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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Metasequoia glyptostroboides - Dawn Redwood

This beautiful deciduous conifer has a very interesting history. It was actually discovered by westerners as a fossil before anyone found living specimens. It was given the name Metasequoia, the meta being a prefix added to many extinct organisms linking it's relationship to our common Sequoia. It was discovered by a group of plant hunters sent to China from the Arnold Arboretum prior to WWII. Seeds collected during that tip are the main source of all the trees in cultivation. Read the book "A Reunion of Trees" by Stephen Spongberg. Seen in Capitola at the base of the Trestle Bridge.



As I said, its a large deciduous conifer, maybe 75' around here, with a broadly conical shape. Lower branches usually are persistent unlike the coastal redwood. Very graceful, and beautiful bright green foliage turning slightly yellow but mostly brown in the winter.  This one is located in Harvey West park.



Leaves are linear, flat, soft, light green, about an inch or so long. They are oppositely arranged or really whorled but twisting at the base and laying flat to appear two-ranked like true firs. This picture shows the winter coloration just starting.



This is more typical of the color in spring and summer.



Leaves on two types of stems, permanent which are brown and deciduous, those remaining green. Those that are on green stems fall as a unit in what is called deciduous leaflets. You may have noticed this same occurrence on our coastal redwood that the ground is covered with branchlets and not individual leaves.

Cones resemble those of Sequoia but a smaller, maybe less than an inch and more tan than brown. The scales are wider than those of Sequoia.



Sequoia on the left, Metasequoia on the right.



The bark and trunks on old plants are really pretty amazing. The trunks develop deep cavities or indentations when they are quite old. Mature specimens can be more attractive in winter than summer. This one is at Longwood Gardens.



This is a grove at the National Arboretum in DC.



Fall color is not really great but is a brownish gold color, some years better than others. Sometimes the leaves fall green.



Fantastic grove in Corralitos across form the Corralitos Market.




Misidentification:
Bald Cypress. Not really common here but there are a few. You can tell the difference by looking at the lateral branchlets, they are alternate and not opposite.

Locations:
Nice ones abound

Aptos:
141 Venetian Rd RDM flats a grove of them.

Felton:
My guess it's the largest one around. 171 Main St, right off Hiway 9.

Freedom:
Corner of Corralitos Rd. and Freedom Blvd, in front of the restaurant.

Corralitos:
4 corners - on the Browns and Eureka Canyon side. At least 5 trees.
1765 Hames Rd.

Santa Cruz:
110 Golf Course Drive by the city maintenance yard.
626 King St. Nice one, shaped by the power lines.
In the lawn in the front of Santa Cruz High School on the left side.
204 Iowa at the intersection with Bay. Seen from Bay St.

Soquel: 4615 Wharf Road

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful article, have used information from it for my facebook page The Nature of Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley. Also checked out the Ben Lomond Dawn Redwood (listed as Felton on the page), wow! Some more are at the entrance to Porter College at UCSC, North end of Westlake Park (three young trees); Corner of Lilac and Pine off of W Zayante Road, Felton (large specimen); and one at the entrance of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park - all three types of redwoods are behind the entrance building. You might be interested in this article about its discovery https://landscapearchitecturemagazine.org/2016/01/19/the-metasequoia-mystery/ Anyway, thanks for a great website! Peggy Edwards AKA Peigi McCann

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