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:
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...