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(sĭkwoi`ə), name for the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and for the big tree, or giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), both huge, coniferous evergreen trees of the bald cypressbald cypress,
common name for members of the Taxodiaceae, a small family of deciduous or evergreen conifers with needlelike or scalelike leaves and woody cones. Most species of the family are trees of East Asia; almost all are cultivated for ornament (and are often erroneously
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 family, and for extinct related species. Sequoias probably originated over 100 million years ago. Once widespread in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the trees were almost exterminated by the ice sheets of the glacial ages. Several species are known only by fossil remains; some such fossils have been found in the Petrified Forest in Arizona.

The two living species survive only in a narrow strip near the Pacific coast of the United States. The redwood occurs along the coast of California and S Oregon, often in easily lumbered, pure stands. Growing 100 to 385 ft (30–117 m) high, it is probably the tallest tree in the world; the tallest known tree is the redwood Hyperion (379.1 ft/115.5 m), in Redwood National Park. The redwood is able to obtain the abundant moisture needed to sustain its towering growth by capturing water from regularly occurring ocean fogs. The water then drips down from the leaves and branches to the soil, where it penetrates to be absorbed by the roots. The redwood's trunk is 20 to 25 ft (6.1–7.6 m) in diameter, and its needlelike leaves are usually bluish green. Some redwoods are believed to be over 2,000 years old. The big tree, 150 to 325 ft (46–99 m) tall and with a trunk 10 to 30 ft (3–9.1 m) in diameter, grows on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California. It reaches an even greater age than the redwood; some individuals are believed to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old. The leaves are small, overlapping scales. Both trees have deeply grooved, reddish bark and soft, straight-grained, reddish heartwood whose resistance to decay makes it especially valuable for outdoor building purposes, e.g., for shingles, siding, and flumes. Although the sequoias are protected in Kings Canyon, Redwood, Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and several California state parks, their existence elsewhere is threatened by exploitation.

China's deciduous dawn redwood tree (Metasequoia) is believed to be a related species and is perhaps an ancestor of the California redwood. This genus was named and described from fossil remains a few years before the few living specimens were discovered during World War II. Some thousand trees were subsequently found, and they were on the verge of extinction by lumbering. The fast-growing dawn redwoods are now propagated elsewhere. The East Indian and South American redwoods are in the unrelated brazilwoodbrazilwood,
common name for several trees of the family Leguminosae (pulse family) whose wood yields a red dye. The dye has largely been replaced by synthetic dyes for fabrics, but it is still used in high-quality red inks.
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The sequoia is classified in the division PinophytaPinophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called gymnosperms. The gymnosperms, a group that includes the pine, have stems, roots and leaves, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Pinopsida, order Coniferales, family Taxodiaceae.


See N. Taylor, The Ageless Relicts (1963); R. Silverberg, Vanishing Giants (1969).



a genus of coniferous evergreen trees of the family Taxodiaceae. The sole species is the redwood (S. sempervirens). The redwood and the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are among the tallest trees in the world. The redwood reaches heights greater than 100 m and diameters of 8.5 m. It forms dense forests in the mountains of California and southern Oregon. Fossils of the tree have been found in Europe and Asia. The wood is used in construction, for example, for underwater structures. It is rarely cultivated; in the USSR it is grown in Western Transcaucasia and also on the southern coast of the Crimea.


Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.


A genus of conifers having overlapping, scalelike evergreen leaves and vertical grooves in the trunk; the giant sequoia (Sequoia gigantea) is the largest and oldest of all living things.


either of two giant Californian coniferous trees, Sequoia sempervirens (redwood) or Sequoiadendron giganteum (formerly Sequoia gigantea) (big tree or giant sequoia): family Taxodiaceae
References in periodicals archive ?
The Lane and Douglas tree farmers planting coastal redwood are betting that time will only widen that price gap.
According to the Save the Redwoods League - created in 1918 to preserve the ancient forests of coastal redwoods, which led to the creation of the Redwood National and State Parks in the 1920s - it's believed the last ice age that ended about 10,000 years ago limited the trees to their present range along the Pacific Coast from central California to Southern Oregon.
We felt that Burgess was strong and stood tall in the community and was a beautiful personality, and this tree is a coastal redwood and will live 2,000 years and grow to its height in that time,'' said Mary Frampton, executive director of Save Our Coast, a local organization.
May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- California is famous for its giant Coastal Redwoods.
The selected projects, owned and operated by The Conservation Fund and the Sempervirens Fund, are located in redwood forests on the North Coast of California and the Santa Cruz Mountains -- both coastal redwood forests, which have the highest carbon density per acre in the world.
The band, from the coastal redwood area of California, will present a musical program about the environment with puppets and audience participation.
This transaction will stop the forest's fragmentation while also allowing the property's coastal redwood trees to grow and be managed as a working sustainable forest.
Step into this garden with its stately conifers and mounding shrubs and suddenly you're in the cool, soothing mountain woods on a Sunday outing (for inspiration, the designers turned to coastal redwood forests and riparian habitats of Southern California's canyons).
The Hearst Castle is the 1920s legacy of millionaire newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, and Muir Woods National Monument consists of a rare stand of virgin coastal redwood trees.
It has lost 99 percent of its native grasslands, 80 percent of its coastal wetlands, and 95 percent of its coastal redwoods.
I have just returned from an extended road trip through Northern California, and it was my first experience seeing the coastal redwoods.
Redwood & Coyote Peak Loop, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park HIKE For stunning Napa Valley views, follow this moderate trail along Ritchey Creek through coastal redwoods to the forested summit of Coyote Peak, then loop back via the South Fork Trail, a total of 4.

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