Sequoia Semperviren

by admin Apr 20, 2006 3 Comments

Filed under: Knowledge

Redwood TreeSequoia Semperviren (always green), a scientific name that sounds as grandiose as the great giants among trees, the Redwood Trees of California. I have always heard about them, only seen them in pictures, and some day I hope to see their immense presence, and contemplate on my insignificance and how little we still know.

After the Brazil nut tree, the redwood tree is one that has always fascinated me. Starting from a seed, no bigger than that of a tomato seed, redwood trees can reach heights of up to 367 feet (122m), and a base width of 22 feet (7m). For comparison, think of a 35 storey skyscraper and you will get an idea of the enormous presence of these trees. If that amazes you, then there is more, some of them can live for as long as two millennia.

To live that long, these trees are tough; they are resistant to insects and fire, and diseases that affect them are unknown. They have high tannin content, and a bark which can be a foot thick acting as a proactive layer. They even water themselves from the condensation on their waxy needles. These trees have also existed on earth for a long time, over 20 million years. They can produce over a million seeds a year, but very few seeds grow into a mature redwood tree. They have two other reproductive mechanisms (blur and sprouts) to rely on, and probably one of the reasons they have stood the test of time and change.

Today only 10 percent of these ancient giants survive, and with hundreds of years required to replenish lost forests, I wonder how much longer these giants and the ecosystem they create have, and if that’s enough time form them to figure out a way to survive around us?

3 Comments

  • ij

    Apr 22, 2006 | 12:54 am

    I am blessed to live amongst the giant redwoods, more accurately, underneath some that are probably 150 years old. The floor in the house is all bumpy from roots -I anticipate that one day I will walk into the kitchen to see a hairy red rootball poking through the concrete.

    They are amazing trees and as minimal as their habitat might seem -they tolerate the company of ferns, (tan-)oaks and plenty of spring bulbs but prefer to keep to themselves -most of the ecosystem is actually under the surface on microscopic levels.

    A hike through a forest clear cut in a frenzy of 40 years (1880-1920) is indeed a meditation on the short sightedness of human greed and at the same time a celebration of rebirth: out of every scarred monumental trunk are sprouting a dozen straight and slender new redwoods.

  • ij

    May 3, 2006 | 12:09 am

    … as for yoga under redwoods… heavenly.

  • MikeTubbs

    Sep 25, 2007 | 6:14 am

    I am fortunate to have lived amongst the Redwoods.

    “Pictures are cool to look at, a walk in the woods is better….

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