The Olympic-like Competition among Redwoods

Redwoods compete for sunlight.
Redwoods compete for sunlight.

There’s nothing quite like the image of five Olympic rings to remind me of good old competition! I love the excitement that builds up as the games begin, wondering who will reign supreme.

Trees may not be aware of our Olympic traditions, but they certainly compete with each other. As the Olympics unfold, it’s fun to remember that out there in the redwood forest every day, the trees are growing in a race to be the tallest. Being the tallest tree in the forest is a prize worth shooting for because with great height comes more sunlight that sustains the tree over its lifetime. As a species, the coast redwoods are the world’s gold-medal-winning trees for height, reaching more than 350 feet at their tallest!

For more record-breaking plants of world, check out this photo gallery from BBC.

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About Emily Burns

Emily Burns, the League’s former Director of Science, led the research program that includes the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. She holds a PhD in Integrative Biology on the impacts of fog on coast redwood forest flora from the University of California, Berkeley.

Emily looking good for a camera crew at Montgomery Woods State Park.

How to Look Good in the Redwoods


So the other day a good friend of mine asked for some advice on how to look good in the redwoods. She was planning a trip with a diverse group of friends and family, and since she knew I spend Continued

Close up of Long Meg and her Daughters

The Redwoods in Prehistory


One of the things I enjoy when I’m in England is playing “spot the redwood tree.” It’s really pretty easy. I once read that if you ascend any church steeple in England and scan the horizon, the tallest tree is Continued

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