The largest Giant Sequoia tree in California's Sequoia National Park. The trunk of this 2300-2700-year-old tree contains 52,000 cubic feet (1486.6 cubic meters) of wood weighing 1,385 tons (1,256 metric tons), the greatest volume of any tree in the world.

The name's origin is rather prosaic: in 1862 a different giant sequoia was discovered nearby. Thought to be the largest at the time, it was named "General Grant" in 1867 during a frenzy of patriotism follwing the Civil War. However, in 1879, the true champion was discovered, and named in an analagous fashion for William Tecumseh Sherman.

Some statistics about General Sherman, rescued from Google's cache of the National Park Service's website, cut off since Septermber 11:

                                             Feet Meters 
Height above Base                           274.9   83.8  
Circumference at Ground                     102.6   31.1  
Maximum Diameter at Base                     36.5   11.1  
Diameter 60' (18.3 m) above base             17.5    5.3 
Diameter 180' (54.9 m) above base            14.0    4.3 
Diameter of Largest Branch                    6.8    2.1  
Height of First Large Branch above the Base 130.0   39.6 
Average Crown Spread                        106.5   32.5 

and still growing...