The habit, foliage and bark features of dawn redwood can easily be confused with Taxodium distichum. In addition to the bud/leaf arrangement already discussed, a unique feature of dawn redwood is the dark “armpit” or depression that forms under the attachment of larger branches to the trunk. Great identification feature!
Karren Wcisel, TreeTopics.com
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Cupressaceae, tree, conifer, cone, needle, deciduous, dawn redwood