Tallest tree ever measured
480 foot (feet);inch(es)
Australia ()

There is a wide debate surrounding the tallest tree ever to have been accurately measured, though it’s generally accepted that eucalypts (genus Eucalyptus), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii, a member of the pine family) were, and still are, the tallest trees of them all.

According to Canadian plant biologist Dr Al Carder (1910–2014) in his seminal book Forest Giants of the World: Past and Present (1996), the tallest tree ever was an Australian eucalypt (Eucalyptus regnans, aka mountain ash) at Watts River, Victoria, as reported in 1872 by forester William Ferguson. Said to be 132.6 metres (435 feet), it could have stood in excess of 150 metres (500 feet) originally.

There are reports of another E. regnans near Mt Baw Baw in Victoria, Australia, that stood 143 metres (470 feet) in 1885, as assessed by Australian licensed surveyor George Robinson.

In the book Eucalyptographia (1880) by botanist Baron Ferdinand von Mueller (1825–96), a eucalyptus listed as E. amygdalia, or black peppermint, from the same region of Australia is noted as being 471 feet (143.5 metres). The measurement of this specimen was also attributed to Robinson.

Still another eucalypt (most likely E. regnans) – this time in Black Spur near Healesville, Victoria – was surveyed at 480 feet (146.3 metres) by a Mr G Klein, as cited by Dr Von Mueller in Australian Vegetation (1867).

After decades of research, Dr Robert Van Pelt (aka “Big Tree Bob”) – an affiliate professor at the University of Washington, USA, and currently one of the world’s foremost experts in giant trees – is sceptical about many of the large tree specimens reported in the 19th century, as mis-measurements were rife.

In his opinion, the tallest Eucalyptus regnans from Australia that can be definitively believed was the Thorpdale Tree (aka Cornthwaite Tree) located in the Gippsland area of Victoria, which measured 114.3 m (375 ft) when felled in 1880. He believes that the tallest accurately measured redwood (including historical measurements) is the current tallest living tree – Hyperion, in Redwood National Park, California, USA – at 115.85 m (380 ft 1 in) as of 2017. For Douglas fir, the tallest measurements he is convinced by are those of the Mineral Tree, which grew near Mt Rainier in Washington, USA. It was measured by independent sources at 119.79 m (393 ft) before it blew over in 1930. A figure of 126.5 m (415 ft) for a Douglas fir in the Lynn Valley in British Columbia, Canada, is also described in Forest Giants of the World: Past and Present, and although there is no independent confirmation, it could feasibly be accurate, according to Dr Van Pelt.