Welcome to the awesome majesty of the Redwood tree family. There are only three living species of Redwood trees in the whole world.
The Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens ). These are the tallest trees in the world. They only grow naturally along the Northern Californian Coast and Southern Oregon’s coast.
The Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). These are the biggest trees by volume in the world. They only grow naturally in a small part of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
The Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). These are weird trees that were thought extinct until being discovered alive in China in the 1940s. Based on current DNA analysis, scientists believe they are related to the Redwood and the Sequoia.
Here is a species range map. The Redwood is native to Northern California and the Southern Oregon Coast. The Giant Sequoia is native to a small part of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The Dawn Redwood is native to China.
Species: Sequoia sempervirens
Redwood conservation status: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/34051/2841558
The Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is also known as the California Redwood, the Coastal Redwood, or the Coast Redwood. The Redwood is native to the coastal regions of Northern Californian and southernmost Oregon.
The Redwood is the tallest tree in the world. The current tallest tree is the Hyperion tree, measuring 115.61 meters (379.3 feet). Trees over 60 meters (200 feet) are common, and many are over 90 meters (300 feet). Numerous historical specimens reportedly were over 122 meters (400 feet).
The Redwood is not only the tallest tree in the world, it is also one of the longest lived. It can live to be more than 2,000 years old. It has a fibrous thick fireproof bark which just gets tougher as it matures. Redwood bark can be up to 30 cm (1 foot) thick!
Over 90% of the old growth Redwood trees were logged since the 1850’s. Vast amounts of forest were destroyed. However, the Redwood population is now healthy and thriving in its protected areas. The issue at hand now is setting aside more Redwood forests as protected preserves.
It is important to support the efforts of amazing environmental groups like Save The Redwood League: https://www.savetheredwoods.org/our-work/protect/
Save The Redwoods League has saved thousands of acres of old growth forest and continues to work to preserve these precious lands forever: http://6ks.564.myftpupload.com/awesome-nature/old-growth-giant-sequoia-forest-saved/
Supporting State & National Parks is also absolutely key to the well being and longevity of these gorgeous trees and the ecosystems they create. The Redwood National and State Parks system comprises much of the old growth Redwood groves that are left: https://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm
Studies show that Redwoods capture more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than any other tree on Earth. https://sempervirens.org/discover-redwoods/redwoods-climate/
The Redwood is one of the fastest growing trees on earth. A Redwood achieves most of its vertical growth within the first 100 years of its life. It can grow 1-1.5 meters (3-5 feet) per year. Old growth trees SHOULD NEVER be cut down. Support hemp paper production.
These trees have a very happy future. All vehicles will be electric soon- powered by green energy.
Redwood trees have shallow roots that extend over 30 meters (100 feet) from the tree’s base. One might think that a 106 meter (350 feet) tall tree would need really deep roots to stay solid in the earth, but Redwoods have come up with a different solution.
Redwoods are able to achieve such enormous heights because they live in “tight tree groupings”. They like to live next to each other as families. Their roots may only extend down 1.5-4.5 meters (5-15 feet) but they branch outward to find buddies. They intertwine their roots together and this allows for much more stability, as well as nutrient exchange.
Redwoods need a temperate cloudy climate with year round cool temperatures, near constant rainfall, and little to no frost. The Redwood also requires dense fog in order to thrive- they actually drink it. Some of the fog simply covers the leaves and prevents evaporation. But some of it also enters the stomata, or tiny pores, on the leaves and is drawn down through the branches to the roots. This is the reverse of transpiration (the normal flow of water from the roots to the leaves that exists in most trees.)
Redwoods depend on fog for more than 30% of their water needs. They get water from the fog that rises off the Pacific Ocean and also from the cold clear rivers that run through the Pacific Northwest.
The Redwood doesn’t like direct sea spray because it is too salty. They prefer to live between 8 to 48 km (5 to 30 miles) inland. Redwoods are very sensitive to winter frosts and especially intolerant of drought.
Redwoods only grow naturally on parts of the California and Oregon Coast. There are other areas where they also do well but research before you plant- only plant trees where that specific species will be happy and thrive.
The largest populations of Redwood trees live in:
–Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Del Norte County, CA
–Redwood National Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, CA
–Another famous Redwood grove is in Muir Woods National Monument, one of the last remaining old growth stands of Redwoods in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area
There are Albino Redwood trees!
An Albino Redwood is a Redwood tree which is unable to produce chlorophyll, and so has white needles instead of the normal green. It survives by getting sugar from the roots of nearby Redwood neighbor trees, usually the parent tree from whose base it has sprouted. They are known as “Ghosts of the Forest”.
About 400 Albino Redwoods are known. They can be found in both Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The exact locations are not released to the public in order to protect these rare trees. They typically only grow to be 3 meters tall (10 feet) but some reach a maximum height of about 20 meters (66 feet).
