Redwood Trees: Types, Facts and Identification (With Pictures)

The world’s largest and tallest trees are redwood trees. The tallest trees in the world, some reaching 360 feet (110 meters) tall, are found in Redwoods. They are well-known for their gigantic size. Redwoods produce seed-producing cones, green needle leaves, and tiny yellowish-brown flowers as a coniferous evergreen tree. Long columnar trunks have redwood bark with fibrous furrows that may reach 3 feet (1 meter) in thickness.

Redwood trees may be seen along the Pacific coast of northern California in the United States. Northern California, Oregon, and Washington have the ideal conditions for the gigantic California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and gigantic sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Redwoods need damp, cool air, summer fog, and mild winters to become as tall as they do in California.

The enormous and majestic redwood trees of California and Asia are the subject of this article. These magnificent conifers can be identified by their descriptions and images.

What Are Redwood Trees?

The subfamily Sequoioideae and the family Cupressaceae include redwood and sequoia trees as species of coniferous trees. Sequoia, Sequoiadendron, and Metasequoia are the three redwood genera. The dawn redwood, one of California’s two redwood species, is indigenous to China.

The environment necessary for redwood trees to grow is unique. Northern California’s coastal environment is ideal for redwood development. In the spring, fall, and winter, redwoods prefer moist conditions with a significant rainfall. In addition, redwoods can thrive in the foggy conditions that are common along the northern Pacific coast.

The root system of redwood trees is shallow yet widespread. A tall redwood or sequoia tree’s root system may be up to 100 feet (30 meters) long. Redwoods require consistent moisture to survive, despite their tolerance to drought. Redwoods thrive in humid and wet environments.

The longevity of Sequoia and redwoods is well-known. California redwoods may survive between 500 and 1,000 years under the right conditions. Several enormous sequoias in California’s Sierra Nevada range are up to 2,000 and 3,000 years old.

How Tall Are Redwood Trees?

Giant redwood trees may grow to be up to 360 feet (110 meters) tall and may reach heights of up to 360 feet. A 379.7 (115.7 m) California redwood is the world’s tallest known redwood tree. The coast redwood (California redwood) is the tallest of the three redwood species, with a height of around 165 feet (50 meters), followed by the massive sequoia and finally the dawn redwood.

Types of Redwood Trees

The three types of trees in the Sequoioideae subfamily are briefly discussed below:

  • Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum)—This big ornamental evergreen redwood grows between 164 and 280 feet (50 and 85 meters) tall on average with a trunk diameter of up to 30 feet (9 meters). It is also known as the giant sequoia. Giant sequoias prefer damp conditions and mild winters and may be found mostly in western Sierra Nevada forests.
  • Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)—The name California redwood refers to this redwood. With a trunk diameter of 30 ft. (9 m), the long-living evergreen conifer can reach 380 feet (116 meters) tall. The northern California coast is home to coastal redwoods. The pyramidal crown of the tall redwood conifers is distinctive, while their drooping branches are subdued.
  • Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)—The dawn redwood, which is endemic to China, is the only deciduous kind of redwood. The deciduous conifer grows to a height of roughly 130 to 150 feet (40 to 45 meters). For parks and large gardens, dawn redwood trees are a popular choice.

Sequoia vs. Redwood

Redwoods are the most common name for trees in the Sequoioideae family. Redwood and sequoia trees have certain differences that set them apart, despite their common origin. Between sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), here are the four main distinctions:

Leaves: Giant sequoias have scale-like needle leaves akin to juniper trees, whereas coast redwoods have needle-like leaves comparable to hemlock trees.

Cones: As compared to sequoia cones, redwoods have far smaller cones.

Reproduction: Coast redwoods are a unique coniferous tree species that can reproduce via seed and roots and stumps. They are one of the few.

Size: In terms of volume, Sequoias are the world’s largest trees, with huge trunks. The tallest trees, redwoods, have thin trunks.

Redwood Tree leaves

If they grow in the upper canopy or lower down the tree, redwood trees have varied leaves. Evergreen redwood needles, which are pointed, thin, and oblong and spiral like cedar or juniper leaves at the crown, may grow up to 0.4″ (1 cm) long. Lower branches have flattened, longer redwood leaves.

The dark green color on the upper side, with two bluish-white bands on the underside, is another characteristic of coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) leaves. Evergreen foliage is found in redwoods and sequoias native to the United States.

