Dawn Redwood

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The dawn redwood is a fast growing decidious tree and a true "living fossil," because its fossilized remains were discovered before living plants were found. It dominated forests of the Northern Hemisphere before almost going extinct in the Age of Mammals. It was saved from extinction in the 1940's and can be found today in parks and large gardens at heights of 200 ft tall and up.
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
25.60 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.80 m

The dawn redwood has an orangeish-brown bark color that covers a thick, tapering trunk and a broad, buttressed base.
Twigs & branches
Demonstrating the typical conifer shape, the Dawn Redwood has a narrow, pyramidal verdure with sparse, upward-sweeping branches.
The leaves of the Dawn Redwood are typically between 0.4 and 1.25 inches (1–3 cm) long, and bright fresh green, turning a foxy red-brown in the fall.
Reproductive Structures
The dawn redwood is a monoecious species: light yellow-brown male cones hang in clusters, while yellow-green female cones hang individually.
  • Summer
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter
Natural range of distribution: 
The dawn redwood's natural range is an area of only about 232 square miles in China, however it has been planted successfully around the world. The tree grows at a fast rate--increasing an average of 24 inches a year. The dawn redwood grows in open forests, preferring shady, moist areas, such as ravines and stream banks, although the dawn redwood is very versatile and can grow in many types of soil.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The redwood family was very abundant when the dinosaurs were around. However, now only 9 genera and 15 species exist. Dawn redwood was known only as a fossil until 1941, when it was discovered growing in the Szechwan province of China. Now, the species has been distributed worldwide.

This tree provides winter cover for birds, small mammals and deer.

In the spring, needles (leaves) begin to unfold, during the summer months the unfolded needles turn green and create a green canopy around the tree, then in the fall the needles turn a yellow-brown color and finally fall off for winter months.

“Dawn Redwood.” Arbor Day. Arbor Day Foundation, n.d.

Media and Arts

Ode to Dawn Redwood

Dear Dawn,

Last name Redwood; may I say you look quite good?

You are beautiful and majestic, a real sight to see,

Standing your ground firmly in front of the Peabody.

Your slender frame extends way up high,

Housing little birds that need a rest from the sky.

In your pyramidal form, you stand tall at 25.6 meters,

Your relatives can’t compete, such as the Eastern Redcedar.

Oh Dawn, you look a little bare,

But not to worry, I’m not easily scared.

I know you shed your needles every fall,

This makes sense since you conserve energy overall.

Luckily it’s spring; I see your buds tiny and green,

Sprouting off your branches just trying to be seen.

Your phenomenal growth rate in the eastern and southern US,

Would have any sort of critic thoroughly impressed.

Must be the rain that keeps you going so strong,

Good thing Connecticut is the place where you belong.

You need plenty of sunshine let’s not forget,

You like your space, and crowding makes you fret.

When it comes to reproduction you’re a breeding machine,

Both male and female cones help carry out your dream.

Dawn, monoecious should be your middle name,

Your cones are not on separate plants, but simply on the same.

However, historically, this has not always been the case,

At one point in time, you were thought to be erased.

I’m ecstatic you prevailed to be with us today,

And since it is your christening, I have a few more things to say.

Dawn, I am so proud of you and everything you’ve done,

Learning all about you has been more than fun.

As you carry on just know that you are loved,

I will think of you always, when the sun shines from above.