Metasequoia glyptostroboides

The Dawn Redwood is a beautiful deciduous, coniferous tree growing into a conical shape. The tree has lovely fern like foliage which is soft to touch and the leaves which are bright green in spring and deep green in summer eventually turn a copper bronze in Autumn. It makes a wonderful landscape specimen or it can be kept in a smaller container for a smaller garden. It has strong all year round interest and prefers a damp habitat.  It is also one of the most exciting plant discoveries during the last century. The name meta means ‘meta’ and ‘sequoia’ means relating to the fossil specimens when it was first discovered. In the wild it is found in only a small area of China.  This tree was found orginally by a local forester and this led Professor Cheng of the National Central University, China on an expedition to a remote village in the Szechuan province around 1941. At first it was thought to be extinct for 5 million years but research into the prehistoric fossil records indicates that this tree existed 50,000,000 years ago! Seeds of  Metasequoia glyptostroboides were collected in 1947 by an expedition sponsored by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, USA and then distributed amongst botanic gardens around the world.. As a result the species is classified by the World Conservation Union as “critically endangered” because it is threatened from intensive rice cultivation and the poor prospect of regeneration in its wild habitat.


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Kirsty Wilson

Horticulture is my inspiration! I am the Herbaceous Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Photographer, Award winning Garden Designer, BBC Beechgrove Garden Television Presenter & BBC Radio 4 GQT Panellist. I want to inspire people to grow plants, connect with nature and have a positive impact on the world.

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