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C.T. Hwa, W.C. Cheng, K.L. Chu standing by a Metasequoia glyptostroboides, China

C.T. Hwa, W.C. Cheng, K.L. Chu standing by a Metasequoia glyptostroboides from W. C. Cheng’s expedition to the Hupeh Province, China. August, 1948. Photographer unknown.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, 1940-2010

Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

We are pleased to announce that our collection of Metasequoia glyptostroboides, 1940-2010 material has been revised to facilitate optimal access for researchers and Arnold Arboretum staff. Along with our Visual Archives, our Metasequoia collection is an excellent resource that tells the story of 20th century plant exploration in Eastern Asia, palaeobotany, and redistribution of the germplasm to the west via the Arnold Arboretum. This collection also reiterates the strong current and historic institutional ties between China and the Arnold Arboretum.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, popularly known in the west as the “dawn redwood” and in Chinese as shui-sha (water fir), was discovered in the Hupeh (Hubei) Province on the border of Szechuan (Sichuan) Province in west central China in the 1940s. The tree had been believed to have become extinct millions of years ago but that was found not to be the case. In 1944, Metasequoia glyptostroboides was identified as a “living fossil” by Hsen-Hsu Hu (1894-1968) of Fan Memorial Institute of Biology, Beijing.

The Metasequoia glyptostroboides collection consists of four series, 1. Correspondence; 2. Questionnaires, Manuscripts, Miscellaneous Papers; 3. Photographic Collection; 4. Journal and Newspaper Articles. All materials pertain to the discovery and subsequent worldwide cultivation of the “fossil relic” Metasequoia glyptostroboides.

We encourage you to continue to make use of our Archive Collection along with our monographs and journals (including Arnoldia) for your research in botany, horticulture, and landscape studies.

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