Botany: dawn redwood, part I

Self-tutoring about botany: the tutor shares an exciting find from the field.

In yesterday’s post I mention a long connection I have with dawn redwoods, despite only recently becoming acquainted. The dawn redwoods themselves have a story.

Scientists discovered dawn redwoods by fossil before they found living ones: they were thought to be extinct. They used to be plentiful in North America tens of millions of years back. When scientists found a grove in China in the 1940s, it was a revelation. Dawn redwoods were made accessible to visiting scientists who collected seeds.

In nature, the dawn redwood is endangered: it hangs on in a few wild groves in an area less than 250 square miles in China. Ironically, the dawn redwood is easy to grow, and is planted around the world as a popular ornamental! Hence its presence less than a block from where I live, even given its rarity in the wild.

A common name for dawn redwood is metasequoia. In our area, the dawn redwood is a grand, yet demure tree. I will tell its characteristics – and how I identified it – in a coming post:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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