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Dawn Redwood

Language/Língua

Dawn Redwood at Hoyt Arboretum

Hoyt Arboretum hosts three different redwood species. Redwoods have been a staple of Hoyt Arboretum since 1931, but it was the introduction of dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) seeds in 1950 that introduced a “living fossil” to its collections. 

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The dawn redwood was first identified when paleobotanist Shigeru Miki discovered its fossil in 1939. Just a couple of years later, botanist Zhen Wang collected specimens from a large, unidentified tree in a small village in Central China. This sent some of China’s most prominent botanists down a challenging path of collecting additional samples and navigating wartime’s effect on the scientific community’s resources in an attempt to identify the tree. Eventually, in 1946, botanist H.H. Hu received the specimens and was able to connect them to Miki’s studies. It was confirmed that this unusual tree was in fact a dawn redwood, five million years after it was originally thought to have gone extinct.

"Hoyt received 50 of these seeds"

Considered one of the greatest botanical discoveries of the 20th century, word soon got around to the U.S. botanical community. Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum funded an extensive collection and dispersal of dawn redwood seeds, which then got distributed around the world. Hoyt Arboretum received 50 of these seeds in 1950. 

 

One of those trees can now be found on Bray Lane, identified by a small sign. When you see it, pay your respects; this was the first Metasequoia to produce reproductive cones in North America in at least five million years!

Learn more about Hoyt Arboretum's redwoods here.

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Home to nearly 2,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world.  From education programs to on-the-ground conservation efforts, the zoo is working to save species regionally and worldwide. 

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Founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species and educate the community, Hoyt Arboretum encompasses 190 ridge-top acres and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails just minutes from downtown Portland. 

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Explore & Connect

Explore over 150 years of Washington Park, originally called City Park, and its many destinations by virtually visiting the featured Discovery Points. Each Discovery Point connects you to history, photos, and community members’ stories.