One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Sooo…hey! This isn’t exactly native, but you see them in suburbia. And maybe some of you human readers have been wondering what it is.

Give me a guess!

~~~

Surely you guessed these are cones, but of what? The tree has been around a loooong time.  Did that hint give it away? No? It’s Metasequoia—a Dawn Redwood.  In our neighborhood, these trees—yes, someone planted two of them in one townhouse yard!— are monsters, extending far higher than the surrounding oaks and maples.

That’s a mature Black Oak to the left, and on the other side of the townhouse from the Dawn Redwood.

Miz Flora says the Metasequoia glyptostroboides species has been around forever, at least in squirrel life spans. Human scientists have found the leaves printed in rocks and thought they were all dead until a living tree was found in the 1940’s in China. This fascinates humans and draws them to planting the tree, even though sadly, it doesn’t give us squirrels food. And those limbs point kind of upward, so aren’t that great for branch-to-branch leaping. But that’s just my opinion. Nutmeg won’t climb the tree at all. The bark is kind of shreddy and peels away under our paws.

You can tell this tree from the other large redwoods, because it’s deciduous.

The leaves change to a beautiful reddish in the fall and drop.  Just so long as it’s only the leaves dropping, I’m happy.

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