The dawn redwood is one of two deciduous conifers in the Yard (the other being the European larch). The dawn redwood is a native of China. It is actually the only surviving member of the Metasequoia genus. Its existence was predicted from the fossil record, but a living specimen was not discovered until the 1940s. It was soon introduced to the US. There are 5 dawn redwoods planted in the small quad bordered by Memorial Church, Robinson Hall, and Sever Hall. The tree has very sinewy bark as the tree matures. Interestingly, as I was photographing the trees this summer, there were three seperate groups of tourists around the grove taking pictures of the needles and the bark. I was amazed by these fascinated tourists. Great mature specimens of this tree (which likely date back to the 1940s) can be found in the Boston are at the Arnold Arboretum, and interstingly enough, in the Children's Hospital courtyard. The finest display of these trees I've seen is at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, where more than a dozen gorgeous specimens form a cool, shady grove.
A dawn redwood with Memorial Hall in the distance.
Sun-drenched dawn redwoods next to Sever Hall.
Virginia Tech Dendrology info - dawn redwood
Created by Ryan Lynch
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Last updated May 2, 2007