Redwoods: Species, Facts, and Identification (with Pictures) (2023)

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Sequoias are the largest and tallest trees in the world. Redwoods are famous for their towering growth habit, with the tallest trees reaching 360 feet (110 m) tall, the height of a 35-story skyscraper. As an evergreen conifer, redwoods produce seed cones, green needle-like leaves, and small yellowish-brown flowers. Redwood bark is fibrous with grooves and can be up to 1 m thick at the base of long, columnar trunks.

The Pacific coast of Northern California is home to redwoods in the United States. California giant sequoia (semmut sempervirens tree) and giant sequoia (A giant sequoia) thrive in northern California, Oregon, and Washington, where conditions are ideal for these giant trees. For California redwoods to thrive, they need cool, moist air, summer mist, and mild winters to grow this tall.

This article is a guide to the huge and majestic redwoods of California and Asia. Descriptions and images of these majestic conifers help identify redwood species.

What are sequoias?

Redwoods: Species, Facts, and Identification (with Pictures) (1)


They are redwoods and sequoias.types of conifersin the subfamilySequoioideaeand the familyCupressaceae. The three genera of redwoods aresecuoyadendro,Ymetasecuoya. Two species of redwoods are native to California and one, the primitive redwood, is native to China.

Redwoods require certain environmental conditions to thrive. The coastal conditions of Northern California are ideal for growing redwoods. Redwoods require moist conditions with heavy rainfall in spring, fall, and winter. Additionally, foggy conditions along the northern Pacific coast allow redwoods to thrive.

Redwoods have a shallow but extensive root system. The root zone of a sequoia or tall redwood can be up to 100 ft (30 m) from the tree. Although relatively drought tolerant, redwoods require constant moisture to survive. Plenty of moisture and rainfall ensure rapid growth of redwoods.

Redwoods and redwoods are known for their longevity. Under the right conditions, California redwoods can live for 500 to 1,000 years. In the Sierra Nevada mountains of California there are giant sequoias that are between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.

How tall are the sequoias?

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Some redwoods can reach a height of up to 110 m.

The huge redwoods grow between 50 and 110 m tall. The tallest documented redwood is a California redwood with a height of 379.7 m (115.7 m). Of the three redwood species, the Coastal Redwood (California Redwood) is the tallest, the Giant Redwood is second, and the Jungle Redwood is the smallest, at about 165 feet (50 m) tall.

types of redwoods

Let's take a quick look at the three species of trees in theSequoioideaesubfamily:

  • giant sequoia (A giant sequoia)– Also called giant sequoia, so bigdecorative evergreen redwoodIt grows on average between 50 and 85 m tall with a trunk diameter of up to 9 m. Giant sequoias grow primarily in the forests of the western Sierra Nevada and thrive in humid climates and mild winters.
  • coast redwood (semmut sempervirens tree)—This redwood is also known as the California redwood. This long-lived evergreen conifer grows up to 116 m tall with a trunk diameter of 9 m. Coastal redwoods grow along the northern coast of California. Tall redwoods have a recognizable pyramidal crown and slightly drooping branches.
  • Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)—The only deciduous species of redwood is the primitive redwood, native to China. This fast-growing deciduous coniferous tree typically reaches a height of 40-45m.

Redwood vs. Redwood

trees in the familySequoioideaeThey are all generally referred to as redwoods. Although redwoods and redwoods are closely related, they do share some distinctive traits. Here are the four main differences between redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and sequoias (Sequoia sempervirens):

Leaves:Coast redwoods have similar needle-like leaves.hemlock trees, while giant sequoias have needle-like, scale-like leaves.Wacholderbäume.

Kegel:Redwood trees have significantly smaller cones compared to redwood cones.

Reproduction:Coast redwoods are one of the few coniferous species that can reproduce by seed and runners that sprout from roots and tree stumps.

Size:Redwoods are the world's largest trees by volume and have massive trunks. Redwoods are the tallest trees and have slender trunks.

redwood ornaments

Redwoods have different leaves depending on whether they grow at the top of the canopy or lower down the tree. On the crown, the evergreen redwood needles grow up to 1 cm long, are pointed, narrow and elongated, growing in a spiral like cedar or juniper leaves. Redwood leaves, which grow on the lower branches, are flattened and longer.

