26 February 2020

Seeking sequoias

Ten days ago when I drove through the area between our house and Saint-Aignan that's called Saint-André (that's a local place name or lieu-dit in French), I thought I had found the giant sequoia that supposedly grows near here. Then I looked up the place on Google Maps street view, and this is what I saw.

Photo credit: Google Maps Street View
[the other four photos here are mine]

It seemed to me that the tallest tree in this grove could be the sequoia. I happen to know that there is a dirt road that runs parallel to the paved river road between our hamlet and Saint-Aignan, and that it passes close to the grove of trees I wanted to examine. Those trees stand on a steep embankment, at the edge of a field. I wanted to see the grove from behind it compared to where the main road passes below.

Since it was threatening to rain Sunday morning, I thought I'd better drive over there. That meant driving on a muddy dirt track through fields for about a kilometer (more than half a mile). I hoped the Peugeot was up to the task. Maybe, I thought, I can drive down that steep slope and get onto the main road (I was on the way to the supermarket). I wasn't confident I could drive up the slope, however; I could probably coast down. It looked pretty rutty and muddy from below.

And I made it. It was slow going, and the car was slipping and sliding. I enjoyed some good views out over the Cher river valley (there's a big grain silo on the other side of the river). And I got close to the stand of trees. They grow so thickly that I couldn't really see the individual tree trunks, and I had hoped that seeing the trunk would let me identify the sequoia. In other words, I couldn't identify it.

The French giant sequoia inventory says there is a sequoia at the place called Saint-André in Saint-Aignan. This place called Saint-André is not actually in Saint-Aignan, officially, but in the village we live in. The border between Saint-Aignan and our village is right there, so it might be a close call. Maybe there's another place called Saint-André in another part of Saint-Aignan — I have to look into that.


  1. I love a quest! The first google photo looks like a sequoia to me, but I know very little about trees, but am interested.

  2. On the second photo, I don't know about the tree on the left, but the three trees on the right look exactly like the Wellingtonia, aka Giant Sequoia, we had in our yard in Paris. it is strange that four trees, at least three, of the sane species were planted close to each other in a row there.

    As I said, my father told me that that conifer was a Wellingtonia, something you don't invent out of the blue. I'm going to send you pictures of said tree as soon as I can find them later this morning so you can check what I say.

    1. That's funny, CHM, because my candidate for giant sequoia was the tree on the left.

  3. Brave of you to drive down that damp field-road. That grove of trees certainly look taller than the others in the area, if that's an indication.


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