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Metasequoia
Metasequoia
(dawn redwood) is a fast-growing, deciduous tree, and the sole living species, Metasequoia
Metasequoia
glyptostroboides, is one of three species of conifers known as redwoods. It is native to Lichuan county in Hubei
Hubei
province, China. Although the least tall of the redwoods, it grows to at least 165 feet (50 meters) in height. Local villagers refer to the original tree from which most others derive as Shui-sa, or "water fir", which is part of a local shrine. Since its rediscovery in 1944, the dawn redwood has become a popular ornamental. Together with Sequoia sempervirens
Sequoia sempervirens
(coast redwood) and Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia) of California, and Oregon
Oregon
Metasequoia
Metasequoia
is classified in the Cupressaceae
Cupressaceae
subfamily Sequoioideae. Although M. glyptostroboides is the only living species in its genus, three fossil species are known, as well. Sequoioideae
Sequoioideae
and several other genera have been transferred from the former Taxodiaceae
Taxodiaceae
family to Cupressaceae
Cupressaceae
based on DNA analysis.[1]

Contents

1 Paleontology 2 Appearance 3 History 4 Metasequoia
Metasequoia
in gardens, parks and streets 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Paleontology[edit] Metasequoia
Metasequoia
redwood fossils are known from many areas in the Northern Hemisphere; more than 20 fossil species have been named (some were even identified as the genus Sequoia), but are considered as just three species, M. foxii, M. milleri, and M. occidentalis.[2] During the Paleocene
Paleocene
and Eocene, extensive forests of Metasequoia
Metasequoia
occurred as far north as Strathcona Fiord
Strathcona Fiord
on Ellesmere Island
Ellesmere Island
and sites on Axel Heiberg Island
Axel Heiberg Island
(northern Canada) at around 80° N latitude.[3] Metasequoia
Metasequoia
was likely deciduous by this time. Given that the high latitudes in this period were warm and tropical, it is hypothesized that the deciduous habit evolved in response to the unusual light availability patterns, not to major seasonal variations in temperature.[4] During three months in the summer, the sun would shine continuously, while three months of the winter would be complete darkness. It is also hypothesized that the change from evergreen to deciduous habit occurred before colonizing the high latitudes and was the reason Metasequoia
Metasequoia
was dominant in the north.[5] Large petrified trunks and stumps of the extinct Metasequoia occidentalis (sometimes identified as Sequoia occidentalis) also make up the major portion of Tertiary fossil plant material in the badlands of western North Dakota. The trees are well known from late Cretaceous
Cretaceous
to Miocene
Miocene
strata, but no fossils are known after that. Before its discovery, the taxon was believed to have become extinct during the Miocene; when it was discovered extant, it was heralded as a "living fossil". Appearance[edit]

Dawn redwood foliage - note opposite arrangement

While the bark and foliage are similar to another closely related redwood genus Sequoia, Metasequoia
Metasequoia
differs from the California
California
redwood in that it is deciduous like Taxodium distichum
Taxodium distichum
(bald cypress), and like that species, older specimens form wide buttresses on the lower trunk. It is a fast-growing tree to 130–150 feet (40–45 m) tall and 6 feet (2 m) in trunk diameter in cultivation so far (with the potential to grow to even greater heights). The leaves are opposite, 0.4-1.25 inches (1–3 cm) long, and bright fresh green, turning a foxy red-brown in fall. The pollen cones are 0.25 inch (6 mm) long, produced on long spikes in early spring; they are only produced on trees growing in regions with hot summers. The cones are globose to ovoid, 0.6-1.0 inches (1.5-2.5 cm) in diameter with 16–28 scales, arranged in opposite pairs in four rows, each pair at right angles to the adjacent pair; they mature in about 8–9 months after pollination. Metasequoia
Metasequoia
has experienced morphological stasis for the past 65 million years, meaning the modern Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Metasequoia glyptostroboides
appears identical to its late Cretaceous
Cretaceous
ancestors.[6] History[edit]

