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Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu & W.C. Cheng

Dawn redwood

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionConiferophytaConifers—cone-bearing trees (and a few shrubs)
ClassPinopsidaGymnosperms such as cedars, Douglas-firs, cypresses, firs, junipers, kauri, larches, pines, hemlocks, redwoods, spruces, and yews
OrderPinalesCone-bearing plants: cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, larch, pine, redwood, spruce, yew, and others
FamilyCupressaceaeCypres family, including junipers and redwoods

About plant names...

Dawn redwood is native to China. It is the only member of genus Metasequoia, and one of only three living species of redwoods. It was believed extinct until living specimens were discovered in an isolated part of China, in 1944. It remains critically endangered. The rather unhappy-looking specimen in photo 4 was planted in 1981, not far from Redwood National and State Parks. The other photos here are of a robust tree planted about 30 years ago at a friend’s home in MA.

Identification: Trees reach 148' (45 m). Develops a broad, rounded crown. This tree is deciduous, while the other two varieties of redwood are evergreens. Leaves remind me of hemlocks. Small branchlets about 3" (7.5 cm) long consist of many needle-like leaves, each about ⅜" (1.2 cm) long and ¹/₁₆" (1.6 mm) wide. Cones are ½-⅞" (1.5-2.5 cm) in diameter, with 16-28 scales.


Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

1 · 3/22/2011 · Hoyt Arboretum, Portland, Ore­gon · By Heather Kent, Evan Griffith

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

2 · 8/4/2013 · Barry’s, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 4½" (14 × 11 cm)

The redwoods:

Sequoia sempervirens

Sequoiadendron giganteum
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Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Common Name

coast redwood

giant sequoia

dawn redwood
Plant Up to 377' (115 m) tall, living up to 2,200 years. 164-279' (50-85 m) tall. Up to 148' (45 m) high, up to 6½' (2 m) in diameter.


Needles ¹/₃₂-1" (1-30 mm) long, in a branching configuration or in opposite pairs. Photos of mature sun-illuminated foliage (left) and shade foliage. Photos by Christopher J. Earle.
¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-6 mm) long, arranged in spiral whorls.


Small branchlets 3" (7.6 cm) long, with needle-like leaves about ⅜" (1.2 cm) long and ¹/₁₆" (1.6 mm) wide.
Stem Bark up to 12" (30 cm) thick at base. Bark, up to 3' (91 cm) thick at the bottom of the tree, is fibrous and furrowed. Bark reddish brown when young, becoming fissured an gray.
Fruit Oval, ½-1¼" (1.5-3.2 cm), with 15-25 spirally arranged scales. Cones are 1½-2½" (4-7 cm) long. Cones are ½-⅞" (1.5-2.5 cm) in diameter, with 16-28 scales.
Range/ Zones

Type Wild Wild Wild


Online References:

Metasequoia glyptostroboides on (under?) Monumental Trees

Metasequoia glyptostroboides on Wikipedia

Metasequoia glyptostroboides on floridata.com

Metasequoia glyptostroboides at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Metasequoia glyptostroboides at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Metasequoia glyptostroboides on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Metasequoia glyptostroboides at Oregon State University

Metasequoia glyptostroboides at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

3 · 8/4/2013 · Barry’s, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

4 · On a sign at the rest stop: A distant relative of the coast redwood, the dawn redwood was thought to be extinct until living specimens were discovered in an isolated part of China in 1944. Rare among conifers, the dawn redwood is deciduous. Of three redwoods planted in 1981, the dawn redwood is the smallest, seldom exceeding a height of 140 feet and a diameter of six feet. · 8/28/2007 · Rte 199 State Park Info Place, Crescent City, Cali­fornia
≈ 11 × 7½' (3.5 × 2.3 m)


Metasequoia glyptostroboides description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Sep 2020.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

5 · 8/4/2013 · Barry’s, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 16 × 24" (39 × 59 cm)

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

6 · 8/4/2013 · Barry’s, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 7 × 9" (16 × 22 cm)

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

7 · 8/4/2013 · Barry’s, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

8 · 8/4/2013 · Barry’s, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts


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