The provenance of Archangel Trees
Cloning the Biggest, Oldest Redwoods and Sequoias
You’ve heard us talk about cloning trees—which you can do yourself—and about the work of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a Michigan nonprofit that aims to preserve the genetics of the world’s largest and oldest trees. But where exactly do Archangel’s clones come from? Let’s find out more about these majestic giants.
The California redwood range extends 500 miles, from Big Sur up to the Oregon border. Archangel divided this range into five 100-mile segments and sought the oldest, largest redwoods in each.
All Archangel redwoods are clones, and the identity of the 48 mother trees that were cloned between 2007-2016 are tagged on each of the trees.
The largest of these (with a circumference of 109 feet at its base) is the Fieldbrook tree, so called because it was found near the unincorporated town of Fieldbrook approximately 7 miles outside of Arcata. Actually, the Fieldbrook tree is now a stump, but still sends up basal sprouts—which have the same DNA as the tree. It would have been the biggest tree alive today had it not been so ignominiously felled in 1890, reputedly to satisfy a drunken bet about making a table big enough to seat 40 guests from a single slice of tree trunk! Fifty clones of the Fieldbrook stump were planted in 30 Puget Sound communities in 2017 as part of the Moving the Giants to Puget Sound project, and many more have been planted since.
The Barrett tree (84 feet around at the base) is another of the redwoods from which clones were taken.
Archangel’s giant sequoia seedlings come mainly from two trees located in the Sequoia Crest grove in Tulare County: The Amos Alonzo Stagg tree and the Waterfall tree. The Stagg tree is over 3,000 years old and the fifth-largest sequoia in the world by volume. The Waterfall tree is probably of similar age and is the largest sequoia in the world by girth at its base, with a circumference of 155 feet. A photo journal of how Archangel climbers ascended the trees and harvested cones for seed and cuttings for cloning can be seen here: http://incelebrationoftrees.com/sequoia-crest-expedition-2/