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.
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.
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.
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: Trillium
Trillium, a beautiful plant that grows underfoot among the redwoods and in other North American forests, makes seeds that are covered in a fleshy wrapper (called an elaiosome). Usually, trillium seeds are dispersed throughout the forest by ants, but yellow jackets move their seeds too. The yellow jackets collect the seeds and eat the elaiosome, but not the seed itself. This means that trillium seeds get airlifted to new parts of the forest by these yellow, winged creatures.
Explore more redwood resources on our Redwoods Learning Center.