Wardholme Tree You Took My Breath Away!

Last month, my husband and I could visit his family north of Santa Barbara County. I was super excited because we could stop by Carpinteria and check out the largest Torrey Pine tree in the world! The tree even has a formal name- the Wardholme Torrey Pine.

It may seem a bit dramatic, but I gasped when we approached the tree! You can not deny the presence of this giant.

Let’s take a look close and personally, shall we?

Important Information
  • Scientific Name
    • Inland Population- Pinus torreyana
    • Santa Rosa Island- Pinus torreyana var. insularis
  • Habitat
    • coastal sage scrub
    • chaparral
  • Endangered
  • One of the rarest pine trees in the world as it only grows naturally in two places in Southern California.
    • A small strip of the coastline in Del Mar and La Jolla
    • Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara County
  • Very slow-growing and can live up to 100 years
  • Distinguished by the needles on the branches being in bunches of five
  • Six-inch (15 cm) pinecones

Map- 5100 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

The Wardholme Torrey Pine – The Largest in the World

Wardholme Torrey Pine tree full view across street

I thoroughly enjoyed my ten minutes of visiting the Wardholme Torrey pine, but I have to say that it was so enormous that I had a hard time photographing it!

Before I start, I would like to mention that I have previously written in-depth about the Torrey pine tree, so please click on the link below for more information.

–>Desperately Seeking Torrey Pine Trees<–

When Was The Tree Planted?

Wardholme Torrey Pine Tree Landmark Santa Barbara County

How Tall is the Wardholme Tree?

Wardholme torrey pine tree worlds largest

Can you believe that the tallest Torrey Pine tree in the world is over 126 ft (38 m) tall?

What is the Circumference of the Trunk?

Wardholme torrey pine tree july carpinteria

Twenty feet and one half an inch is the circumference of the trunk.

How Large is the Branch Spread?

torrey pine tree crown view branches

The crown of the tree measures over 130 feet across. That sure is a lot of shade!

When and How Did This Tree Come About?

As previously noted above, the Wardholme Torrey pine tree started its’ existence as a bit of an anomaly. In 1888, Carpinteria had a friendly neighborhood contest to see who could grow the most unusual plant.

Judge Thomas Ward took this challenge to heart and decided to plant a Torrey pine tree seedling in front of his home, a gift from his friend Thomas Stith Brandegee. It is believed that Thomas must have acquired the seeding from Santa Rosa Island.

The Ward Family has been taking care of this tree ever since. When Florence Ward inherited the property, she suggested that the tree be protected and recognized as an official landmark.

So in 1968, the Wardholme Torrey Pine tree became Carpinteria’s first Historical Landmark. And in 1988, there was a city-wide celebration to commemorate its 100th Anniversary.

Centennial placard carpinteria wardholme torrey pine

A Bit More Interesting Information

Back Torrey Pine tree carpinteria santa barbara county

As I was searching the internet to find anything about this tree, I found the information quite limited.

But, I did learn that in 2005 developers were looking into the area, but the community fought to protect the tree. Hallelujah!

Additionally, in 2007, seedlings from the Wardholme tree were planted at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden at the Hill Campus in Carpinteria.

And finally, in 2011, the tree suffered a massive branch failure. Because of how tall and thin the tree is, the tree service company deemed it too dangerous to use a bucket truck to trim it.

The company in charge of this task, Bartlett Tree Experts, had a specially trained crew climb up the tree to trim it and adjust the cable riggings that stabilize the tree.

Ok, that is all I have.

Thanks for making it this far! I hope you enjoyed this incredible tree as much as I did.

Please check back soon, as I will continue our Central California Coast exploration by sharing with you our experience at Surf Beach in Lompoc. We did not see any great white sharks, but I always have many photos to share!

Until next time!

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