Re-discovered in central China in 1941, the dawn redwood is a deciduous conifer that combines the benefits of a stately and upright shape of a conifer with the lovely fall color associated with deciduous trees.
More detail: Dawn Redwood’s Tree of the Month.
Opposite, deciduous, green to yellow-green in color; thin and flat, generally appearing two-ranked in a flattened display; can resemble a compound leaf
Male flowers are light yellow brown, in narrow hanging clusters up to 12 inches long; female flowers are yellow-green, solitary and erect with fused scales
Four-sided, box-like cones that hang on long stalks, round to cylindrical in shape, 1/2 to 1 inch long, light brown
Slender, light reddish brown in color, smooth, with short, cylindrical buds protruding at right angles
Reddish brown, fibrous and stringy, develops an irregular fluted pattern, exfoliates in strips and has a rope-like appearance
Very straight, single trunk with numerous branches forming a narrow conical crown
Grows to between 70 and 100 feet in height, but has been seen to reach 200 feet in height
Originally native to large parts of the eastern seaboard and parts of Asia, but today the natural range is limited to China in Asia and North Carolina in the U.S.
Large deciduous tree
Needles can turn an orange-red in the fall
Grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well drained, wet, clay soils
Prefers full sun
Pests and Diseases
Japanese beetles and spider mites can be problems for this tree, but otherwise there are no other serious problems.
Considered a “living fossil” and is the sole living species of the genus Metasequoia, and one of only three species of conifers known as redwoods.
Dawn redwood is often confused with common bald cypress. The needles on dawn redwood are opposite, meaning directly across from each other, while those on a bald cypress are staggered.
Dawn redwood was thought to be extinct before it was rediscovered in China and brought back to the United States in 1941.