Giant sequoias and California redwoods (also called coast redwoods) are nature’s skyscrapers. These enormous trees exist primarily in Northern California, and though they have a number of common characteristics, including distinctive cinnamon-red bark, they are different species.
Giant sequoias can grow to be about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter and more than 250 feet (76 meters) tall. The biggest of these behemoths is General Sherman, a giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park. General Sherman stands 275 feet (84 meters) tall, has a 102-foot (31 meters) circumference, and weighs an incredible 2.7 million pounds (1.2 million kilograms). Giant sequoias can live to 3,000 years, with the oldest on record living more than 3,500 years.
Mature sequoias lack branches on the lower half of their trunks. Sequoia trunks taper as they rise, forming a rounded top where individual branches sweep downward. Their green leaves are small, scale-like, and arranged in spirals. Both male and females cones are carried on the same tree.