Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Metasequoia glyptostroboides--Dawn Redwood
I do believe there is a typo in that sign! Do you agree? I think "Dawn Redwood" is correct. I don't know why it is called the "Dawn Redwood." Maybe because the species is so old it is from the dawn of time.
These trees at the UC Botanical Garden make a small grove trees that look like they have magical qualities. I can imagine faces in the trunks with colorful fairies flying from the grooves. Beautiful sculptures!
These trees were only known from fossils more than one million years old before live trees were found in China in 1941. These trees have been growing at the Bot Garden since 1949. I think many of the Dawn Redwoods seen around Berkeley got their start in the 1940s.
Unlike its cousins, the Giant Redwood and the Coast Redwood, this one is deciduous. People don't expect conifers to lose their leaves, so sometimes they are thought to be dead and are cut down. The fall foliage is an attractive golden brown and is one of this tree's wonderful qualities. Plant a redwood and still get winter sun!
This tree grows rapidly to about 50-160'. I was surprised to learn that they like moisture, and will even grow in a swampy area, just like a bald cypress, to which it is related. In the area of China where it was found, the locals refered to it as "Water Fir." Although it was used for construction in the area it known to scientists, it is now protected. It is widely available and grown as an ornamental in the west. Anyone can buy a Bonsai or a golden cultivar online.
A gorgeous tree! Highly recommended!