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It's a pretty big tree.
December 17, 2012 9:49 AM   Subscribe

A big tree.
posted by curious nu (56 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
thanks for this! trees are my personal favorite "nature is beautiful" thing. they awe me, and this one is magnificent
posted by supermedusa at 9:55 AM on December 17, 2012


A pretty, big tree. Here's a video.
posted by chavenet at 9:58 AM on December 17, 2012


I wasn't expecting such a big tree!
posted by Nedroid at 10:00 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, trees are just amazing organisms. There are so many incredible things about them -- I mean, like how they can regenerate after losing a limb? Good luck if that happens to most animals, but for trees it's usually no big deal. And they're made of air! Seriously. Most people sort of assume that most of the "stuff" in a tree comes up from the ground via the roots, but that's not true! The carbon that goes into a tree and which makes up the vast majority of the matter in it comes in through the leaves via the air!

So that whole giant sequoia in the picture up there? Condensed air!
posted by Scientist at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ent porn.

(Seriously; impressive and majestic.)
posted by Wordshore at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


126 Frames, 2 Billion Leaves, 247 Feet


...30,409 planks, 120,398 sticks... pickaxes, torches...

I've been playing too much Minecraft.
posted by gwint at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Since when does a connifer have leaves?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of those things that underscores just how small we really are when it comes to this planet.
posted by xingcat at 10:06 AM on December 17, 2012


Needles are technically still leaves.
posted by Scientist at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't even see the climbers in the tree until I read the caption.
posted by cooker girl at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Trees are not quite made of "air" - they also hold loads of water (in this tree's case, possibly tons). We saw a vivid example of that here in western Washington when a guy cut down some trees (without permission) at the edge of a forest preserve - instant wetland! The Douglas Firs and White Pines he cut down had been holding water that otherwise would be on the surface/in the soil.
posted by dbmcd at 10:13 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ahh, conifers; my kind of trees!
posted by TedW at 10:20 AM on December 17, 2012


I like the title of the FPP. There is no arguing with it, and it's not making any grandiose claims. If I need an example of a pretty big tree, I will go no further.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:21 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I need an example of a pretty big tree, I will go no further.

Well, there is one larger.
posted by TedW at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2012


Go see the sequoias while you can, if you can. There's a tangible atmosphere about them.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:32 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just outside my window, inches from the corner of my house, is an Oak tree that, based on a rough estimate determined by it's circumference, is probably somewhere about 500 years old (give or take 100 years). There's something comforting in knowing that, if nobody does anything stupid, 500 years from now it will still be standing.

Trees, when carefully considered, can put a lot of things in perspective.
posted by HuronBob at 10:33 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


(and go very early to avoid the infernal noisy crowds)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:34 AM on December 17, 2012


Brain does not compute trees this large.
posted by royalsong at 10:35 AM on December 17, 2012


I want to live in this tree with squirrel minions.
posted by elizardbits at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think Oak trees live to 1,000 years, unfortunately
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2012


I don't think Oak trees live to 1,000 years, unfortunately
The Jurupa Oak tree — a clonal colony of Quercus palmeria or Palmer’s Oak found in Riverside County, California — is believed to be the world's oldest organism at 13,000 years.
(And individual trees have been known to live past 1000, though obviously that's pretty rare.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on December 17, 2012


Well, there is one larger.

I'm from the Upper Midwest. A pretty big tree is big enough. No need to overdo things.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Before I moved to the west coast, I was in San Francisco for MacWorld one year; I rented a car one afternoon and drove up to see the coastal redwoods in the Muir Woods. As Burhanistan alludes to, it was an amazing experience and I remember it as the moment when I consciously decided to relocate. I have yet to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, but it's on my list.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:50 AM on December 17, 2012


Wonderful trees. I also recommend in this issue the wonderful fold-out spread of all the creatures that make their homes in the tree.

Humboldt State University Professor Steve Sillett has conducted groundbreaking research on redwood forest canopies and was featured in a 2009 cover story in National Geographic.
posted by Anitanola at 10:53 AM on December 17, 2012


Wow, do not read the comments on that article. Who knew?

