Metasequoia glyptostroboides across from The Meadow, 2019
Photograph by Larissa Glasser
Meadow Road, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
April 10, 2019
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 trees have been reintroduced to the rest of China and elsewhere in Asia and introduced to temperate areas of the world, including the United States, Europe, and New Zealand. They have proven to be very hardy, fast growing and suitable for use as an urban planting.
This tree [accession 524-48*AA] dates to 1948 and was wild-collected by W.C. Cheng.