Eocene
Eocene
(Ypresian) age M. occidentalis branchlet

Metasequoia
Metasequoia
was first described as a fossil from the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
Era by Shigeru Miki in 1941, but in 1944, a small stand of an unidentified tree species was discovered in China
China
in Modaoxi (磨刀溪; presently, Moudao (谋道), in Lichuan County, Hubei[7]) by Zhan Wang. Due to World War II, these were not studied further until 1946, and only finally described as a new living species of Metasequoia
Metasequoia
in 1948 by Wan Chun Cheng and Hu Hsen Hsu. In 1948, the Arnold Arboretum
Arnold Arboretum
of Harvard University
Harvard University
sent an expedition to collect seeds and, soon after, seedling trees were distributed to various universities and arboreta worldwide for growth trials. Presently, a number of natural Metasequoia
Metasequoia
populations exist in the hills and wetlands of Hubei's Lichuan County. Most of them are small, with fewer than 30 trees each; however, the largest of them, in Xiaohe Valley, is estimated to consist of around 5,400 trees.[7] A few trees are also said to exist in neighboring Hunan
Hunan
Province.[7] Metasequoia
Metasequoia
in gardens, parks and streets[edit] Dawn redwoods are fast-growing trees. They will grow too large for small gardens, but can be good in a wide range of larger gardens and parks. Although they live in wet sites in their native habitat they will also tolerate dry soils.[8] Unlike most conifers, their deciduous habit means they do not cast too much shade in winter, and they can even be seen growing as street trees in London. Strawberry Fields is a landscaped section in New York City's Central Park dedicated to Beatle John Lennon. It's named after the Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever". At the farthest northern tip of the lawns there have been planted three dawn redwood trees. The trees lose their needles but regain them again every spring, a symbol of the eternal renewal of John Lennon. The trees are expected to reach a height of 36 metres (118 ft) within 100 years. This will make them visible from great distances in the park.[citation needed] References[edit]

^ Paul A. Gadek; Deryn L. Alpers; Margaret M. Heslewood; Christopher J. Quinn (2000). "Relationships within Cupressaceae
Cupressaceae
sensu lato: a combined morphological and molecular approach". American Journal of Botany. 87 (7): 1044–1057. doi:10.2307/2657004. JSTOR 2657004. PMID 10898782.  ^ A. Farjon (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae
Cupressaceae
and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4.  ^ Christopher J. Williams; Arthur H. Johnson; Ben A. LePage; David R. Vann; Tatsuo Sweda (2003). "Reconstruction of Tertiary Metasequoia forests. II. Structure, biomass, and productivity of Eocene
Eocene
floodplain forests in the Canadian Arctic" (PDF). Paleobiology. 29 (2): 271–292. doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2003)029<0271:ROTMFI>2.0.CO;2.  ^ Ralph W. Chaney (1948). "The bearing of the living Metasequoia
Metasequoia
on problems of Tertiary paleobotany". Botany. 34 (11): 503–515. doi:10.1073/pnas.34.11.503. JSTOR 88221. PMC 1079159 . PMID 16588827.  ^ Richard Jagels & Maria A. Equiza (2005). Competitive advantages of Metasequoia
Metasequoia
in warm high latitudes. pp. 335–349.  In LePage et al (2005). ^ Ben A. LePage, Hong Yang & Midori Matsumoto (2005). The evolution and biogeographic history of Metasequoia. pp. 3–115.  In LePage et al (2005). ^ a b c Gaytha A. Langlois (2005). A conservation plan for Metasequoia in China. pp. 367–418. ISBN 9781402026317.  In LePage et al (2005). ^ B.G. Hibberd, ed. (1989). Urban Forestry Practice, Forestry Commission Handbook 5. p. 61.  In Hibberd (1989).

Further reading[edit]

Zican He; Jianqiang Li; Qing Cai; Xiaodong Li; Hongwen Huang (2004). "Cytogenetic studies on Metasequoia
Metasequoia
glyptostroboides, a living fossil species". Genetica. 122 (3): 269–276. doi:10.1007/s10709-004-0926-x. PMID 15609550.  Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Metasequoia
Metasequoia
and Associated Plants, August 6–10, 2006, Metasequoia: Back from the Brink? An Update. Edited by Hong Yang and Leo J. Hickey. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Volume 48, Issue 2 31 October 2007, pp. 179–426. [1] The Reports of the Third International Metasequoia
Metasequoia
Symposium, August 3 to 8, 2010, Osaka, Japan [2] A. Hope Jahren & Leonel Silveira Lobo Sternberg (2003). "Humidity estimate for the middle Eocene
Eocene
Arctic rain forest" (PDF). Geology. 31 (5): 463–466. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(2003)031<0463:HEFTME>2.0.CO;2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27.  Christopher J. Williams; Ben A. LePage; David R. Vann; Takeshi Tange; Hiroyuki Ikeda; Makoto Ando; Tomoko Kusakabe; Hayato Tsuzuki; Tatsuo Sweda (2003). "Structure, allometry, and biomass of plantation Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Metasequoia glyptostroboides
in Japan" (PDF). Forest Ecology and Management. 180 (1–3): 287–301. doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(02)00567-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-11.  Ben A. LePage; Christopher James Williams; Hong Yang, eds. (2005). The Geobiology and Ecology of Metasequoia. Topics in geobiology. 22. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. ISBN 1-4020-2631-5.  B.G. Hibberd, ed. (1989). Urban Forestry Practice, Forestry Commission Handbook 5 (PDF). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 0-11-710273-3. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Metasequoia.

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Metasequoia

The metasequoia organisation Giant redwoods in the U.K. " Metasequoia
Metasequoia
glyptostroboides". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.  D.A. Hänks. "Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwoods Preserve". 

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q1825748 EoL: 96840 EPPO: 1MEQG FoC: 120390 GBIF: 5284230 GRIN: 7510 ITIS: 500630 NCBI: 3370 PLANTS: METAS2

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