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Home / About Redwoods / Fun Forest Facts

Fun Forest Facts

Three species of trees are commonly referred to as redwoods: California's coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), and China's dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides).

Spirals in Giant Sequoia Cones

If you look at a giant sequoia cone with the bottom end facing you, you will notice that the scales form spirals. This is the Fibonacci sequence found everywhere in nature: in the spiral of snail shells and in the shape of storms and breaking waves, for example.

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Did You Know This Salamander Rattles?

The California giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus) is one of only two salamanders in the world that vocalize. This large spotted amphibian lives in the coast redwood forests of primarily Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties. Listen on this video by David Wake.

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Changing Fires Impact on Redwoods

Scientists recently took a look back at the history of fire in pine forests of the Southwestern US and discovered that the devastating megafires of recent decades are unprecedented. By searching for fire scars etched into the wood of ancient trees, they discovered that historic fires burned more frequently and were less intense. Today, fires burn hotter, spread more easily, and scorch the canopy which kills trees. These super fires devastate the landscape more than historic fires because the forest structure is now different after two centuries of logging, grazing, and other human activities including fire suppression. Young forests today are often overcrowded with trees and this allows flames to leap skyward into the treetops and spread quickly over the landscape.

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Check out more fun redwood facts on the Interactive Fact Finder Map! You can see redwoods facts by region—Coast Redwoods or Giant Sequoias.

Plants in the Redwood Understory: Slender False Brome

Slender false brome, a bunch grass, has spread from Northern Africa, gaining its first stronghold in California. Now in the Woodside area, it is quickly spreading by seed on the forest floor under the redwoods. If it continues to spread, this species may compete with our native plants.

Explore more redwood resources on our Redwoods Learning Center.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

HIGHLIGHTS: Nestled in the deep folds of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin is the oldest state park in California.

Park Highlights & Visitor Information »