T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Sequoia sempervirens (Coast redwood)

Kingdom:   Plantae
Phylum:     Vascular
Class:        gymnosperm
Order:       Pinales
Family:      Cupressaceae
Subfamily: Sequoioideae
Genus:      Sequoia
Species:     S. sempervirens
Binomial name: Sequoia sempervirens
Common names: Coast redwood, California redwood, Giant redwood

Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae (formerly treated in Taxodiaceae). It is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living 1200–1800 years or more. This species includes the tallest trees living now on Earth, reaching up to 115.5 m in height (without the roots) and up to 7.9 m in diameter at breast height.
Their natural habitat is a narrow strip of land approximately 750 km in length and 8–75 km in width along the Pacific coast of North America; the most southerly grove is in Monterey County.
Sequoia sempervirens has a conical crown, with horizontal to slightly drooping branches. The bark is very thick, up to 30 cm, and quite soft and fibrous, with a bright red-brown color when freshly exposed (hence the name redwood), weathering darker. The root system is composed of shallow, wide-spreading lateral roots.
The leaves are variable, being 15–25 mm long and flat on young trees and shaded shoots in the lower crown of old trees, and scale-like, 5–10 mm long on shoots in full sun in the upper crown of older trees, with a full range of transition between the two extremes. They are dark green above, and with two blue-white stomatal bands below. Leaf arrangement is spiral, but the larger shade leaves are twisted at the base to lie in a flat plane for maximum light capture.
The species is monoecious, with pollen and seed cones on the same plant. The seed cones are ovoid, 15–32 millimetres (0.59–1.3 in) long, with 15–25 spirally arranged scales; pollination is in late winter with maturation about 8–9 months after. Each cone scale bears three to seven seeds, each seed 3–4 millimetres long and 0.5 millimetres broad, with two wings 1 millimetre wide. The seeds are released when the cone scales dry out and open at maturity. The pollen cones are oval, 4–6 millimetres long. Sequoia sempervirens reproduces both sexually by seed and asexually by sprouting of buds, layering, or lignotubers.

The tree below was planted approx: circa 1860 and is growing at Ratanui, 498 Carrington Road, New Plymouth. It is listed in New Zealand’s Tree Register. For more details visit::  http://register.notabletrees.org.nz/tree/view/113




Leaves and new growth.


Ther underside of the leaves.