Largest Tree In Victoria, BC Is A Giant Sequoia

 Giant sequoia at Moss and Richardson St.,Victoria, BC. Is this Victoria's largest tree?
Image credit: Myles Green

Southern Vancouver Island enjoys mild coastal weather in a sub-Mediterranean climate. This encourages the growth of some very large Giant sequoias, relatively speaking.

With all the largest native big trees removed long ago, a Giant sequoia import is the largest tree in the Victoria area. Not bad for a species more used to growing farther south in California, where the really big ones live.

One of the big California sequoias. This massive specimen, the President Tree, is the second-most-massive tree
known on Earth. Here it is being measured by Steve Sillett and his team. 

(Image credit: Michael Nichols/National Geographic)

The President is one of the oldest (3,200 years) giant sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park, California. It's the second-largest tree on Earth, according to Steve Sillett of Humboldt State University. He should know - he climbed it recently and measured it himself.

You can read more about this and other impressive sequoia trees in their native range at National Geographic. The article I linked to has great photos, and mentions Sillett's research finding that some species of trees, including Giant sequoias, grow more rapidly as they age. Trees thousands of years old are not only viable, but are adding new wood faster than ever.

How The President Measures Up

Base of the President Tree

Height above base                                      75.0 m 245.0 ft
Circumference at ground 28.4         93.0
Diameter 1.5 m above base                          7.1           23.1
Diameter 18 m (60') above base 5.2           16.9
Diameter 55 m (180') above base 3.55         11.6
Diameter of largest branch                          2.43         8.0
Height of first large branch above the base 37.1         122.0
Estimated bole volume (m³.ft³) 1,278.0    45,148.0
Age                                                            3,200 years (at least)

The Largest Tree In Victoria, BC 

"One would expect that the native trees such as Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, or Western Red Cedar would be the largest trees in Victoria, B.C. But no, these giants were logged out long ago. 

The largest trees in Victoria are gifts from the state of California where they have preserved some of the largest trees on earth for their citizens and the citizens of the world. 

Tracts of Sequoia and Coastal Redwoods were set aside in the last century and the century before by enlightened Californians whose population is almost as large as Canada's, but whose zest for preserving their natural heritage far exceeds our own.

The Sequoia pictured in the front yard of the home at Moss and Richardson [see photo at top of page] was a seedling given to the people of Victoria in 1858 by the state of California - for many years this was considered the largest tree in Victoria. 

A reputable arborist now considers the large Sequoia in James Bay's Irving Park as the largest tree in Victoria." 

- Myles Green

It looks like Victoria's transplants from the southern sequoia forest will retain the "largest tree in town" designation far into the future. Especially if they grow faster as they age. I will be checking out the James Bay sequoia soon for a future post.

The magnificent Giant sequoias around the Victoria region should be not only a sign of our ties to our southern neighbours, but also a call to action to do the right thing and preserve our remaining old growth natural heritage just as Californians protected theirs so many years ago.


  1. Hi, An interesting post, thank you. Have you ever measure the one at 1201 Fort Street in Victoria? It could be destroyed soon if action is not taken.

  2. Anonymous15/5/24

    If there not native to our forests why are we leaving them there are they not an invasive species all so. I know someone who is planting them in the forests of Nanaimo. Like he's doing something good for the environment !

    1. Anonymous16/5/24

      An invasive species spreads unchecked and takes over native species. It is unlikely that a planted sequoia will lead to spreading and taking over better adapted native plants.

      Most of the sequoias in BC are in urban areas that lost most of their native trees during development. Many commonly planted urban trees are not native.

      Having said that, it is probably not a good idea to go off into the forest and plant non-native species. You are right - they don't belong there.

      - Gregg


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