This is awe-inspiring. So beautiful.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2012


If you find the idea of exploring a big tree like that compelling, definitely check out "The Wild Trees" by Richard Preston. Steve Sillett and his friends were literally the first scientists to go up in these trees and examine the upper reaches of the canopy.

There's amazing story after amazing story in the book. The initial first ascent involved a free-climb up a nearby tree and then jumping over; there's a terrifying bit about one of the team falling out; there's descriptions of the gear they invented to help get around the branches - including a rope weighted with a beanbag, used in a similar manner to a prehensile tail; and throughout it all, the incredible allure of these giant trees, and the lengths Sillett and his team go to in order to find and climb them.
posted by dubold at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of weird about trees. When I encounter one I like, I pet it like I would a friendly dog.

I recommend tree petting. It's good for you, and I like to think it's also good for the tree to know that it is acknowledged and respected.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Anitanola, that last link is to a recent (Dec. 2012) article, and it's the "sister" article to the OP link. NatGeo also has a bio/interview with Sillette, in which he talks about his love of science and climbing trees.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:58 AM on December 17, 2012


As a bonus, "The Wild Trees" also has sex.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2012


Sequoias are cool, but I think they're outclassed by the much less well-known (at least in the US) Karri tree of Western Australia. Nearly as big as Sequoias, vastly more numerous, less weird-looking, and best of all you're allowed to climb them via a spiral of steps made of chunks of rebar pounded into the trunk. Which is exactly as awesome and terrifying as you'd imagine.
posted by ook at 11:05 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greg_Ace: drive the "Redwood Highway" between Crescent City, CA and Grants Pass, OR. IMO it's better than Muir Woods.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:06 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


126 Frames, 2 Billion Leaves, 247 Feet

...30,409 planks, 120,398 sticks... pickaxes, torches...525,600 board-feet ...


FTFY.
posted by eritain at 11:08 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Nat Geo did another pic of this one last summer. that'd be cool to see them next to each other if someone were so interested as to track that pic down :)
posted by zombieApoc at 11:13 AM on December 17, 2012


National Geographic featured the sequoias last month! (which is where NPR got this picture from)
posted by Burhanistan at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, filthy light thief. This is a 2009 photo.
posted by Anitanola at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2012


From the caption: The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he's standing forward on one of the great limbs.

*considers*

No... I think I'm going to stick with my beanstalk theory. But thanks anyway, caption writer.
posted by stebulus at 11:21 AM on December 17, 2012


From Anitanola's link:
"Sliced into one-foot by one-foot cubes, The President would cover a football field."
Someone's been playing Minecraft.
posted by jamaro at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2012


That same picture is in National Geographic's December issue as a giant fold-out centerfold pic! It's like twenty feet tall just the photograph! Yeah! BIG TREE! BIIIIIIIG TREE!
posted by feets at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2012


okay, so what do these people do which means they get to climb this tree

because I need to undergo a career re-evaluation, clearly
posted by mightygodking at 11:56 AM on December 17, 2012


I mean the article says they're scientists but come on, that's got to be a line, right

"what do you study?"

"tree-climb...osity?"
posted by mightygodking at 11:57 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think you are underestimating how difficult it can be to properly calibrate your whee-o-meter under these harsh conditions, okay. You anti-science types are just the worst.
posted by elizardbits at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"tree-climb...osity ology?"

FTFY.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2012


I, too, saw this in this month's National Geographic. I was in the bathroom at the time, breathlessly unfolding each panel slowly. "Ah..." I sighed. "Treeeee porrrrrn."
posted by Specklet at 12:38 PM on December 17, 2012


I don't think Oak trees live to 1,000 years, unfortunately.
It's seldom, but the Major Oak is thought the be the best part of 1000 years old. The Bowthorpe Oak is claimed to be more than 1000. There are some others with sundry claims of almost the same age.
posted by Jehan at 1:13 PM on December 17, 2012


Oh thank you for this. I just spent something like ten minutes staring at that picture and saying "Wow, wow. Wow!" Sometimes, trees just blow me right away.
posted by kinnakeet at 1:47 PM on December 17, 2012


"I don't think Oak trees live to 1,000 years, unfortunately."

