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World's tallest living tree discovered in California

india Updated: Sep 08, 2006 17:12 IST
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Scientists have discovered three trees in a remote area of the Redwood National Park in northern California, all of which are taller than the tree previously believed to be the world's tallest living one, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The tallest of the trees, named Hyperion, towers 115.245 metres from the ground, some 2.438 metres taller than the previous record holder - the Stratosphere Giant, the report said on Thursday. The other newly discovered trees named Helios and Icarus stand at 114.7 metres and 113.14 metres respectively.

The trees were discovered this summer by a team of California researchers who fought their way through the dense forest searching for giant trees. Though most giant redwoods are usually situated near the base of canyons, the newly found trees are on steep mountain slopes, where nearby ridges protect them from the wind and adjacent streams feed their extensive root systems.

Some 90 percent of old growth redwoods have been logged over the past two centuries and the new trees were found in an area which was only brought under protection less than 30 years ago and was near a tract that had been harvested, the report said.

"With so much of the old-growth redwoods gone, you wouldn't necessarily expect a discovery like this," said George Koch, a biology professor at Northern Arizona University who specialises in plant ecophysiology.

The find is all the more remarkable, Koch said, because the trees are in a tract added to the park later, during President Jimmy Carter's administration.

"They aren't all that far from an old clear-cut," he said. "Basically, they were almost nuked. The fact that they weren't is amazing."

Officials are not revealing the exact locations of the tall trees to prevent an onslaught of tourists. There are also no trails leading to the area, the report said.

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