The reason why you don’t see other large albino conifers (conifers are a group of plants that have pointy evergreen needles and pine cones) is that other conifers lack the ability to graft their roots onto their neighbors. This means the albinos of those species can’t survive to become sizable trees like the Albino Redwood can.
Albino Redwoods used to be regarded as parasitic plants, but some researchers theorize that they are supported by other trees because of their role in storing toxic heavy metals.
The albino Redwoods trees appear to be removing heavy metals and other manmade sources of pollution out of the earth and then storing them so that the surrounding Redwoods do not become harmed. Pollution weakens and kills Redwoods so the albino Redwoods are doing a great service to their community.
Albinos apparently accumulate more toxins than normal trees because they have defective stomata (tiny pores in their leaves). This causes them to lose more water through transpiration (too much water evaporates out of their pores). This in turn forces them to take up more water through their roots in order to stay hydrated. This means they pull up a whole lot more heavy metals contaminating the ground water, thus reducing other Redwoods’ exposure to these heavy metals. Normal Redwoods share their nutrients with the Albino Redwood and in exchange the Albino tree cleanses its family of pollutants.
“They are basically poisoning themselves,” one scientist said, “They are like a liver or kidney that is filtering toxins.” http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/11/albino-redwoods-mystery-of-ghosts-of-the-forest-may-be-solved/
Redwood Parents Care For Their Babies Via Their Root System
Redwoods have a complex interchange where they communicate with each other and feed each other through their connected root systems. They have a symbiotic relationship with a special type of fungi which plays a huge role in the way the roots of neighboring trees connect with each other. The result is Redwoods exchange sap nutrients with each other through their roots- they literally feed each other, and indeed it is documented that larger trees will feed the baby trees nearby first before they begin drawing up significant amounts of nutrients for themselves.
Redwoods Are Intelligent
This scientific documentary “What Plants Talk About” is about the amazing intelligence of plants. There is a section on Redwood behavior. You won’t look at plants the same way again.
Watch documentary here: http://6ks.564.myftpupload.com/neat-nature/the-intelligence-of-plants/
The Giant Sequoia
The Giant Sequoia is the largest tree by volume on earth. Being in the presence of these magnanimous beings is truly awesome.
The Giant Sequoia
Species: Sequoia giganteum
The Giant Sequoia is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron. They are native to the western Sierra Nevada Mountain range of California. The red areas in the image above show the only places in the entire world where Giant Sequoias naturally grow, and where there are large, ancient old growth groves of them.
Giant Sequoia conservation status: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/34023/2840676
The Gian Sequoia is a high elevation tree; Giant Sequoia groves are generally found at 1,400–2,000 meters (4,600–6,600 feet) above sea level in the northern part of their range. In the southern part of their habitat they are found at 1,700–2,150 meters (5,580–7,050 feet).
The Giant Sequoia thrives in an alpine climate with dry summers and very snowy winters. It relies on the melting snowpack for water in drier months. In the video above, warm sunlight is causing steam to rise from the bark of a Giant Sequoia in wintertime. (source) Giant Sequoia tree bark can be up to 91 cm (3 feet) thick!
Because of its size, the Giant Sequoia has been studied for its water pull. They reach such extreme heights by using a system called “capillary action” which involves the tree’s xylem (or sapwood). Xylem or sapwood is the youngest wood in a tree’s trunk and is located in the outermost rings. It is sometimes called “living wood” because it is full of tiny water tubules that conduct water from the roots underground to the leaves in the branches. https://www.wise-geek.com/what-is-sapwood.htm
“Capillary action works because the xylem cells in trees have diameters on the order of 25 microns or .025 mm – about one fourth the thickness of a piece of paper. The extreme thinness helps the water climb up so that thousands of liters can be lifted up into the heights of a tree. (Note that the strongest man-made pumps can’t get water that high!)” https://intravelmag.com/intravel/insight/giant-sequoias-earths-oldest-living-things
The Giant Sequoia tree also utilizes sub-pressure from evaporating water occurring at the leaves.
The existing population of Giant Sequoias is well protected but more land needs to be set aside as sanctuary of these giants. More info to get involved: https://www.savetheredwoods.org/project/transfer-protects-giant-sequoias-clean-water/
Awesome News from California: The largest unprotected old growth Giant Sequoia forest in the world was saved from logging; it will now be preserved as a national monument park. Donations from all 50 states & 30 other countries saved these trees: http://6ks.564.myftpupload.com/awesome-nature/old-growth-giant-sequoia-forest-saved/
A moderate amount of Giant Sequoias have been planted around the world and in some places they do well. There are Giant Sequoias growing in parts of western and southern Europe, the Pacific Northwest of North America, British Columbia, the southern and eastern United States, southeast Australia, New Zealand and central-southern Chile. Some of these trees are big, for example, there is famous grove in Scotland over 50 meters tall (165 feet).
