parallax

The 9 Oldest, Tallest, and Biggest Trees in the World

Charles Noyes | August 2, 2021 | 4 min read

Learn about the 9 Oldest, Tallest, and Biggest Trees in the World

Trees are some of the most interesting and diverse living organisms in the world. How they communicate, how they grow and regrow for generations, and how they adapt to some of the harshest environments on the planet are all subjects that continue to fascinate humanity.

Trees come in all shapes and sizes, with some having amazing fun facts. From the tallest types of trees in California to the largest canopies in India, let’s explore the oldest, tallest, and biggest trees in the world. Whether by age, height, volume, or diameter, these are the rockstars of the tree world and incredibly, many of them still have room to grow.  

OLDEST TREES IN THE WORLD

Methuselah tree

1. the oldest tree in the world: Methuselah TREE

Methuselah is a Great Basin bristlecone pine (pinus longaeva) that is currently 4,852 years old (as of 2021). Its exact location is kept secret for its safety, but it lies somewhere amidst the aptly named Methuselah Grove in the White Mountains of eastern California. Methuselah and other bristlecone pines grow so old because of their many biological adaptations to their harsh environment in the high-altitude, desert regions of the Southeast United States.
They thrive in soil that other trees struggle to grow in, their wood is extremely dense and full of resin, and they can lose up to 90% of their bark and still survive. With these adaptations, it’s no wonder Methuselah appears here as the oldest single tree alive today. 

2. the oldest tree in asia: cypress of abarqu (Sarv-e Abarkuh)

The "Cypress of Abarqu", or Sarv-e Abarkuh, is an ancient cyprus tree  (Cupressus sempervirens) located in Abarkuh and is estimated to be between 4,000-5,000 years old. This would likely make it the oldest tree in Asia. The cyprus is a particularly notable tree in Iranian history and culture, it appears in Iranian poetry and carvings in Persepolis as a symbol of life and beauty. As to the origins of the tree, also known as the "Zoroastrian Sar", it remains uncertain. Legend has it that the ancient prophet Zoroaster planted the tree during his many travels spreading his teachings. An ancient figure, the Cypress of Abarqu beats out many other individual trees to make it onto our list as one of the oldest trees in the world. 

Pando Tree

3. The world's oldest clonal trees: Pando

Pando, also known as the "Trembling Giant", is a clonal colony of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). What is clonal colony? Unlike the other entries on this list, Pando is not one singular trunk with branches, but instead many biologically identical trunks with a shared root system. At 108 acres in size, 6,000,000 kilograms in weight, and likely 14,000 years of age, Pando definitely impresses in the stats department. While the Pando is certainly one of nature’s most impressive accomplishments, Pando's future may be uncertain due to climate change, Drought, human development, grazing, and fire suppression are threats to it's long-term survival.

TALLEST TREES IN THE WORLD

The hyperion coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

4. tHE TALLEST TREE IN THE WORLD: the Hyperion

The world's largest tree is the Hyperion, which is a coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and is located somewhere in the heart of Redwood National Park in California.
How tall is the tallest tree in the world? The Hyperion reaches a staggering 380 feet tall! The exact location of the tree is a well-kept secret —  and for good reason.
Not more than a few hundred feet from it is a clearcut from the 1970’s.
That means that Hyperion was maybe weeks away from being cut down due to deforestation before the land was protected with National Park status by the Carter administration. 

The yellow meranti (menara tree)

5.  the tallest tree in asia: the Menara

Another one of the world's largest trees is the yellow meranti (Shorea faguetiana) which comes in second at 331 feet. The menara, named after the Malay word for “tower" can be found in Sabah in the island of Borneo.  Part of what gives Menara its great height is its near-perfect symmetry, which allows its trunk to grow straight into the air. The yellow meranti is highly endangered due to over-harvesting, but thanks to protection efforts and the establishment of the Danum Valley Conservation Area, these awe-inspiring monoliths can live on. Some species protected by the tree include the endangered orangutan, clouded leopard, and forest elephants.

