Continued from: Main Coast Redwood Page
Copyright 2009 - 2016 by Mario D. Vaden
The photo shows part of the Port Orford Cedar found in 2009. The upper branches covered with moss that has taken residency high up on it's canopy
I was exploring with Dr. Steve Sillett and Dr. Robert Van Pelt, looking at potential study grove options across Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Sometime in the afternoon, Steve caught a glimpse of the tall trunk perched in one of the many small valleys. In a matter of minutes, we learned it was a new world record. Chris Atkins is about the only other person who has visited this Port Orfor Cedar. Atkins is in one of my May 8, 2009 photos taken here.
The day of discovery, this measured 81.08 meters to the top, with live foliage up to
77.42 meters. The trunk dbh measured 280.4 centimeters.
The next tallest known was 72.8 m in Coquille Falls Research Natural Area, Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon.
The bark of these Port Orford cedar can look like a few of the big younger redwoods: some just don't have the deep furrows.
The foliage difference may be hard to detect if the limbs start up high on the trunk. But there is usually enough on the ground for identification.
In fact, I remember hiking elsewhere, on Flint Ridge trail years later in 2016, when the foliage challenge showed it's face one more time. In 2016, I stopped at an old western redcedar along with a man named Mark from back east, and Ed, a retired redwood guide. The foliage was very tiny and hardly any pieces fell to the ground. Ed thought it was a redwood at first, and the bark did bear slight resemblance to young coast redwoods. But we stayed a while longer. Eventually I found a foliage sample on the ground and used a zoom lense to photograph foliage from a distance overhead. The photo and sample indicated western redcedar. This plant identification episode reminded me of 2009 when we found the Port Orford Cedar.
The map below shows some of the hills and valleys of Jedediah Smith redwoods. You can see how many small valleys there are with protection from wind where super tall conifers can grow.
Many of the taller conifers grow in the valleys because there is wind protection, and that's also the last place that water moves to as it runs down from the hills. Some of the valleys are also the hardest places to explore because the fallen wood and debris is abundant. And the slopes are steep and slippery. There are a few small cliffs too.