Dawn Redwood Facts
- Perhaps most notably, the magnificent Dawn Redwood forms one of only three known varieties of redwood trees known to man. That fact alone makes it worthy of note, to those who appreciate the grandeur and majesty of these large-growth trees.
- The great majority of botanists, however, had believed the fabulous species to be extinct. This erroneous belief held sway until the rediscovery of the species in 1944. That record-setting discovery, even more amazingly, occurred completely accidentally.
- This conifer also remains the only known member of its genus to still remain in existence. A known total of three other species once also filled the genus, though. But quite sadly, these three other varieties of the tree became extinct in the distant past.
- Quite unfortunately as well, the known population of this species only numbers a few thousand individual specimens. Given this sad fact, plus its highly localized native populations, the IUCN presently lists the gorgeous redwood as Endangered.
- Like many species around the world, the Dawn Redwood faces the threat of extinction, at least in the wild. Deforestation in its native area now poses a dire threat to the few remaining wild specimens. And, of course, climate change also poses a great danger.
Dawn Redwood Physical Description
Much like all known lexisting varieties of Redwood, the gorgeous Dawn Redwood attains an enormous height. Despite its great size, this variety nevertheless remains the smallest of the three known types, by far. But, its branches also reach the greatest width, relative to height.
Mature specimens of this beautiful tree average about 120 ft (37 m) in height. Exceptional plants sometimes greatly exceed this measurement, though. The tree also grows exceptional quickly. In fact, the tallest one ever reliably measured grew to a height of about 165 ft (50 m).
The bark of this stunning deciduous tree additionally develops in comparatively elongated vertical strips. Surprisingly, however, the bark of the amazing Dawn Redwood quite often peels away in relatively thin strips. The same bark also develops a deep brown color.
Its leaves further develop on opposing sides of a stem. These average a length of 0.4 – 1.18 in (1 – 3 cm). The same leaves display a bright green color at first, but slowly turn reddish-brown or dark orange in Autumn. Its rounded pollen cones average 0.2 in ( 5 mm) in length.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophytes
- Class: Pinopsida
- Order: Pinales
- Family: Cupressaceae
- Genus: Metasequoia
- Species: M. glyptostroboides
Dawn Redwood Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Unfortunately, the amazing Dawn Redwood has an extremely limited range of natural habitation. That holds true due to the fact that the rare species grows naturally in only the Lichuan county, of the Hubei province. This area forms part of the country of China, in Asia.
Even in this location, however, it has rather specific habitat requirements. Sadly, this only serves to increase its danger in the wild. That’s because all known naturally occurring specimens appear only on the hills and wetlands of the county in China that it inhabits.
The marvelous tree represents a fascinating example of the principle known as adaptive evolution, in the minds of many researchers. This holds true due to the fact that scientists theorize that the species did not originally evolve as deciduous, but as an evergreen.
The consensus among researchers is that the species slowly altered its natural state over time, in response to its environmental conditions. Evidence indicates the possibility that the majority of all known specimens in the wild sprang from one single parent tree, still living.
That specific tree, not entirely surprisingly, now forms the central part of a special shrine. The remarkable Dawn Redwood has also become quite popular as an ornamental plant, appearing in numerous parks and gardens. This, at least, aids in its preservation.