Redwoods: Species, Facts, and Identification (with Pictures) (3)

Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) leaves in the lower canopy

Another feature of redwood leaves is their dark green color on top with two bluish-white stripes on the bottom. The native redwoods and sequoias of the United States have evergreen foliage.

sequoia tree bark

Redwoods: Species, Facts, and Identification (with Pictures) (4)

Redwood bark (Sequoiadendron giganteum).

The shiny cinnamon-red or reddish-brown bark is one way to identify redwoods. A redwood has a recognizable spongy bark and a dull chocolate brown color. Giant sequoias can be identified by their fibrous bark, which is a lighter reddish-brown color. You can also recognize redwoods by the fact that the reddish bark can be easily removed.

Sequoia baublumen

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Pollen-producing male flowers of the coastal sequoia (Sequoia sempervirens).

Redwoods produce small, inconspicuous yellow-brown flowers that bloom at the tips of the needle-like leaves. Redwood flowers bloom in December and January. However, it is not easy to see the flowers from the ground because they are very small and found high up in the forest canopy.

Redwoods produce both male and female flowers on the same tree. However, the pollen-producing male flowers are usually found in the lower canopy and the greenish female flowers are found in the upper canopy. Pollinated female flowers develop into seed cones, typical of all conifers.


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Redwood cones (pictured) are larger than redwood cones

Redwoods and redwoods can be identified by the size of the cones that the conifers produce. Redwood cones are brown, ovoid, and 2 cm long, about the size of a golf ball. Giant sequoia cones are three times as large and grow up to 7.5 cm long. All native redwood cones are composed of spirally arranged scales of wood.

Due to its immense size, it is difficult to tell a giant sequoia from a California sequoia from the ground. Therefore, by looking at the size of the cones found on the ground, one can recognize the type of redwood that grows in the forest.

sequoia tree seeds

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redwood tree seeds

Redwood seeds develop in the female cones and are released when the cones dry out. The tiny seeds of the winged tree are dark brown in color. Coast redwood cones have three to seven seeds in a cone. However, the giant sequoia can have up to 230 seeds in the large ovoid cones.

Sequoia tree growth rate.

Redwoods are classified as fast-growing trees and can grow an average of 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 m) per year under ideal conditions. All redwood species live at least 150 years and are over 30m tall in cultivation. In redwood forests, giant sequoias can reach dizzying heights of over 300 feet.

plant a sequoia

Planting a redwood can create a spectacular vertical accent or shade tree in a large garden. They grow redwoods from seed and then plant the redwood seedlings in the ground. It typically takes 12 months for a redwood to grow to 0.3-0.6m tall.

To plant a redwood, first soak the seeds overnight or store them in the refrigerator for a few days. Then sprinkle the seeds over moist potting soil and cover lightly with soil. Then place it in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist until seedlings form. Finally, transfer the strongest seedlings to separate pots to encourage growth.

When the seedling is 12 to 24 inches tall, you can plant the redwood in the ground. Choose the sunniest part of your yard and make sure the tree is at least 15m away from buildings and power lines.

Redwood Tree Identification

The best way to identify a species of redwood is by its needle-like leaves, recognizable cones, and fibrous bark. First, look for reddish-brown trees and examine the bark. Redwoods can be identified by their fibrous or spongy bark. Then look for cones. Giant sequoias are easily recognized by their huge woody cones.

In a landscape, redwoods are also easy to spot due to their cone-shaped canopy and the fact that they are the tallest growing trees in the forest.

types of redwoods

Let's take a closer look at the three species of redwoods.

California redwood or coast redwood (semmut sempervirens tree)

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California redwood or coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

The California redwood can be recognized by its tall, straight trunk, thick reddish-brown bark, slightly drooping branches, and conical crown. Like all conifers, the sequoia has needle-like leaves and brown seed cones. The California redwoods, the largest tree species in the world, grow up to 115m tall and have a circumference of 9m.

The California redwood is also called the coastal redwood. This common name refers to the tree's natural habitat along the Pacific coast of California. Other names for redwood species include coastal redwood, Palo Colorado, or simply "redwood."

Coast redwood cones are small, elongate, ovoid seed cones, 1 in (2.5 cm) long. Each cone contains up to seven winged seeds, about the size of a tomato seed.

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Cones and seeds of Sequoia sempervirens

The bark of the California redwood is reddish-brown with scaly, ridged grooves. The bark of the redwood is thick and measures up to 30 cm. You can easily recognize a California redwood by the smooth feel of its fibrous bark. You'll also notice that the cinnamon sticks have buttresses on the bottom.

