Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood)

 An ancient tree dating back over 65 million years that once covered much of North America,
the Dawn Redwood was thought to be long extinct. Its rediscovery in a remote mountainous
region of China in the early 1940s rocked the botanical world. In 1946, the Arnold Arboretum
obtained seeds from China and distributed them throughout the country. The oldest Metasequoia
in the country were all propagated from these seeds. With the reopening of China to botanists in
the late 1970s, new seed sources were available to bring in fresh genetic material.

The literature concerning Metasequoia glyptostroboides is vast and well worth exploring. The
story of the discovery of a handful of remnant trees in Hubei Province and subsequent explorations is
one of the most fascinating tales in modern botany. A quick overview on Wikipedia can get you
started and the compilation of historic and contemporary articles published as "Metasequoia
After Fifty Years" by the Arnold Arboretum's Arnoldia in 1998-1999 will give you the best history
available. Check out the web site for the latest info including annual conference
information. And don't miss Doug Hank's wonderfully obsessive site about his planting project
in North Carolina. See more resources at the bottom of the page.

Dawn Redwood is a massive tree, but it has a soft delicate texture. Before dropping its leaves,
it can have incredible fall color, especially when lit up on a sunny day. It's exciting to have one
planted in Maxwell and I hope it does well. They are fast-growing, so even though our specimen
is small, we might live to see it reach impressive height.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Bibliography and Other Resources--coming soon

The Basics:

Height: 70-100'
Width: 25'
Habit: conical, pyramidal
Texture: feathery
Rate: fast
Flower: monoecious; male flowers are racemes or panicles up to a foot long, female flowers are solitary
Fruit: pendulous cones, globose or cylindrical, 3/4 to 1 1/4", 14-28 scales, mature in 5-7 months
Buds: 1/4" ovoid or ellipsoid, bud scales light reddish or yellowish brown, opposite
Leaves: opposite, deciduous, flattened, straight or slightly curved, 1/2", upper bright green,
lower slightly lighter in color, raised midrib
Fall Color: reddish brown, orange brown
Bark: reddish brown when young>darker, fissured, and exfoliating with age
Zone: 5-8
Culture: moist, deep, well-drained soil; full sun; little to no pruning; appears to tolerate very wet sites
Disease and Insects: not serious
Native Range: eastern Szechuan and western Hupeh China
Introduced to west: 1947-1948


*Information from Michael A. Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing, 1998

Metasequoia glyptostroboides   Gallery

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) Gallery  all photographs,  Emily Levine

Metasequoia  Metasequoia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Metasequoia glyptostroboides bark

Metasequoia glyptostroboides form