Dawn Redwood – Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Critically endangered deciduous tree; sole living species in its genus Metasequoia; one of the three species of conifers known as redwoods. Although the shortest of the redwoods, it grows to at least 200 ft tall.
Leaves: opposite; 0.5-1 in long; bright fresh green; turn foxy red-brown in fall. Pollen cones produced on long spikes in early spring (only produced on trees growing in regions with hot summers).
Native to China. Discovered in 1943 as a species unknown to science. Became a popular ornamental tree in parks and gardens worldwide. Easy to grow in temperate regions. Its rapid growth rate has led to consideration for using the tree in forestry plantations. IT will thrive in standing water, and if left branched to the ground in full sun, will develop the large, contorted boles that have made it famous. Limbing or pruning at an early age will prohibit this formation later on. Recommended for urban areas in the Midwest, Southeast, and East Coast of North America.