Dawn Redwood

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
Metasequoia glyptostroboides is a coniferous tree native to the Sichuan-Hubei region of south-central China. It was thought to have been extinct for millions of years; in fact, even until the early 1940s, Metasequoia glyptostroboides was only known by fossil record. In 1946, a group of botanists in China discovered a living specimen in the western Hubei province. The discovery of this "living fossil" made international headlines, and ever since, dawn redwood—as it is referred to colloquially—has been the embodying symbol of conservation .
Daniel Son, Adira Ahmad Rizal
Collected Data
Date of tree entry: 
24.00 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.64 m

Dawn redwood has a scaly bark with differing shades of brown. The outermost layers tend to be the darkest, and the innermost layers are almost orange in hue. Despite the scaly texture, the bark itself is actually quite firm.
Twigs & branches
Dawn redwood has opposite arrangement on branchlets, meaning its twigs in pairs, directly across from one another.
Dawn redwood is a deciduous tree, meaning it sheds its leaves annually. During spring/summer, its leaves are linear and flat in shape, about 0.5" in length, and possess a bright green color. As winter approaches, these leaves turn a reddish bronze hue before falling off.
Reproductive Structures
As with most conifers, dawn redwood is monoecious, or hermaphroditic. In other words, a single individual has both male and female sex organs. The male flowers are found in clusters, whereas the female ones are solitary. As the tree is self-pollinating, its leaves are not ornamentally significant.
Since dawn redwood is a gymnosperm, it does not develop a fruit to protect its seeds. Instead, its ovules are exposed, or "naked," on leaflike structure known as megasporophylls. These seed cones are brown and elongate in shape, ranging from about 0.5 to 1 inch in length.
  • Dawn redwood in the fall season
  • Dawn redwood in the winter season
  • Dawn redwood in the spring season
  • Dawn redwood in the summer season
Natural range of distribution: 
Dawn redwood is native to the Sichuan-Hubei region; the two south-central provinces are both marked in a peach color in the attached map. The seeds were collected and brought to the United States in the 1940s by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Dawn redwood grows best in moist and slightly acidic soils (in fact, it does quite poorly in dry or alkaline areas), and its growth is susceptible to early fall frosts due to late-season growth. As such, it is found naturally mostly near ravines and stream banks.
Origin, history, and uses: 

Millions of years ago, the dawn redwood was one of the most widespread plant species in the Northern Hemisphere. Fossilized rocks containing the tree’s characteristic needle patterns have been found in North America, Europe, and East Asia. In the mid 1900s, the tree was thought to have been extinct for at least 20 million years. Then, in 1946, a group of researchers working in the Sichuan area announced their discovery of a Metasequoia tree. Almost immediately, a team from Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum funded to bring the seed back to North America. Since then, dawn redwood seeds have been dispersed to botanical gardens across the world, as they serve as heralds as to the importance and power of conservation efforts. 

As a deciduous plant, dawn redwood sheds its leaves starting in the fall. Just prior, they turn from bright green to an intense orange. The needles begin to form in the spring, and in the summer the unfolded leaves turn into the plant's characteristic green.
Media and Arts
File metasequoia.mp417.7 MB