“Sempervirens”, the scientific species name for the coast redwoods, means everlasting. Coast redwoods live longer than almost any plants on our planet. The largest trees found their first rays of sunlight when Aztecs and Mayans ruled Central America and Marco Polo traversed the Asian continent. While most redwoods here are between 600 and 800 years old, some redwoods may survive for two millennia.
Though its tiny one-inch cones produce thousands of seeds, redwood seedlings rarely survive to maturity. Throughout the forest, tight clusters of trees, like those before you, illustrate a more successful method of redwood genesis. Massive clusters of bud material in swollen bumpy knobs called root collar burls lie dormant beneath the soft red-gray bark. Burls may remain inactive for generations, but when a tree is stressed by low rainfall or intense fire, the sleeping sprouts wake. The redwoods’ longevity through the ages is assured.
Last updated: July 19, 2022