A rediscovered redwood

The story of a rediscovered redwood



My first encounter with this tree was at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA in 2009. I walked quickly with my then three-year-old Grace through their arboretum section, but was stopped in my tracks by this tree. This is one of the two large specimens that grow at Longwood.

Like most things in nature, the trees featured on today’s homepage are worth a closer look. This species, known as the dawn redwood, was thought to be extinct for hundreds of years. Unlike other redwood trees, this one is deciduous; during autumn its needles turn a brilliant orange, and then fall to the ground. Fossilised evidence of the species is common in the Northern Hemisphere, but there was no evidence known of its existence after the Miocene era, which ended more than five million years ago. The tree was thought to have been long extinct until 1944, when a giant dawn redwood was discovered in South-central China. More were found in surrounding lowlands, and today the tree is a popular ornamental in many parts of the world. The trees in our image, from Zhongshan, China, are standing in a shallow lake, which reflects the blue sky above.

Map it

Source : Bing

The Strange Tale of the Dawn Redwood

Leaves of the Sequoia Redwood

During the what was formerly called the Tertiary period (66 million to 2.58 million years ago), it would have been hard to miss the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), and its ilk. It is apparent in the fossil record that this Sequoia – sharing a common ancestor with the better-known “tallest tree in the world,” the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) – had a near cosmopolitan distribution in the Northern Hemisphere.

Expansive forests of these and other Redwoods reigned supreme, and fossil remains of the proposed 20 species in the Metasequoia genus have been found in remote locales such as Ellesmere Island, Axel Heiberg Island, Greenland, and Spitsbergen. […] Source: The Strange Tale of the Dawn Redwood  “BiodiverSeed” Blog

Dawn Redwood in Autumn

Images from Trees Planet Metasequoia and Bing Search

Image 1 http://wifemothergardener.blogspot.com/2011/08/dawn-redwood-metasequoia.html