The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada
NPS Logo


The giant sequoia is a species belonging to the Taxodiaceae, a family of ancient and well-recorded lineage. Today, its range is considerably reduced and it is made up of just 10 genera and 15 species, all of them trees with narrow, linear, or awl-shaped leaves either spirally arranged or appearing two-ranked. The cones are usually globose, either woody or leathery, and usually have persistent cone scales.

Following is a short synopsis of the genera in the family Taxodiaceae as listed in A Handbook of Coniferae and Ginkogaceae by Dallimore and Jackson (1967):

AthrotaxisTasmanian-Cedars. Three species, native only to Tasmania.
CryptomeriaJapanese-cedar. One species, C. japonica. Native to Japan. Many cultivated forms.
CunninghamiaChinese-firs. Two species only, in China, Formosa, and other nearby islands.
GlyptostrobusChinese deciduous-cypress. One species, only in Canton Province, China.
MetasequoiaDawn Redwood. One species, M. glyptostroboides. Native only to eastern Szechwan and western Hupeh provinces of China. Not discovered until 1941 and first publicized in 1944.
SciadopitysJapanese umbrella-pine. One species. Native to Japan.
SequoiaCoast Redwood. One species, Sequoia sempervirens. Native only in coastal California and Southern Oregon.
SequoiadendronGiant Sequoia. One species. Native only to west slope of the Sierra Nevada in California.
TaiwaniaOne species only and native only to Taiwan and China.
TaxodiumBald-cypress. Three species. Native only to southeastern United States and Mexico.

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 06-Mar-2007