Did You Know?
The largest living thing on earth is a giant sequoia named General Sherman.
The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is the world's most massive tree,and arguably the largest living organism on Earth. It is neither the tallest extant species of tree (that distinction belongs to the coast redwood), nor is it the widest (that distinction belongs to the baobab tree or Montezuma cypresses), nor is it the longest-lived (that distinction belongs to the Great Basin bristlecone pine).However, with a height of 87.2 m (286 ft) or more, a circumference of 34.44 m (113.0 ft) or more, an estimated bole volume of up to 1,486.6 m3 (52,500 cu ft), and an estimated life span of 1800–2700 years,the giant sequoia is among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all organisms on Earth.
Giant sequoias grow in well-defined groves in California mixed evergreen forests, along with other old-growth species such as California incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). Because most of the neighboring trees are also quite large, it can be difficult to appreciate the size of an individual giant sequoia. The largest giant sequoias are as tall as a 26-story building, and the width of their bases can exceed that of a city street. They grow at such a rate as to produce roughly 1.13 m3 (40 cu ft) of wood each year, approximately equal to the volume of a 50-foot-tall tree one foot in diameter. This makes them among the fastest growing organisms on Earth, in terms of annual increase in mass.