Redwood Stories

Giant sequoia in Wasserburg, Germany
Giant sequoia in Wasserburg, Germany. Photo by Tom Paton.

We regularly receive stories about the redwoods from League members and supporters.  Recently we received one from a member who joined the League in 1947.  The story made me wonder if humans are sowing the seeds of a much broader global distribution for redwoods.

The long-term member described the tiny redwood burl purchased by his mother in 1935.  He planted it in front of his home in Sacramento, CA.  When his family moved down the street a few years later, he dug the tree up, carefully placed it in his grandfather’s wheelbarrow and moved it down the street to the new family home.  Some 60 years later, in the early 1990s, he returned to that house with his three grandsons and measured the tree at 125 feet!

As our regular followers know, Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwoods) are generally limited to a narrow band of hills along the California coast and Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant sequoia) grow in a narrow band of California’s Sierra Nevada.  In earlier eras redwood relatives grew in a wide swath across North America, Europe and Asia.  One of our project managers has visited a Sequoia fossil in Yellowstone National Park.

And now, humans are planting Sequoia in far-flung places.  I recently visited the Universidad Austral de Chile (Southern University of Chile) in Valdivia.  Its spectacular botanical garden boasts plant species from around the world including several large Sequoia sempervirens, which appear to be growing quite happily.

Bill Libby, a member of the League’s Board of Directors, reports that one of his favorite groves is thriving in the Whakarewarewa forest in Rotorua, New Zealand.  The largest redwood therein is approximately 202 feet tall and 5½ feet in diameter.

Several years ago, one of my friends visited the seven Sequoiadendron growing on Germany’s Landstuhl Army Post and reportedly planted in 1868.  Other Sequoia groves apparently flourish outside of California on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada, in Jilotepec, Mexico, and Hogsback, South Africa, as well as in Great Britain, Italy and Portugal.  Redwoods thrive in many places that surprise us, providing new opportunities to study how redwoods handle different environments from where they occur naturally today.

Do you have a story about visiting redwoods?  Please send it and I will find a way to share some of the best!



About the author

Harry joined Save the Redwoods League’s staff in 2011 as the General Counsel. He brings over 30 years of experience in the fields of law and real estate transactions.

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One Response to “Redwood Stories”

  1. Steve Ferrini

    We were just in Salamanca Spain in the courtyard of the University is a beautiful specimen of sequoia Gigantea


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