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Rinde Evergreen Redwood

redwood ornaments

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Sequoia sempervirens leaves in the lower canopy

California redwood leaves have two different types of needles. The needle-like leaves in the lower canopy are flat branches with long needles, 2.5 cm (1 in) long. The shorter coniferous leaves on the upper branches grow on long shoots and are only 1 cm long.

redwood identification

The California redwood can be recognized by a slender, straight trunk and a pyramidal crown at the top of the tree formed by slightly drooping branches. You can also identify California redwoods in the forest by the shoots that emerge from the roots.

Giant secuoya or giant secuoya (A giant sequoia)

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Sequoia giganteum or sequoia giganteum (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Giant sequoia or giant sequoia is an impressive coniferous tree with spongy reddish-brown bark, large brown cones, broad pyramidal crown, and needle-like bluish-green leaves. Giant sequoias are 50-85m tall and up to 18m wide. As a popular ornamental tree, the giant sequoia is impressive to look at.redwood forests.

The giant sequoia also has the common names Sierra Redwood, Wellingtonia, Giant Redwood, and Big Tree. Compared to the California sequoia, the giant sequoia is generally more massive in terms of trunk size. Also, giant sequoias grow in a limited area and are less numerous.

Giant sequoia cones are the largest of all sequoia species. The huge reddish-brown cones are up to 7.5 cm long and 5 cm wide. Each cone can contain hundreds of tiny seeds. A single giant sequoia can produce up to 11,000 cones.

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Cones and seeds of Sequoiadendron giganteum

The bark of the giant sequoia is cinnamon brown with distinct longitudinal grooves and ridges. Up close, you'll notice that the smooth bark has a characteristically spongy feel, making it easy to distinguish from California redwood. The giant sequoia is also known as "boxwood" because of its soft bark - it's so soft you can beat it.

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Pelar Sequoiadendron Giantus

redwood ornaments

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Sequoiadendron giganteum leaves.

The giant sequoia has blue-green, needle-like leaves arranged in a spiral on a stem. The short, smooth needles are 1/4" long and spray upward. In winter, small clusters of yellowish or green flowers appear on the tips of the leaves.

redwood identification

The giant sequoia can be identified by its distinctive spongy red bark, large seed cones, and thick trunks. Look for the short leaves of a giant sequoia to identify them. Also, the 7.5cm egg-shaped cones found on the ground and the smooth red bark on a massive trunk can help distinguish one redwood from another.

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

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Urweltmammutbaum (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

The primitive redwood is adeciduous coniferwith dark greenleaves pinnate, needle-like, light brown barrel-shaped cones and dark brown bark growing on a broad trunk. Primitive redwoods have a broad, cone-shaped crown and grow between 18 and 30 m tall and up to 7.6 m wide.

Primitive redwoods are native to China, where they thrive in moist conditions, moist soil, and full sun. Because the primitive redwood is the smallest of the redwood species, it is a popular choice for planting in parks, open fields, and along roadsides.

Old redwood cones hang in dangling clusters and measure less than 1 inch. The barrel-shaped cones of the redwood are dark brown when mature. Egg-shaped cones consist of 16-28 scales, which are arranged in pairs at right angles.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides Kegel

An unusual feature of primitive redwood growth is that growing conditions affect tree size, bark thickness, cone and crown size. For example, primitive redwoods that grow on mountain slopes have a larger canopy, larger cones, and faster growth than redwoods that grow in ditches and streams.

The bark of the primitive redwood is dark brown or reddish brown with deep vertical cracks. As the tree matures, the base of the trunk widens significantly. The fibrous bark of the redwood peels off in ribbon-like strips.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides Rinde

The main difference between primitive redwoods and other types of redwoods is that it is a deciduous tree. In fall, the foliage of the primitive redwood turns a coppery brown color before the leaves of the conifer drop to the ground.

redwood ornaments

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Leaves of Metasequoia glyptostroboides

The leaves of the primitive redwood are opposite needles on short stalks. The leaves are pinnate and resemble a fern. The leaves of the primitive redwood are between 1 and 3 cm (2.5 - 7.5 cm) long. The tree's foliage appears in early spring, and redwood leaves turn a reddish-bronze color in the fall before falling.

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides en invierno

redwood identification

A primitive redwood can be recognized by its fibrous reddish-brown trunk, rounded crown, drooping barrel-shaped cones, and dark green, fern-like leaves that turn a light bronze color in fall.

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