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Sequoia sempervirens is often confused with:
Sequoiadendron giganteum Sequoiadendron giganteum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus nigra Quercus nigra
Ulmus americana Full Form
Tilia americana Tilia americana

Sequoia sempervirens

Phonetic Spelling
see-KWOY-uh sem-per-VY-renz
Description

The Coastal Redwood is the tallest tree in the world and can live for over 2,000 years. It is a densely branched evergreen conifer that grows to a height of 60 feet to 200 feet or more. The trunk of the tree flares at the base. It has a pyramidal shape with horizontal branches when young. As the tree ages, it becomes more conical and loses its lower branches. This tree is one of the fastest growing conifers and averages 3 feet per year.  Many of the trees are protected in places such as the Redwood National Park, Muir Woods, and some of California's State Parks. It is a close relative to the Giant Redwood, and each is designated as the State Tree of California. It is a member of the Cupressaceae or cypress family.   

The genus's name, Sequoia, is named in honor of the Native American Cherokee Chief Sequoyah. The epithet, sempervirens, means "evergreen."

It is native to Southwest Oregon to Central California in the moist, foggy, coastal plains along the Pacific Coast. 

The Coastal Redwood prefers full sun or light dappled shade. It performs well in rich, moist, and well-drained soil. It is tolerant of wet soil, but it is intolerant to dry soil. This tree will grow best in cool, moist, coastal climates. It does not require pruning. It is propagated by seeds or root cuttings. 

The bark is reddish-brown, hard, furrowed, and very thick. The leaves are needle-like, flat, spiral, two-ranked, green on the upper surface, and have two stomal bands on the underside of the needles. The small cones are hard and woody. 

When considering this tree remember that the Coastal Redwood thrives in cool, moist, coastal areas and will require a large space to thrive.

Seasons of Interest:

Bark:  Year-round       Foliage:  Year-round         Fruit:  Fall

Quick ID Hints:

  • conifer, evergreen, from 60 to more than 200 feet tall with a conical crown, flared based and loses lower branches as it ages
  • the bark is reddish-brown, thick, hard, tough, and deeply furrowed
  • the leaves are needle-like, 0.5 to 1-inch long, with sharp ends, bright green above, and two white stomal bands beneath
  • the cones are about 1-inch long, hard, woody, and have thick wrinkled scales

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Insects generally do not cause any significant damage. Branch canker may girdle stems and branches. Heart rots can cause extensive damage. Other damaging agents include fire, fungi, and mammals. 

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Adpressa', 'Albospica', 'Kelly's Prostrate', 'Soquel', 'Yurok Prince'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#large tree#native tree#moist soil#fast growing#NC native#well-drained soil#needled evergreen#long lifespan#Braham Arboretum#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Adpressa', 'Albospica', 'Kelly's Prostrate', 'Soquel', 'Yurok Prince'
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun tolerant#large tree#native tree#moist soil#fast growing#NC native#well-drained soil#needled evergreen#long lifespan#Braham Arboretum#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sequoia
    Species:
    sempervirens
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is valuable as timber. It is easily split and resists decay.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southwest Oregon to Central California
    Distribution:
    Native: California and Oregon; Introduced: France, Great Britain, and Italy
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies and moths. Provides habitat for a variety of mammals, bird, and reptiles.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 200 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Dense
    Erect
    Open
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The cones are reddish-brown, dry, hard, egg-shaped, or oval, and measure 0.5 to 1-inch long. They ripen in the first year.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Non-flowering
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, linear, spirally arranged, bright green above, and have two broad-like white stomal bands on the undersides. The leaves are needle-like, flat, two-ranked, stiff, pointed, and measure 0.05 to 1- inch long.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Ridges
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The bark is thick, reddish-brown, fibrous, hard, and furrowed with scaly ridges. The inner bark is cinnamon brown. Trunks are buttressed at the bottom.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are slender and usually drooping. They are initially green and later transition to brown. They fork and end in a scaly bud.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Reptiles
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil