Redwoods (scientific name: Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest trees in the world, they easily reach heights of 300 feet (91 meters) and even more. They are not the tallest only, also evergreen and very long-lived: their life span is more than 1000 years, and some have been documented at even more than 2,000 years old. They can grow up to 29.2 feet (8.9 m) in diameter at breast height / dbh. Redwoods live in California, United States; and before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred naturally in an estimated 2,100,000 acres (8,500 km2) along much of coastal California (excluding southern California where rainfall is not sufficient) and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon within the United States. Now, unfortunately, an estimated 70% or more of ancient old-growth redwood trees have been displaced by environmental changes or cut down.
Among the redwoods, a tree named Hyperion dwarfs them all. The tree was discovered on August 25, 2006, by naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, and is 379.7 feet (115.7 meters) tall.
The tree is estimated to contain 530 m3 (18,600 cu ft) of wood and to be roughly 700–800 years old. Researchers stated that woodpecker damage at the top may have prevented the tree from growing taller. According to Michael Taylor, “It’s possible it could’ve topped out at 380 feet (116 meters)”.
Hyperion is named after one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky or Heaven) in Greek mythology. With his sister, the Titaness Theia, Hyperion fathered Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn).
The exact location of Hyperion has not been revealed to the public for fear that human traffic would upset the ecosystem the tree inhabits. People will want to see it, photograph it, climb it, carve little souvenirs out of it. Steve Sillett, a botanist specializing in old growth forest canopies says that “trees are not like people. They ‘cannot run away from paparazzi.'”
Born on March 19, 1968, Stephen C. Sillett is a botanist specializing in old growth forest canopies. As the first scientist to enter the redwood forest canopy, he pioneered new methods for climbing, exploring, and studying tall trees. Sillett has climbed many of the world’s tallest trees to study the plant and animal life residing in their crowns and is generally recognized as an authority on tall trees, especially redwoods.