Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, in Winter

Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, in winter.
My family and I traveled to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA again this winter for their Christmas flower show. While I enjoyed the flowers inside, I also was eager to catch a glimpse of their Dawn Redwood trees (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) outside the beautiful old glass conservatories. These tree have wonderfully interesting branching and bark and also possesses the rare tree experience of being deciduous conifers, so I knew they would be worth seeking out, even in the nose-biting cold.

Phipps has a pair of Metasequoias; this one is on the left as you face the conservatory.  The area around it is designed as summer borders with daylilies and ornamental grasses, so it has little winter interest past this amazing tree.
The mature height of a Dawn Redwood tree is thought to be 100 feet, though there are very few old specimens in cultivation.  Some of the oldest known Metasequoias in China reach 160 feet. Longwood Gardens contains one that is a bit older than these at Phipps, and is therefore a bit taller. Metasequoia is considered a fast growing tree.
The red-tint of the left over needles comes through when it is seen just above the red Christmas decor on the entrance railing. This is the tree on the right.
Though Metasequoia is considered endangered, it is finding its niche in cultivated gardens. It is beginning to be sold in many specialty garden centers.  Many gardeners, with enough space, are pleased to add a fast growing shade tree with such a venerable past.
Parting view of the Metasequoia at Phipps.

To see photos of these trees with all of their needles on, see Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides).

18 comments:

  1. It is majestic and the greenhouse is very beautiful !!!

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    1. Yes on both counts! Phipps is a beautiful conservatory, now going on 130 years old - which is quite something in this area of the world.

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  2. O, I love this conservatory, magnificent pictures of it in the snow and the Metasequoia looks so beautiful tall, I don't hope they grow too fast, I have a small one in the garden. Planted one two years ago on request of my husband.

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  3. Stately!...you should come to South Africa if you enjoy beautiful trees, we have so much to show you.

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    1. I am sure I would love to! It is always a South African plant or flower that makes me say, "What is that beautiful thing?"
      ~Julie

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  4. What an interesting plant. I'll have to look it up on google, I wonder what the native range is.

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    1. Metasequoia is native to Asia, the Sichuan–Hubei region of China to be exact. Though, they are once thought to have covered the Northern Hemisphere. They were thought to be extinct, only being seen in the fossil record, but where then discovered in a small stand in China. They have through history on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metasequoia
      ~Julie

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  5. What a super sculptural trunk, it looks wonderful! I quite often see them in various arboretum here, but that has been in the summer and I have never noticed the wonderful bark before!

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    1. I do love the branching so... They make me just want to try climbing a bit, though I am not very good at it!
      ~Julie

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  6. What a gorgeous and interesting tree! I'm glad to hear that it's starting to be sold. It would be a wonderful specimen for a garden.

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  7. Beautiful photos of this amazing tree and the Conservatory...another place I must visit!!

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  8. Those are so gorgeous...and such an oddity of nature!

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  9. Those trees have a beautiful silhouette. My dream is to have a huge greenhouse one day. your photos are fantastic.

    Susan

    P.S. I read on Melissa Ellen's loft site that you are running a 10K this weekend. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks Susan! It is supposed to get to 40 F tomorrow, so it should be a little nicer than some of the training we have been doing in the snow... ugh. :)
      ~Julie

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  10. Incredible! I didn't know they had such an impressive collection there! I'll have to put it on my "must visit" list.

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    1. Phipps is a lovely place to visit. They have quite a history behind the old place too. I have probably two hundred photos from my past two visits that I need to go through and post here... and how much nicer it seems in the winter months! We are hoping to stop back soon for their orchid show, which has been my favorite the past two years.
      ~Julie

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  11. It looks like it just came out of a fairy tale. A " Lord of the Ring" tree that will start moving any second now. I very much like the trunk of the tree, what a haven it will be for small animals and insects.

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