APPENDIX I: THE REDWOOD FAMILY
THE REDWOOD FAMILY, Taxodiaceae, is characterized by
ancient lineage, peculiar modern distribution, and the isolation of
various members. The various genera which compose the family are widely
scattered about the earth and are mostly very restricted in habitat. It
is worth noting, because of great historical significance, that no genus
occurs in more than one continent. The family includes shrubs and trees
which are members of the class of plants known as Gymnosperms.
There are seven different genera, each with from one
to three species, including a total of thirteen species. The larger
trees are found in the first three groups mentioned below. Trees
included in the first five groups are cultivated in California.
1. REDWOOD (Sequoia). Only two living species, the
Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the Sierra Redwood (Sequoia
gigantea) of western North America.
2. BALD CYPRESS (Taxodium). Two species, the Bald
Cypress (Taxodium distichum), of the southeastern United States, and the
Mexican Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum), of Mexico. Taxodium distichum was
widely distributed over the Northern Hemisphere during the Oligocene and
Pliocene periods, and at least one other Taxodium species now extinct
lived during the Tertiary in northern lands and followed the Arctic
Circle around the earth. These trees are not true cypresses, like the
Monterey Cypress and others which belong to the genus Cupressus, which
is classified in the Cypress Family.
3. JAPANESE CEDAR (Cryptomeria japonica). One
species, native to Japan and China. The foliage resembles that of
Sequoia gigantea, and the cones resemble those of Sequoia sempervirens.
The trees are often mistaken, as they grow in gardens, for Sequoia
4. UMBRELLA PINE (Sciadopitys verticellata). One
species, native to Japan. It is grown as an ornamental for its handsome
foliage and regular pyramidal habit.
5. Cunninghamia sinensis. One species, native to
Japan and China. The trees grow up to 80 feet in height.
6. Taiwania cupressoides. Native to the island of
Formosa. It is the closest relative of the Sequoia.
7. ARTHEOTAXIS. Three species, native to Tasmania and
the island of Victoria. The trees grow up to forty-five feet in
8. GLYPTOSTROBUS. Two species, in China. They grow in
swamps and lowlands, and although they are only shrubs or small trees up
to ten feet tall, they are closely related to Taxodium. Like Sequoia,
the genus is ancient geologically.
THE GIANT CYPRESS OF TULEA RELATIVE OF THE REDWOODS
Courtesy of the National Geographic Society