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The 12 tallest, oldest, largest and rarest trees in the world

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Have you ever visited Stonehenge? One of the oldest and most breathtaking monuments in Europe, the oldest parts of Stonehenge are 5000 years old. Imagine you could meet someone from that time… Impossible? Not at all!

Trees as old as Stonehenge are still alive today. For some trees, a few thousand years is really hardly an age. And if you think that’s incredible, wait until you hear about the world’s largest banyan tree, whose canopy casts shade over an area larger than six soccer pitches.

Read on to discover fabulous facts from the fascinating world of trees. We introduce you to trees with legendary status: The tallest, oldest, largest and rarest trees in the world.

The tallest tree in the world

Hyperion: The Highest

Source: Getty Images

With a height of 116.07 m, Hyperion is officially the tallest tree in the world1. Its name comes from the Greek Titan Hyperion. The giant coast redwood is still growing: when the tree was first discovered in 2006, it measured “only” 115.55 meters.

Coast redwoods are the tallest living things in the world. The forest in the Redwood National Park in California, where Hyperion lives, is also home to the second tallest tree in the world: Helios (son of the Titan Hyperion) is 114.95 m high2.

Centurion: The 100. Giant


The Centurion originally got its name because it was the 100th Centurion. was a huge tree that was measured by forestry officials on the south coast of Tasmania. He is also a centurion in his height. The 400-year-old eucalyptus tree is 100.5 meters tall, making it the tallest tree in the southern hemisphere3.

The fact that the Centurion has survived so many years of droughts and fires is nothing short of a miracle. Devastating bushfires claimed the lives of two giant eucalyptus trees growing in the same forest in 2019.

The Menara: the tallest tree in Asia


Another forest giant was discovered in 2019: the Menara (the “tower” in Malay) is 100.8 meters high. It is a yellow meranti, a tree species that is famous for its height and is one of the most endangered trees in Asia. Due to deforestation, it is only found in small parts of Borneo, the Malay Peninsula and Thailand.

The yellow meranti trees, which are also considered the largest flowering plants in the world, provide food and shelter for over 1000 species4. Some of them, such as the orangutan, the forest elephant and the clouded leopard, are themselves highly endangered.

Help create a habitat for animals here.

The oldest tree in the world

Methuselah: A venerable age of 4854 years

A witness from the era of the Druids, aptly named Methuselah, is officially the oldest tree in the world. Methuselah belongs to a small stand of ancient Great Basin bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California.

The secret of his old age? Slow life. Due to the harsh conditions in the mountains, these bristlecone pines are among the slowest growing trees. For this reason, their wood is incredibly dense. This makes it resistant to insects, fungi, rot and erosion.

Alerce Milenario: The great-grandfather tree


Despite its venerable age, Methuselah may not be the oldest tree in the world after all. An alerce tree in Chile, affectionately titled Gran Abuelo (great-grandfather), could be up to 5484 years old5.

This is the estimate of environmental scientist Jonathan Barichivich, who used computer modeling to date a small sample from the ancient Alerce tribe. Asked why he didn’t take a larger sample to determine the age of Gran Abuelo, Barichivich said: “It’s about protecting the tree, not about making headlines or breaking records.”

Pando: The oldest clonal trees


The title for the oldest organism in the world goes to Pando, a colony of quaking aspens in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah. Also known as the “Trembling Giant”, it is estimated that the Pando colony is at least 25,000 years old.

At least this is the age of the original “Pando” poplar. Today, the organism has grown to 48,000 trees, which are all genetically identical and share a single root system. The colony covers 43 hectares, which also makes Pando one of the largest organisms in the world6.

Want to save more trees? Check out this article: Simple hacks on how to save trees

Largest tree in the world

General Sherman: Largest tree in the world

Source: Gerhard Zwerger-Schoner/Getty Images

The largest tree in the world is the Giant Sequoia, known as General Sherman. With its height of 84 m and a massive volume of 1487 cubic meters, General Sherman was declared the largest tree in the world after the Crannell Creek Giant, a coastal redwood in California, was illegally felled in the 1940s7.

Just a few months ago, General Sherman and other redwood trees had to be wrapped in fire-retardant foil to protect them from the devastating forest fires that ravaged large parts of California’s forests.

Árbol del Tule: The tree (trunk) of life

With a trunk circumference of 31.1 m, General Sherman may not cut a slender figure, but the Árbol del Tule in Oaxaca, Mexico is hot competition for the title of ‘Largest Tree in the World’. With a circumference of 36.2 to 49 m, 60 people can wrap their arms around its trunk at the same time for the largest Tree Hug in the world8!

El Tule is sacred to the Mexican Zapotec culture and is estimated to be at least 1400 years old. Its nickname “Tree of Life” comes from the fact that the natural twists and turns of its gnarled trunk form images of jaguars and elephants.

Thimmamma Marrimanu: A tree as big as a forest


Thimmamma Marrimanu is an ancient banyan tree in the arid region of Andhra Pradesh in India. Thimmamma Marrimanu, estimated to be at least 660 years old, has reached a truly impressive size. Its canopy measures 8 hectares9 – more than six soccer pitches put together – a size that truly deserves the title “largest tree in the world”.

Named after a Hindu legend, Thimmamma Marrimanu attracts pilgrims from all over India. The tree, which brings life to the driest part of the country, has become a symbol of fertility and is said to provide positive energy.

Aren’t these trees simply breathtaking? Do you think we need more of them? Plant trees here.

Rarest tree in the world

Three Kings Kaikomako: Rarest tree of all


The Three Kings Kaikomako is the rarest tree in the world. Only one tree has ever been found in the wild. This is on Three Kings Island off the coast of New Zealand, which is where the name comes from.

Fortunately for the Kaikomako tree species, the tree on Three Kings Island is female. After decades, scientists have recently succeeded in finding a way to pollinate the tree10. The growing seedlings are not yet ready to be planted in the wild, but at least the rarest tree is no longer the last of its kind.

Woods Cycad: The loneliest tree in the world


Woods Cycad was once one of the most widespread trees in the world. That was over 145 million years ago, when the dinosaurs still lived on earth. Today, unfortunately, it is not only the rarest tree in the world, but also the loneliest.

A single tree was found in South Africa in 1895 and then immediately lost again. A small piece of this survived and is now growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens in London11. No other specimens were ever found. For this reason, Woods Cycad really could be the loneliest tree in the world.

Baobab: A tree like no other

Baobab trees are like the trees in a legend: They are ancient, massive and magical. Baobab trees grow in the driest regions and support people, animals and plants.

Nevertheless, the baobab could soon become one of the rarest trees due to climate change and deforestation. Of 9 baobab species, 3 are threatened with extinction and 3 are endangered12. For this reason, the baobab is one of the trees planted in our reforestation project in Ghana.

Trees: ancient, huge, rare and totally fascinating

We hope you enjoyed our article about these absolute legends of the fascinating world of trees. Do you have a special tree that is your favorite? Which one impresses you the most: the tallest or the oldest tree? All of them? Yes, we think so too!

All trees are special because they make the world a better place. Do you want to plant more? Super. Click here and in less than 5 minutes you will have planted trees.