The Giant Sequoias of California
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ALTHOUGH the giant sequoia and redwood are closely related, they exhibit many individual characteristics that distinguish them from each other. Perhaps the following major differences will help to answer some of the questions that may come to mind.

Natural habitat.—The giant sequoia is found growing singly or in groups scattered for a distance of 250 miles along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in central California at elevations of 4,000 to 8,000 feet. The redwood grows near the Pacific Ocean along the northern California coast in a more or less continuous belt about 450 miles long and 15 miles wide. (See Distribution Map on the Inside Back Cover.)

Method of reproduction.—Both species reproduce from seed, but the redwood is one of the few conifers that is also able to develop sprouts from cut stumps, roots, and burls.

Foliage.—The foliage of the giant sequoia is scalelike and somewhat resembles that of the junipers; redwood foliage is in the form of two-ranked needles like the hemlock.

Shape and size.—The giant sequoia is the largest tree in the world in volume and has an immense trunk with very slight taper; the redwood is the world's tallest tree and has a slender trunk.

Cones and seed.—The cones and seed of the giant sequoia are about three times the size of those produced by the redwood.

Woody structure.—The wood of the giant sequoia is much coarser in texture than that of the redwood, and growth rings of the redwood are wider. Both woods are highly resistant to decay.

Color of bark.—The bark of the giant sequoia is bright reddish brown, whereas that of the redwood is a dull chocolate brown.

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Last Updated: 02-Feb-2007