General Sherman is the name of a Giant Tree with a height of 83.8 metres (275 ft). As of 2002, the volume of its trunk measured about 1,487 cubic metres (52,513 cu ft), making it the largest known tree in the world. The tree is located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in the United States, east of Visalia, California. The tree is believed to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old.
|Height above Base||274.9||83.8|
|Circumference at Ground||102.6||31.1|
|Maximum Diameter at Base||36.5||11.1|
|Diameter 60′ (18.3 m) above base||17.5||5.3|
|Diameter 180′ (54.9 m) above base||14.0||4.3|
|Diameter of Largest Branch||6.8||2.1|
|Height of First Large Branch above the Base||130.0||39.6|
|Average Crown Spread||106.5||32.5|
In 1879, it was named after American Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman, by naturalist James Wolverton, who had served as a lieutenant in the 9th Indiana Cavalry under Sherman. In 1931, following comparisons with the nearby General Grant tree, General Sherman was identified as the largest tree in the world. One upshot of this process was that wood-volume was widely accepted as the defining factor in establishing the world’s largest tree.
In January 2006 the largest branch on the tree broke off. There were no witnesses to the incident, but the branch—bigger around than the trunks of most trees, with a diameter of over 2 m (6 feet) and a length of over 30 m (100 feet)—smashed part of its enclosing fence and cratered the pavement of the walkway surrounding the sequoia. The breakage, however, is not believed to be indicative of any abnormalities with the tree’s health, and may even be a natural defense-mechanism against adverse weather conditions. The branch loss did not change the General Sherman’s status as the largest tree, as its size has been calculated using measurements of trunk volume, excluding branches.