest plant and the widest plant.

The 7 Natural Wonders of the World

Probably the best-known of all spectacular plants on earth is the 272.4'-tall "General Sherman," a sequoia in California's Sequoia National Park. This Sequoia gigantea has a 79.1' girth (at 5' above the ground), and it contains enough timber to make 35 5-room houses. From its beginnings as a minuscule seed nearly 40 centuries ago, the massive "General Sherman" has increased in weight over 250 billionfold. In combined height and girth it is by far the largest living thing on earth, a line of relatively young redwoods called the "Sentinel Trees" forming a perfect path to its base.

America is also the home of the tallest living thing. Towering above any other plant on earth is the "Howard Libbey" or "Tall Tree" redwood growing along Redwood Creek in California's Redwood National Park. A Sequoia sempervirens that stands 367.8' tall, the "Tall Tree" may be the tallest tree of all time, although there are unconfirmed reports that an Australian mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) felled in 1868 reached 464'. The "Howard Libbey" was named after the president of the Arcata Redwood Company, on whose land it was located until the park was established. The "Tall Tree" can barely be seen in the Tall Trees Grove, which contains several other Brobdingnagians almost matching it in height. It is a double-formation specimen (2 trees grown together) with a dead top.

Mexico has the honor of being home to the widest living plant. Its girth far greater than even the "General Sherman" redwood, the imposing Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) holding the title is found in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico and in 1949 it had a circumference of 112'-113' (at 5' above the ground). It is called the "Santa Maria del Tule" tree, after the mission near which it is located. Its only challenger was a European chestnut in Italy (c. 1770) reported as 204' in circumference, an unsubstantiated figure, while in top spread, a southern red oak in Como, Miss., takes world honors, with a 115' spread. The largest spreading plant from a single clonal growth is the wild box huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachyera) found in eastern Pennsylvania, which covers up to 100 acres.

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