Dawn redwood is a deciduous, coniferous tree that grows in a conical shape to 100 tall.
It features linear, feathery, fern-like foliage that is soft to the touch. Needles are opposite, soft, bright green, about Ύ long. Foliage emerges light green in spring, matures to deep green in summer and turns red-bronze in fall.
As the tree matures, the trunk broadens at the base and develops attractive and sometimes elaborate fluting.
Trees are monoecious, producing oval, light brown female cones (Ύ long) and round male cones (½ long) hanging from long talks. The twigs, needles and cone scales are in opposite pairs.
The dawn redwood is unusual because it is a deciduous conifer its needles fall off in autumn.
From fossil records, dawn redwood is known to have existed as many as 50,000,000 years ago. However, it was not until 1941 that dawn redwood was first discovered growing in the wild near the town of Modaoqi, China by a Chinese forester, T. Kan.
Can you see the lips formed by the cone scales?