What is Coast Redwood?

Dee S.

The coast redwood, also known by its scientific name Sequoia sempervirens, is the single species belonging the genus Sequoia Endl. It is native to the coastal areas of Oregon and California and is characterized by its tall stature. The coast redwood is an evergreen tree that thrives in damp, cool climates. Some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world are coast redwoods. It is not to be confused with the giant redwood, a tree from a different genus that grows in much drier climates.

Coast redwood trees are famous for their great height.
Coast redwood trees are famous for their great height.

Considered a conical tree, the coast redwood has thick bark that is quite soft. The bark, as the name implies, is usually reddish-brown in color. The leaves of the tree usually resemble pine needles and have sharp points and a linear shape. Typically, the leaves are dark green in color on the top and white on the underside, and they usually measure about 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) in length.

The cones of the coast redwood grow in stages. They are cylindrical in shape and vary in color according to their sex. For example, the female cone is green and may grow to 1.25 inches (roughly 3.2 cm) in length. During the fall, they may ripen and turn a lighter brown color. The male cones are usually brown and are much smaller than the female's.

People often are drawn to the coast redwood trees because of their size. They can grow to approximately 365 feet (111.3 m) tall, though most of them only reach heights of about 100 feet (30.5 m). Their cone shape means they are not a wide-spreading tree, only reaching widths of about 25 feet (7.6 m).

Typically, the coast redwood grows well in moderately fertile soil. The soil must be moist, but it needs to drain well, too. It can survive in both full sunlight and partial shade and is rarely affected by pests or diseases.

Propagating the coast redwood is quite interesting. Although it can be grown from seed, it may also be grown by cuttings. In fact, it is one of the few kinds of conifer tree that will generate new shoots, even after the entire base of the tree has been cut down. This gives it a high likelihood of survival.

Although the coast redwood is the only species of tree in its genus, it does have several different varieties. For example, one variety, Aptos Blue, has leaves that appear almost dark blue with a green tinge. It also has branches that swing low. Another variety, Adpressa, has shorter leaves that appear almost white in color when they are young. In addition, the Adpressa variety may only grow to 25 feet (about 7.6 m) tall.

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