7 California, Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada Mountains, which lie between the California Basin and the Rocky Mountains, are the home of the prodigious Sequoiadendron giganteum or Mammoth tree, also known as the Mountain redwood to distinguish it from its coastal cousin, the Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). This colossal tree is not the highest growing tree, but it does become the thickest and most voluminous. It has scale-like needles and its cones are relatively small, growing up to 4cm. The tree’s distribution is limited to scattered local groves and, unlike the Coast redwood, it is not used in production forestry due to the lower quality of its brittle wood. Two generations of S. giganteum coexist in Group 7. Growing near some of these trees are California incense cedars, Colorado fir, Lodgepole pine and Ponderosa pine. Lodgepole pine does not adapt well to our local conditions, and so these trees are not getting very old here. After the dry summer of 2019 we observed a catastrophic death rate among the Colorado firs, leaving large gaps in the group.