The Sierra Club's logo has gone through several changes, but the tree has always been part of the seal. The giant sequoia is not only the symbol of the Sierra Club, but more important, it is also a key feature of the Sierra Nevada forests that Sierra Club founder John Muir fought hard to preserve.
The tree, whose scientific name is Sequoiadendron giganteum, was first named Wawona (meaning, "big tree") by the Native Americans. Today, it is referred to as the Sierra redwood or the giant sequoia. (Fun fact: "Sequoia" is one of the words in the English language that contains all the vowels).
Endemic to the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California, the giant sequoia is the only species from its genus, Sequoiadendron, that has survived. The genus itself is more than 200 million years old and dominated the Jurassic period, which infers that it shared the earth with dinosaurs. In fact, giant sequoias existed before dinosaurs and have outlived them by 70 million years. Furthermore, the oldest documented giant sequoia is 3,200 years old. Take that, cockroaches!
The sequoia can grow up to 300 feet tall, and the root of one full-grown tree can take up an acre of land. The giant sequoia known as General Sherman, in California's Sequoia National Park, is considered to be both the planet's most massive tree and its largest organism in terms of volume.