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Coast redwood

The coast redwood or California coast redwood, (Sequoia sempervirens), is one of a number of species of tree known as redwoods. Coast redwoods are the tallest trees living today, reaching up to 120 meters in height, and seven meters across at the base. The oldest coast redwooods are more than 2000 years old, with many trees reaching 600 years of age.

public domain image from
Redwood National and State Parks[?] web site

Sequoia sempervirens is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious[?] tree. Trees over 200 feet (61 m) are common, and many are over 300 feet (91 m). The largest tree thus far was measured at 364 feet (110.3 m) in height and 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter. The root system is composed of deep, widespreading lateral roots with no taproot. The bark is up to 12 inches (30 cm) thick and quite fibrous. This thick, high-tannin bark, combined with foliage that starts high above the ground provides good protection from both fire and insect damage, contributing to the coast redwood's longevity.

Coast redwood reproduces both sexually and asexually. Seed production begins at 5 to 15 years of age, and large seed crops occur frequently, but viability of the seed is low. The winged seeds are small and light, averaging 120,000 seeds per pound (265,000 seeds/kg). The wings are not effective for wide dispersal, and seeds are dispersed by wind an average of only 200 to 400 feet (61-122 m) from the parent tree. Redwoods can reproduce asexually by layering or sprouting from the root crown or stump. Sprouts orginate from dormant or adventitious buds at or under the surface of the bark. The sprouting capacity of redwoods decreases with size and age, and sprouting appears to be the greatest on the downhill side of the tree. Within a short period after sprouting each sprout will develop its own root system, with the dominant sprouts forming a ring of trees around the parent root crown. Sprouts can achieve heights of 7 feet (2.1 m) in a single growing season.

Range and Ecology The redwoods occupy a narrow strip of land approximately 450 miles (724 km) in length and 5 to 35 miles (8-56 km) in width along the Pacific coast. The northern boundary of its range is marked by two groves on the Chetco River[?] in the Siskiyou Mountains[?] within 15 miles (25 km) of the California-Oregon border, and found mostly in the Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest. The southern boundary of the coast redwood's range is marked by a grove in Salmon Creek Canyon in the Santa Lucia Mountains[?] of southern Monterey County, California.

This native area provides a unique environment with heavy seasonal rains (100 in/3m annually), cool coastal air and fog keeping this forest contstanly damp year round. As this heavy rain has left the soil with few nutrients, these trees depend on the entire biotic community of the forest, and complete recycling of the trees when dead. Logging interrupts this process. This forest community includes Douglas fir, western hemlock[?], tanoak[?], madrone[?], and other trees along with a wide varieity of ferns, redwood sorrels[?], mosses and mushrooms. Redwood forests provide habitat for a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Remnant old-growth redwood stands provide habitat for the federally threatened spotted owl[?] and the California-endangered marbled murrelet[?].

Coast redwood is one of California's most valuable timber species. The wood is soft, weak, easily split, and very resistant to decay. The clear wood is used for dimension stock and shingles. Redwood burls are used in the production of table tops, veneers, and turned goods.

Closely-related trees include:

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