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Botanical Name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Common Name: Dawn Redwood
Origin: Central China
Locations: CNE, CSE, CSW, KN
Notable Feature: Overwhelmingly magnificent when sited in groupings or most handsome as a single specimen. This ancient tree ornamentally displays its buttressing, fluted base and reddish brown, corky bark that exfoliates into long, narrow strips.
Habit: Although a massive tree, it is the shortest in the redwood family; fast growing with a very straight trunk and with numerous branches forming a narrow, conical crown. This deciduous conifer will reach 100 feet or more in height and around 25 feet wide.
Flower: Monoecious, male and female flowers occur on the same tree in spring. Male flowers are a light yellow-brown, in narrow hanging clusters up to 12” long; female flowers are solitary, non-showy, and a yellow-green.
Fruit: Light brown, small dangling, box-like cones, ½ to 1” long, hang on long stalks and appear in fall. Cones contain small, winged seeds that mature in 5 to 7 months.
Foliage: The feathery-looking foliage turns bronze in fall, and then drops off only to re-emerge in new clusters of bright green in spring. Needles are opposite, flat and linear, and 1” long.
Interesting Fact: Though once common across the northern hemisphere, the Dawn Redwood was originally considered extinct and only known by its fossil records, before being discovered growing in China in 1941. In 1948 the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University funded an expedition to collect seeds from the original tree and soon after distributed seeds and seedlings to various universities and arboreta worldwide.