In the past, trees covered most of the Earth's land surface. At present, according to Ecology.com, trees cover just over 29 percent of the Earth's land surface. Even with the reduction in the number of trees, there are still some interesting facts and figures about trees.
The tallest tree in the world is a coastal redwood in California. That tree, named Hyperion, is nearly 380 feet tall. The largest known tree is another coastal redwood called the General Sherman. The General Sherman may not be as tall as Hyperion, but it has a much more massive trunk.
Recent research on a Swedish spruce tree has shown that it took root nearly 9,500 years ago, according to an article in "The Telegraph." Researchers have found other nearby spruce clusters that are 8,000 years old. Before the discovery of these trees, the previously oldest known trees were some North American pines estimated to be around 5,000 years old.
Fastest Growing Tree
The fastest growing tree in the world is the Eastern cottonwood, or the Populus deltoides. This tree is known to grow nearly 18 inches per year and is often cultivated as a core wood for furniture grade plywood and other engineered wood-based products. This deciduous tree can reach heights of over 80 feet and spreads of nearly 60 feet.
Hardwoods can be very dense, which makes them ideal for furniture and home building. The denser the wood, the more stable it is and the better it can support a load. The densest wood in the world is ironwood, sometimes called the "axe breaker." Ironwood contains long, tightly packed fibers with almost no air spaces, accounting for its hardness and density.
The softest wood commercially produced from trees in the world is balsa wood. Balsa is also the lightest wood. Balsa has an average specific gravity of .16 and easily floats in water.
Darkest & Lightest Wood
The darkest wood in the world comes from the ebony tree. The lightest is from the silver striped holly.