The tallest vs the shortest vegetation on Earth

(writing in progress)


Forest of Eucalyptus regnans
Vegetation height possibly 110 m
Foliage intensely flammable
Regeneration involves episodic resetting to zero height, via crown-consuming, explosive wildfire
(lifespan of dominant species about one century, with longevity only ?400 years)


Forest of Sequoia sempervirens
Northern California
Vegetation height ?90 m
Foliage flammability ?
No resetting to zero? (lifespan of dominant species ?years, longevity about 2,000 years),sunlight%20can%20reach%20young%20seedlings.


Woodland of Sequoiadendrum giganteum
Vegetation height ?75 m
Foliage flammability?
No resetting to zero



Short grassland of Sporobolus kentrophyllus ( and and and Kyllinga nervosa (
Serengeti Plain
Vegetation height < 0.5 m
Fire permanently absent
Regeneration involves no temporal variation in height other than the reproductive heads of the graminoids


Posted on August 09, 2023 03:25 PM by milewski milewski



Which is the shortest naturally-occurring grassland (dominated by perennials) in South Africa?

For comparison, the short grassland of the Serengeti Plain, in the strict sense, is uniformly <0.5 m high, with no stems emergent above this level, whether grass culms or scattered shrubs. It functions as a lawn, despite a) the graminoids not being strongly stoloniferous and b) the vegetation being green for only part of the year.

The answer will probably be one of the 'sweet grassveld' types at the edge of the Karoo, such as in western Free State (similar to

However, I would not rule out grassland dominated by Stipagrostis obtusa in Northern Cape, particularly near Kenhardt.

Whatever the answer, the grasses will be small plants, similar to S. obtusa or Sporobolus ioclados.

What do you think?

Posted by milewski 12 months ago

Sorry: I dont know my grasslands at all.
The shortest grasslands I have seen have all been heavily overgrazed?
I dont know which ones are naturally short

Posted by tonyrebelo 12 months ago

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments