Botanical Name:Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Common Name:dawn redwood
Family Name:Cupressaceae - cypress family, sometimes placed in Taxodiaceae
General Description:Metasequoia glyptostroboides is a beautiful tree with a fascinating history. Considered a “living fossil” dawn redwood was at one time known only from fossilized remains and considered extinct. That changed in the 1940’s when botanist discovered living specimens in China. Through a cooperative effort between Chinese botanist and Arnold Arboretum this plant was introduced into the United States in 1948. Since then it has become a popular landscape tree across the country. Much of the plant material grown outside of China comes from the same original seed source and carries very little genetic variability. In addition, this tree is planted extensively in China as a street tree grown primarily from rooted cuttings. This practice also leads to little genetic diversity. Unfortunately, native populations of Metasequoia glyptostroboides have diminished and it is considered critically endangered. Efforts are being made to protect and conserve this important piece of history. Dawn redwood is a very fast growing large tree that grows best in full sun on moist, even wet, sites. It continues growth well into summer which can occasionally lead to stem damage from an early fall freeze.
Resources Consulted:Davis, Becke. "ILCA Presents-Deciduous Conifers: In a Class by Themselves." Landscape Contractor June 2003: 29-36. Print.
Dirr, Michael A. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. Champaign: Stipes, 2009. Print.
"Vanishing Acts Resource Guide: Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia gyptostroboides)." Science & Conservation. Morton Arboretum, 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
Creator:Julia Fitzpatrick-Cooper, Professor, College of DuPage
Keywords/Tags:Cupressaceae, tree, conifer, cone, needle, deciduous, dawn redwood