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Coniferous evergreen (Sequoiadendron giganteum; seeconifer) found in scattered groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range of California, U.S. The largest of all trees in bulk, the big tree is distinguished from the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) by having uniformly scalelike, or awl-shaped, leaves that lie close against the branches, scaleless winter buds, and cones requiring two seasons to mature. The pyramidal tree shape, reddish brown furrowed bark, and drooping branches are common to both genera. The largest specimen (in total bulk) is the General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park101.5 ft (31 m) in circumference at its base, 272.4 ft (83 m) tall, and weighing an estimated 6,167 tons (5,593 metric tons). Because big-tree lumber is more brittle than redwood lumber and thus less desirable, the big tree has been easier to preserve; though some groves have been cut, most of the 70 remaining groves are now protected by state or national forests or parks.
Variants of BIG TREE
big tree or giant sequoia or Sierra redwood
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on big tree, visit Britannica.com.