Redwood Tree Bark

One way to identify redwood trees is to look for Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) tree bark. A redwood tree has a dull chocolatey brown color with distinctive spongy bark. The fibrous bark of giant sequoias is red-brown in color, and it stands out. The reddish bark peels away readily from redwood trees, making them easy to identify.

Redwood Tree Flowers

Little, insignificant yellowish-brown flowers bloom on the ends of needle leaves in coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) pollen-producing male flowers. In December and January, redwood flowers bloom. Nonetheless, since the blooms are so tiny and located so high in the forest canopy, it is difficult to spot them from the ground.

Male and female flowers occur on the same tree, as do redwood trees. Male pollen-producing blooms are usually found in the lower canopy, while female greenish blooms are located in the upper canopy. All coniferous trees, including pollinated female blossoms, develop seed-producing cones.

Redwood Tree Cones

The size of cones produced by sequoias (shown in the photograph) distinguishes them from redwoods. Brown, egg-shaped tree cones with a diameter of 1″ (2 cm) and the size of a golf ball are found in redwood trees. Three times bigger than ordinary sequoia cones, giant sequoia cones grow to 3.25″ (7.5 cm).

The spirally arranged woody scales make up all native redwood cones. Because of their huge size, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a giant sequoia and a California redwood on the ground. You can use the size of cones on the ground to identify which kind of redwood is growing in the forest by looking at them.

Redwood Tree Seeds

Female cones release redwood tree seeds when they dry out, which develop inside the cones. The dark brown seeds of the little winged tree. A cone of coastal redwood has three to seven seeds. In the massive ovoid-shaped cones of the giant sequoia, however, up to 230 seeds may be found.

Redwood Tree Growth Rate

Under ideal circumstances, redwood trees are classed as fast-growing trees, with growth rates of 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 meters) per year. When grown, all redwood species grow to be over 100 feet (30 meters) tall and live for at least 150 years. The colossal sequoias of the redwood forests may grow to heights of over 300 feet (90 meters).

Planting Redwood Tree

A large garden landscape may have a spectacular vertical accent or shade tree thanks to the planting of a redwood tree. You plant redwood saplings in the ground after growing them from seed. A redwood tree normally grows one or two feet (0.3 – 0.6 m) tall over the course of a year. Soak the seeds for a few days or store them in the refrigerator before planting a redwood tree. Next, lightly cover the seeds with soil in moist potting soil.

Keep the soil moist until seedlings appear by placing in a sunny spot. Lastly, to encourage development, move the most robust seedlings to individual pots. You can plant the redwood in the ground when the sapling grows to about 1 or 2 feet (30–60 cm) tall. Make sure the tree is at least 50 feet (15 meters) distant from buildings and power lines before you choose the brightest area of your garden.

Redwood Tree Identification

The needle leaves, distinguishable cones, and fibrous bark are the best ways to determine a redwood species. The first thing to do is look for reddish-brown trees and examine the bark. The fibrous or spongy bark of redwoods distinguishes them. Next, look for cones. Due to their enormous woody cones, giant sequoias are simple to spot. Because of their conical canopy and the fact that they are the tallest trees growing in the forest, redwoods are also readily identifiable in a landscape.

Types of Redwood Trees

Let’s take a closer look at the three redwood species.

California Redwood or Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

The straight, tall trunk, deep reddish-brown bark, somewhat drooping branches, and conical crown distinguish it from the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). The redwood has needle-like leaves and brown seed cones, like other conifers. California redwoods can grow up to 380 feet (115 meters) tall and have a girth of 30 feet (9 meters) thanks to their world-record status.

Coastal redwood is another name for California redwood. The natural habitat of this tree is along California’s Pacific coast, which is what gives it its common name. Coastal sequoia, Palo Colorado, and simply redwood are some of the other names for this species of redwood. Little, oblong egg-shaped seed cones that are 1″ (2.5 cm) long make up coastal redwood cones. Each cone contains seven winged seeds that are roughly the size of a tomato seed.

California redwood bark has furrowed, scaly ridges and cones and seeds that are a crimson-brown color. The wood of the redwood is 14 inches (30 cm) thick on average. The silky texture of the fibrous bark makes it simple to distinguish a California redwood. The buttresses at the bottom of the cinnamon brown trunks will also catch your attention.