Again though, the only place these trees are found naturally is in the California Sierra Nevadas and it is the only area where the trees are utterly enormous. It is very important to only plant a tree where it will be happy and healthy.
Why The Giant Sequoia Depends On Fire
This is a fascinating short video about the relationship between the Giant Sequoia’s life cycle and fire. Giant Sequoias are adapted to forest fires in numerous ways. Their bark is unusually fire resistant, and their cones will normally open immediately after a fire.
Fire clears away brush and other vegetative undergrowth while the ash fertilizes the soil. This ensures that new baby Giant Sequoias will have enough nutrients and sunlight to grow.
The largest tree on earth by volume is a Giant Sequoia tree named General Sherman. General Sherman lives in Sequoia National Park, which is located in the southern region of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
While there are Redwoods that are taller than any Giant Sequoia, and other species of trees with wider trunk diameters, the Giant Sequoia is the largest tree on earth by far when it comes to sheer volume (how much space it takes up). The General Sherman tree has about 1,487 cubic meters (52,500 cubic feet) in volume.
General Sherman is 2,300–2,700 years old. Giant Sequoias can live to to be more than 3,500 years old!
The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is located in Sequoia National Park.
Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are sister parks that share a border. Kings Canyon National Park has the famous General Grant Grove, which is home to the General Grant tree among other famous Giant Sequoias. These Giant Sequoia forests are part of 819 square km (316 square miles) of old-growth forests shared and protected by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
There is also a famous Giant Sequoia old growth grove called Mariposa Grove which is located in Yosemite National Park, CA.
Like other Redwood species, the Giant Sequoia has no taproot (a taproot is large, central, and dominant root that other roots sprout sideways from.)
The Giant Sequoia’s root system is surprisingly shallow for such an enormous tree. “In a mature tree, the roots typically spread out 30-45 meters (100-150 feet) from the trunk… The largest lateral roots are rarely more than 30.5 cm (1 foot) in diameter, and all roots are concentrated in the uppermost 30-45 cm (12-18 inches) of soil” https://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/natures-masterpiece-giant-sequoia/
A mature Giant Sequoia’s root system can occupy over 3035 square meters (three quarters of an acre) or more of land.
Some joke about “treehuggers” but in all seriousness, Redwoods and Giant Sequoias are magnanimous beings with high consciousness. They have souls. And like all evolved beings, they like to share good vibes.
The Dawn Redwood
The Dawn Redwood is a weird tree. It is a living fossil. Native to China, It was originally thought to have been extinct for millions of years until a giant living specimen was discovered in the 1940’s. Based on current DNA analysis, biologists believe the Dawn Redwood is in the same subfamily as the Redwood and the Giant Sequoia.
The Dawn Redwood
Species: Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Dawn Redwood conservation status: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/32317/2814244
The Dawn Redwood is a deciduous tree (deciduous means its leaves change color and fall off in winter). The opposite of deciduous is evergreen (evergreen means the tree stays green all year round).
The Dawn Redwood is also a conifer. A conifer is a tree or plant that is typically evergreen, has needle or scale-shaped leaves, and has cones which contain seeds (pine trees are classic examples of conifers).
The Dawn Redwood is very strange because while it is a conifer, its leaves turn orange and fall off as winter approaches.
The Dawn Redwood is native to Lichuan county in the Hubei province of China.
The Dawn Redwood needs to be better protected in its native range but it is fortunate that it is widely planted around the world, thus enabling the species to thrive globally.
Even though it is the shortest of the Redwood species, the Dawn Redwood can grow to at least 61 meters (200 feet) in height. Younger Dawn Redwoods are narrow and slender but as the tree gets older, the trunk broadens at the base and develops gnarly yet attractive “fluting” or grooves. These grooves also form buttress roots, which help provide further stability to the tree. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a396
Here are some Dawn Redwoods enjoying life in the forest.
Here are some planted Dawn Redwoods in a park. The Dawn Redwood is fast growing. There is one specimen in Virginia that has reached 37 m (120 feet) in just 30 years!
Here is a mature Dawn Redwood with visible buttress roots which provide structural support to the tree.
Ancient Dawn Redwoods have a beautiful and otherworldly appearance.
Here is a Dawn Redwood in the fall. Its leaves have turned orange and is readying itself for winter.
Here is Dawn Redwood in wintertime. (source)
And here is the Dawn Redwood’s foliage in the Summertime :)
A Special Thanks to the United States National Park Service for caring for the Redwood and Giant Sequoia, the two redwood species endemic to the American West.