A large, conical-shaped tree reaching 70 to 100 feet high. Dawn redwood is closely related to bald cypress (Taxodium) and redwood (Sequoia). The fern-like feathery foliage emerges light green in spring, changing to dark green in summer, then a russet-brown in autumn. It grows best in large landscapes.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All common names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Wet sites,
- Occasional flooding,
- Road salt
- Moderately Tolerant
- Fall color,
- Attractive bark
Seasons of Interest:
- early fall,
- mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
Best is moist, slightly acid soils. Very little pruning needed.
Disease, pests, and problems
Nothing common; cankers can occur.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to China and often found in wet sites. This tree was once thought to be extinct. It was found in China in 1941 and introduced into the United States in the late 1940s.
Bark color and texture
The lower trunk is buttressed and the reddish-brown bark is rough, peeling into long strips.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Leaves are deciduous needles held in branchlets that resemble the foliage of yews. Needles are dark green in summer, changing to a russet color in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male and female flowers on the same tree in separate structures (monoecious). Not ornamentally important.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Cones are rounded and hang on stalks up to 1 1/2 inches long. The cones are green at first, maturing to brown.
Cultivars and their differences
Gold Rush dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush'): This cultivar has golden yellow foliage and a narrow habit; grows 50 feet high and 20 feet wide.