I first learned about the tallest trees from text book when I was a kid. After I have grown up, I was amazed at this giant plant called redwood when watching National Geography channel. Now here I am, standing as tiny as ant amongst these giants, speechless.
The coastal redwood in Muir Woods are the tallest living thing on earth. It is very difficult to visual it tallness from picture, or hard to describe unless you hurt your back try to look up to the tree top. I took this picture to illustrate the height of the average tree, could you see the tiny white dots underneath the bottom right in the photo? That was few visitors walking under the redwoods.
The average mature trees are about 800 years old, some of the trees in the park are more than 1,000 years old. The tallest tree was measured at 379 feet in Muir Woods.
There was little sunlight under the thick canopy. So it was few degrees cooler at the forest floor.
The redwood can reproduce via its seeds (cones), or through burl sprouting. Burl can grow from healthy or fallen tree. When the tree is injured, the burl may sprout to regain new life.
It is wonderful to see how plant can adapt to use sprouting to gain advantage over seed germination. The sprouting from a mature tree already possessed complete root system.
My next visit to California has to visit another kind of redwood, the giant Sequoia, which is the largest and oldest tree that can live up to more than 3,200 years.
If you are tree lover adn have few hours spare time while visiting San Francisco, do visit Muir Woods National Monument (~12 miles from Golden Gate Bridge).
I leave you with this poem that recited by the driver who drove us to Muir Woods.
by Joseph B. Strauss
Here, sown by the Creator’s hand.
In serried ranks, the Redwoods stand:
No other clime is honored so,
No other lands their glory know.
The greatest of Earth’s living forms,
Tall conquerors that laugh at storms;
Their challenge still unanswered rings,
Through fifty centuries of kings.
The nations that with them were young,
Rich empires, with their forts far-flung,
Lie buried now-their splendor gone:
But these proud monarchs still live on.
So shall they live, when ends our days,
When our crude citadels decay;
For brief the years allotted man,
But infinite perennials’ span.
This is their temple, vaulted high,
And here, we pause with reverent eye,
With silent tongue and awestruck soul;
For here we sense life’s proper goal:
To be like these, straight, true and fine,
to make our world like theirs, a shrine;
Sink down, Oh, traveler, on your knees,
God stands before you in these trees.