Are the Tallest Trees in Tasmania?

ENVIRONMENT

Mountain ash trees growing on the Australian island of Tasmania are the tallest flowering trees in the world. They are not quite the tallest trees of any kind, however—that record belongs to the coast redwoods of California. But that might be because things have been skewed against the mountain ash. (BBC)

Use our resources to learn more about the tallest trees in the world.

Teachers, scroll down for a short list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Coast redwoods like this one in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California, are the tallest trees in the world. (Let's keep that title, California! Grow, Sequoia sempervirens, grow!) Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Coast redwoods like this one in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California, are the tallest trees in the world. (Let’s keep that title, California! Grow, Sequoia sempervirens, grow!)
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Some botanists think that mountain ash trees, like these in Tasmania, Australia, may grow even taller than coast redwoods. (The mountain ash trees loom over the trees in the foreground—tree ferns and myrtles.) Photograph by TTaylor, courtesy Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0

Some botanists think that mountain ash trees, like these in Tasmania, Australia, may grow even taller than coast redwoods. (The mountain ash trees loom over the trees in the foreground—tree ferns and myrtles.)
Photograph by TTaylor, courtesy Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0

Discussion Ideas

 

 

  • Coast redwoods are not flowering trees. What species of plant are they?

 

  • The BBC article says that while coast redwoods are definitely the tallest trees in the world right now, some environmental conditions may “have been skewed against the mountain ash.” How?
    • “It turns out that humans have been cutting them down in their prime . . . If conditions improve, [the trees] might they one day beat out the redwoods.”

 

  • Read through the BBC article on mountain ash, and our own article on redwoods in Humboldt County, California. Botanists in Tasmania and California have named “their” trees, just like pet owners name their pets! What are some of the nicknames of Tasmania’s mountain ash giants? What are the nicknames of California’s giant redwoods?
    • Tasmania: Centurion, Damocles, El Grande, Medusa
    • California: Dyerville Giant, Hyperion Tree, Stratosphere Giant

 

 

 

  • So, coast redwoods are the current record-holders for “world’s tallest tree,” but the mountain ash may take that record a short century or two. Which of the species lives longer?

 

  • Both the BBC and Nat Geo articles list some threats to tall trees as lack of water resources, winds, and toxic fungi. What is the single biggest threat to both mountain ash and coast redwoods?
    • Human activity. Both mountain ash and redwood forests have been extensively logged for their high-quality lumber.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

BBC: Tasmania’s giant ash trees may be the world’s tallest

Nat Geo: Tall Trees

Parks and Wildlife Services, Tasmania: Eucalypt Forests

National Park Service: Redwood National and State Parks

3 responses to “Are the Tallest Trees in Tasmania?

  1. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. Pingback: Coast Redwood: Sequoia sempervirens | Batshit Crazy News·

  3. Pingback: 4 Steps To A Successful Online Community | Turn the page·

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