#BotanistLens: Majestic marvel, Dawn redwoods


Metasequoia glyptostroboides and a young seedling flourishing at its base
Metasequoia glyptostroboides and a young seedling flourishing at its base

Dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides is one of the most marvelous species growing at London Town. Thriving in full sun in ornamental gardens or in dappled shade down close to the river, these majestic marvels are one of the tallest trees and the most mysterious ones at London Town.


Base of the trunk of Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Base of the trunk of Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Mysterious? Yes. Their story goes far beyond just being known as living fossils. Metasequoia glyptostroboides is the only deciduous redwood. "It is hypothesized that the genus Metasequoia evolved its deciduous nature to cope with the darkness. Despite its success, fossil evidence of this genus disappears after the Miocene. For this reason, Metasequoia was thought to be an extinct lineage" https://www.indefenseofplants.com/blog/tag/redwood


Cones of Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Cones of Metasequoia glyptostroboides

"When Metasequoia lived in the warm and humid Arctic, the plants shed their leaves in autumn, before the four months of total darkness. The litter was buried for tens of millions of years, including beneath the weight of a continental ice cap. Metasequoia seems to have survived from the brink of extinction, yet its native population remains isolated with low levels of genetic diversity. While the natural population’s long-term survival remains uncertain under the changing climate, what is certain is that, along with the advancement of technology, both living and fossil Metasequoia will continue to offer us invaluable information about its past secrets and the future of our global climate." https://arboretum.harvard.edu/.../old-molecules-new.../


Fine leaves of Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Fine leaves of Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Dawn redwoods can reach up to 100 ft high, now that sounds much more doable for a garden design than the other genus in the Sequoioideae group. Here is a good visual for how tall the other trees get: https://www.nps.gov/.../upload/ThreeTrees-2014-508.pdf


Majestic Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Majestic Metasequoia glyptostroboides

And, yes we might be a bit too far from the other giant Sequioas. But, you can come and visit the only deciduous genus in the Sequoioideae or even buy one to give it a new home. From our gardens to yours!


Trunk of Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Trunk of Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Check out our just opened pre-order plant sale. The Pre-Order is only open until Friday, September 3rd. More information at www.historiclondontown.org/plantsale. Not yet a member? Become one at www.historiclondontown.org/member to receive access to the Pre-Order and more.

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