3200 Years in One Photo: “The President” Giant Sequoia

National Geographic December 2012

“The President” is a giant sequoia tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum) located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park, California. (It was named after President Warren G. Harding in 1923.) Coast redwoods are taller and thinner, while giant sequoias are thicker and bulkier.

The President is the oldest known living sequoia, estimated to be over 3,200 years old. Imagine, this tree was already 1200 years old when Jesus walked the earth. It’s not the longest-lived species, though; that distinction goes to the Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), which can live to be over 5,000 years old.

In terms of sheer massiveness, however, this giant sequoia can’t be beat. It stands at 247 feet tall, and is still growing. The trunk measures 27 feet across, and the tree has approximately 2 billion leaves. Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown.

Because of its unbelievable size, the President had never been photographed in its entirety until a team of scientists and National Geographic photographers did a photo study of the tree in all its glory. They climbed it using pulleys and levers. After taking thousands of photos, they selected 126 and stitched them together to get this incredible portrait:

Read More: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/sequoias/quammen-text

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