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Sequoiadendron giganteum - (Lindley.)J.Buchholz.

Common Name Big Tree, Giant sequoia, Giant Redwood, Sierra Redwood
Family Taxodiaceae
USDA hardiness 6-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Well-drained but moist soils with an annual precipitation of 110 - 155cm a year[229]. Found on the west side of the Sierra Nevada between 1500 and 2500 metres[82].
Range South-western N. America - California.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sequoiadendron giganteum Big Tree, Giant sequoia, Giant Redwood, Sierra Redwood

Sequoiadendron giganteum Big Tree, Giant sequoia, Giant Redwood, Sierra Redwood


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Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Columnar, Pyramidal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Sequoiadendron giganteum is an evergreen Tree growing to 90 m (295ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen all year. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


S. gigantea. S. wellingtonia. S. wellingtoniana. Wellingtonia gigantea. W. californica.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


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

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Firewood, Aggressive surface roots possible, Screen, Specimen. 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]. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

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.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

nome   Thu Apr 29 04:38:13 2004


Link: nome nome

Russ   Fri Jun 16 2006

I recently picked up a packet of sequoiadendron seeds from Kew Gardens in London. Following the instructions on the packet, I put them in the fridge (dry) for 10 days, then soacked them in water for 48 hours, then sowed on top of moist compost in small seedling pots and covered with clingfilm to keep damp. The seeds were kept in a bright conservatory out of direct sunlight at around 25 Celsius during the day. Seeds began to germinate after 7 days. By 17 days, over 50 % had germinated. As soon as the seed shell has fallen off to reveal several green needles, I take from under the cling film to prevent mold. All seem to be thriving. The instructions read that there should be no direct sunlight for the first 6 weeks and that the seedlings can be carefully repotted at 5-8 weeks.

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