The Moruga Silk Cotton Tree: Grandest of them All

John Lum Young, Paul Comeau, Dan Jaggernauth, Fulton Wilson


On 21 July, 2002, the authors set off to measure the girth of the Moruga silk cotton. The tree has nine massive buttresses to support its giant trunk. The tallest one is 13 m high. The plan was to cut two long poles, secure a tape measure firmly to one pole and loosely to the other, which would then be carried around the tree. This took three hours as the tree is closely surrounded by thick forest and it was necessary to prevent the tape from getting entangled among hanging lianas, epiphytes and the branches of under-storey trees. The circumference measured 10.3 m just above the buttresses. We also measured a hexagonal perimeter at 1.7 m above the ground on the six most prominent buttresses. This perimeter was 27.2 m.

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