Monday, October 4, 2010

Sequoia sempervirens - Coast Redwood

Sequoia sempervirens: Sequoia named for the Cherokee silversmith Sequoyah who developed his nation's first writing system; sempervirens is Latin meaning always green, referring to the evergreen foliage.

Native to the Pacific coast of California and Oregon.

Growth rate fast to 70-90' in cultivation and up to 150-300' in habitat. with a 15-30' spread, developing an open pyramidal form and horizontal branching from a large main trunk with a broad base. Commonly cultivated as a long-lived, fast growing evergreen lawn, shade or screen tree.

Foliage sprays of feathery, flat, glossy green, needle-like leaves, 1/2-1" long tightly spaced in an alternate, opposite flat plane along green stems. Needles have slighlty prickly ends, lighter undersides, and persist 3-4 years, clinging to branches 1-2 years after drying to dull brown.

Cones are brown, oval 3/4-1" long, with densely spaced woody scales with crape-like, peltate thickened ends, maturing and opening in fall of the first year, but may persist for several months afterward.

Bark is fibrous, dark brown to cinnamon red, becoming very thick and spongy with age, with deep wide furrows and vertical ridges.

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