Mine will, because I believe it will.
posted by HuronBob at 2:24 PM on December 17, 2012


Going down the rabbit hole of old trees led me to this floppy shitty weed in sweden that is estimated to come from a root system that is 9550 years old. Pretty much longer than human civilization or even the dream of which. Cool thanks nature.

Better to burn out that to fade away?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:00 PM on December 17, 2012


For age, no one can match the bristlecone pines of the White Mountains.
posted by phliar at 5:10 PM on December 17, 2012


I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.
posted by scratch at 5:10 PM on December 17, 2012


Thanks also to ook for the Karri tree links, if only for containing the phrase "...the appropriately named Giant Tingle Tree".
posted by chortly at 5:52 PM on December 17, 2012


Man, spruce trees are awesome. They aren't "floppy shitty weeds." I've met spruce trees that were a lot nicer than most people I know.

phliar: “For age, no one can match the bristlecone pines of the White Mountains.”

Depends on what you mean by "no one," I guess, but Pando out in Utah has them beat. But those bristlecones are indeed the oldest single, verifiable organisms on earth.
posted by koeselitz at 7:18 PM on December 17, 2012


I've mentioned it in a previous post, that China also has a forest of sequoias, very distantly related (I wonder how they ended up in central China and the US west coast)?. It is called the meta-sequoia.

And, yes, that Karri tree in Australia looks amazingly tall too.
But who are you calling weird-looking?
posted by eye of newt at 8:12 PM on December 17, 2012


For age, no one can match the bristlecone pines of the White Mountains.

The ancient bristlecone pines are indeed amazing and awe-inspiring, and well worth the trip to the California/Nevada border.

The White Mountains are in New Hampshire.

Old single organisms and old clonal colonies are really in separate, non-comparable categories, in my opinion. Both pretty darn cool.
posted by eviemath at 9:51 PM on December 17, 2012


The White Mountains are in New Hampshire.

The White Mountains are also in Alaska, Arizona, Afghanistan, Queensland, Middle Earth, and California.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I reserve the completely hypocritical right to believe simultaneously that when one says just plain old "The White Mountains", it's fair to assume the reference is to the range and national forest of that name in New Hampshire; and that it is immensely annoying that "Portland" without any additional modifier is more commonly assumed to refer to the largest city in Oregon rather than the largest city in Maine:P
posted by eviemath at 11:18 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]



ook: "Sequoias are cool, but I think they're outclassed by the much less well-known (at least in the US) Karri tree of Western Australia. Nearly as big as Sequoias, vastly more numerous, less weird-looking, and best of all you're allowed to climb them via a spiral of steps made of chunks of rebar pounded into the trunk. Which is exactly as awesome and terrifying as you'd imagine"

Karri (eucalyptus) are extremely cool; I don't know that I'd say they "outclass" Sequoia, which are the largest individual trees on the planet by far (though it could be argued that the coast redwood may have been larger before we cut them all down, we just don't know at this point), and the third oldest documented tree known. They are massive, with a wonderful crown architecture that is often somewhat lacking in eucalyptus. The second oldest known tree is a little more closely related to Sequoia— the Fitroya tree, that grows in the temperate rainforests of Peru— and has been aged to 3666 years. They get quite large, but not nearly as large as Sequoia. The third largest tree after Sequoia and coast redwood is probably the Montezuma baldcypress known as El Arbol del Tule, which is also a pretty big tree. After that is probably the Kauri pine "Tane Mahuta"of New Zealand.

mightygodking: "I mean the article says they're scientists but come on, that's got to be a line, right

"what do you study?"

"tree-climb...osity?
"

Sillett et al. have done a good deal of studying canopy ecosystems (there's a whole world up there!) , collecting samples and doing work like crown mapping and modeling for information on things such as water usage, photosynthetic productivity and carbon sequestration.
I know someone who was working with him on the crown mapping of this tree; it took days and days to get it done, with thousands of measurements being logged the whole time, climbing out on the extremities of limbs to get path length along limbs and diameter measurements, and spatial reference to each of those thousands of measurements.
posted by Red Loop at 7:26 PM on December 18, 2012


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