Bark of Sequoia sempervirens

Redwood tree leaves

California redwood tree leaves have two distinct kinds of needles on their lower canopy. Lower canopy needle sprays have long, 1-inch (2.5 cm) needles and are flat sprays with needle leaves. The upper branches have shorter conifer leaves that are only 0.4 inches (1 cm) long and grow on long shoots.

Redwood identification

A slender, straight stem and a pyramidal canopy at the top of the tree, made up of somewhat drooping branches, are characteristics of the California redwood. Sprouts growing from the roots of California redwoods can also be seen in the forest.

Giant Redwood or Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

The huge sequoia or huge redwood is a massive conifer with reddish-brown spongy bark, enormous brown cones, a wide pyramidal crown, and blue-green needle leaves. Giant sequoia trees may reach heights of 165 to 280 feet (50 to 85 meters) and broadness of 60 feet (18 meters). The massive sequoia stands out in redwood woodlands as a decorative tree.

Sierra redwood, Wellingtonia, giant redwood, and big tree are some of the common names for the giant sequoia. The massive sequoia has a larger circumference in terms of trunk size than the California redwood. The gigantic sequoia trees, on the other hand, are few in number and grow in a small area.

The largest of all redwood species is the giant redwood cone. These enormous reddish-brown cones may grow to be 3″ (7.5 cm) long and 2″ (5 cm) broad. Hundreds of little seeds may be found inside each cone. A single sequoia tree can yield up to 11,000 cones.

Giant sequoia bark is cinnamon-brown and has longitudinal furrows and ridges running the length of the cones and seeds. The soft bark of the California redwood has a spongy feel to it, which makes it easy to differentiate from the state tree. The big sequoia is known as the “boxing tree” because of its delicate bark, which allows you to punch it.

Redwood tree leaves

The giant sequoia’s needle-shaped, bluish-green leaves are spirally arranged on a stem and have an awl shape. The upward-pointing sprays are formed by the short, soft needles, which measure 0.2” (0.6 cm) in length. Small yellowish or green tufts appear at the ends of leaves in the winter.

Redwood identification

The spongy red bark, massive seed cones, and thick trunks distinguish the giant sequoia from other trees. The small leaves of a huge redwood are helpful for identification. A sequoia may also be distinguished from a redwood by its 3″ (7.5 cm) egg-shaped cones on the ground and soft red bark on a robust trunk.

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

The dawn redwood has dark green pinnate, needle leaves, light brown barrel-shaped cones, and black bark that grows on a wide trunk. It is a deciduous conifer with dark green pinnate, needle leaves, light brown barrel-shaped cones, and black bark. The redwood grows up to 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide and is between 60 and 100 feet (18 and 30 meters) tall with a broad, conical crown.

DAWN REDWOODS grow well in humid environments, damp soil, and full sun in China. Dawn redwood is a popular choice for planting in parks, open landscapes, and along streets because it is the smallest of the redwood species. Dangling in pendulous clusters, dawn redwood cones are little more than an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. When mature, the barrel-like redwood cones are dark brown. Scales are arranged in pairs at right angles to make up the ovoid cones, which range from 16 to 28.

Growing conditions influence the height, bark thickness, cone size, and canopy of Metasequoia glyptostroboides cone. DAWN REDWOODS, for example, have a greater canopy, bigger cones, and faster development than redwoods growing in ditches and streams. With deep fissures running vertically, dawn redwood bark is dark brown or reddish-brown. The base of the trunk expands dramatically as the tree grows. The fibrous redwood bark is stripped off in ribbon-like strips.

The fact that it’s a deciduous tree distinguishes it from dawn redwoods and other types of redwoods. Before the conifer leaves fall to the ground in the autumn, dawn redwood foliage changes from brown to copper.

Redwood tree leaves

The needles of Metasequoia glyptostroboides are arranged oppositely on short stems. The leaves have a feathery texture and a fern-like appearance. Between 1 and 3 cm (2.5 and 7.5 cm) long, dawn redwood leaves grow. Early spring brings the tree’s foliage, and in the autumn before it falls, the redwood leaves turn reddish-bronze.

Redwood identification

The fibrous reddish-brown trunk, rounded crown, clusters of dangling barrel-shaped cones, and light bronze fern-like leaves that turn a rich dark bronze color in the autumn distinguish a dawn redwood tree.

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