Scientists have discovered the world’s tallest tropical tree in the tropical rainforest of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The previous record holder is also from the same region.
World’s Tallest Tropical Tree
The tree, now considered as the world’s tallest tropical tree, was first discovered in 2018 using an airborne Light Detection and Ranging Survey. In August of the same year, the team trekked to the tree to conduct high resolution, three-dimensional scans, and drone flights to create a three-dimensional view of the tree.
The tree has since been named Menara which means “tower” in Malay, and it stands at 330 feet (100.8 meters) from ground to sky. The previous record holder for tallest tropical tree was also from the same region and from the same genus as Menara.
The only person to have climbed Menara is Unding Jami of the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership.
World’s Tallest Flowering Plant
According to the scientists, it is actually possible that Menara is also the tallest flowering plant in the world, the current record for which is currently held by a eucalyptus tree in Tasmania that stands at 326 feet (99.6 meters tall).
It is possible for Menara to grow even taller, but scientists say that it may be vulnerable to wind damage. Furthermore, at that height, it may be harder for the tree to carry water up to its tallest branches.
“There could still be taller trees out there yet to be found, however given the evidence we have found on the mechanical constraints caused by the wind, it is unlikely any new tree would be much taller. But it is likely that the tallest extant flowering plant still sits undiscovered somewhere in the forests of Borneo,” said Prof. Yadvinder Malhi of Oxford, the lead in studying the three-dimensional structure of the tree.
Menara is a Yellow Meranti (Shorea faguetiana) of the Dipterocarpacae family that is quite common in Southeast Asia. Not counting Menara’s roots, it weighs almost 179,700 pounds (81,500 kilograms), 95 percent of which comes from its massive trunk.