Centurion mountain ash tree (Eucalyptus regnans)

6. the world's tallest eucalyptus: the Centurion

Also candidate for the luckiest tree in the world, the Centurion is the world's largest individual mountain ash tree (Eucalyptus regnans), At a height of 330 ft. , the centurion is located in Tasmania, Australia. The name Centurion is due to its being the 100th tall tree registered by an aerial laser mapping system. It holds several world records including tallest flowering plant and tallest hardwood tree. Centurion narrowly survived a bushfire in 2019 that wiped out much of the surrounding foliage, but left Centurion standing, though slightly singed. Centurion’s best years still lie ahead as it continues to grow and who knows, maybe it will rank higher on a future list? 

BIGGEST TREES IN THE WORLD

Giant Sequoia Tree (General Sherman)

7.  The Biggest Tree in the World: GENERAL SHERMAN

The biggest tree is a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) located in  No list of trees would be complete without the biggest of them all and that’s Sequoia National Park’s own. It is, by volume, the largest single tree in the world, coming in at 52,500 cubic feet. Also known as General Sherman, this giant sequoia represents the perfect cross-section of height, width, and age. Some of the giant sequoia's branches are larger than many individual trees we encounter in our local forests and parks. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, you know the overwhelming emotion that accompanies its grandeur. 

Árbol del Tule

8. The Stoutest Trunk in the World: ÁRBOL DEL TULE 

While almost all of the world’s largest tree species are exclusively within California, Árbol del Tule makes the list for having the stoutest trunk in the world. Its Nahuatl name, ahuehuete meaning “old man of the water,” certainly lives up to its 1,400 years of age. A Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum), measurements place its diameter at 30.8 feet — an impressive accomplishment given that its height is only 116 feet. A belief of the local Mixe people is that the tree took root from the walking stick of a God. 

Thimmamma Marrimanu Tree

9. THE WORLD'S LARGEST CANOPY: Thimmamma Marrimanu 

Hindu legend has it that this tree grew from the spot where a widow, Thimmamma, threw herself onto her late husband’s funeral pyre. An incredibly notable banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis), Thimmamma Marrimanu’s great size is most apparent through an aerial view. It has the largest canopy of any tree in the world, covering a distance of 4.721 acres. This impressive spread is only possible because of efforts by the local forest department who support its young roots, reinforce its larger roots, and water the tree with an underground pipe system. 


We hope you’ve learned something new about some of the tallest, oldest, and biggest trees in the world. Nature is truly unpredictable and the diversity of the trees on this list proves it.

Many of these trees are protectors of their local ecosystems and celebrated in myths and legends. If you want to be a part of planting the next generation of tallest, oldest, and biggest trees, plant a tree with us today!

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. Today, we're raising funds to plant with Indigenous communities in the Andes Mountains. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Recover areas degraded by agricultural use
  • Protect watersheds upstream of countless families and villages
  • Reforest landscapes with strong cultural ties to Indigenous communities
  • The Andes Mountains of South America used to have abundant forest coverage, but a growing population and increasing agricultural production have caused significant deforestation. The forests of the Andes are critical for the Indigenous populations who rely on them for food, water, and jobs. But their impact goes far beyond the communities living nearby; the Andes' watersheds drain into the Amazon basin, supplying water to innumerable communities and cities downstream. Thank you so much for your support of healthy forests! 🌲
  • Our amazing partners are leading a Latin America-wide initiative to restore 1 million hectares of high Andean forest across 6 countries over the next 25 years. As part of the annual tree-planting festival Queuña Raymi, trees will be planted with the guidance of local leaders using ancient Incan traditions, preserving the landscape and Indigenous culture. The tree planting will help restore wetlands, safeguard existing forest, and protect critical Amazon headwaters.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • Our partner has chosen trees that will bring the greatest overall benefit to the region. This includes various types of Polylepsis trees which are native to the Andes and have adapted to the extremely high altitude.

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Get good news, reforestation updates, planting event information and more delivered right to your inbox.

We plant trees in 6 regions around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?

CHOOSE YOUR REGION