Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is a fast-growing, deciduous tree and is considered the ancestor of all redwoods (photo).
Dawn Redwood is one of three species of conifers known as redwoods. The other two redwood species are the California Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). It is native to
where it grows to 200 feet or more in height. It is considered a living fossil because it was thought extinct until its discovery in China in 1944. In 1948, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University located in China sent an expedition to collect seeds and, soon after, seedling trees were distributed to various universities and arboreta worldwide for growth trials. The Arboretum Tome in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States maintains 33 different seed lines or representatives of the Dawn Redwood on its grounds. Los Lunas, New Mexico
Dawn redwood is often confused with the Texas Redwood or Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum). One easy way to differentiate between the two is that the needles or leaflets on Dawn Redwood are opposite (photo), meaning directly across from each other, while on the Texas Redwood and the Native New Mexico Redwood (Taxodium mucronatum (neomexicana)) the needles are alternate (staggered).
If water is not limiting, the Dawn Redwood can grow 4′ per year ultimately reaching 60′ – 70’ tall and 25′ – 30′wide. Prior to leaf drop each autumn, leaf color changes to an intense orangish-red or burnt orange color. Growth form is pyramidal. It is not a drought tolerant tree and does best with regular water. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4. Trees That Please Nursery has the Dawn Redwoods available in both 5 and 15 gallon container sizes.
Staff Plant Physiologist