Continued from: Redwood Facts
Redwoods develop the greatest reported volume of living matter per unit of land surface. The giant sequoias, cousins to the coast redwoods, grow larger in diameter and bulk, but not as tall. Coast redwoods survive to be over 2,000 years old—perhaps half the age of giant sequoias—and average probably 500-700 years. The living tree has no known killing diseases, and the insects associated with it cause no significant damage. Fire is the worst natural foe, but usually to young trees which lack the thick bark protection. As with most conifers, redwoods lack a taproot, and their broad shallow root system sometimes provides inadequate support for the massive trunk. Wind topples many mature trees.
The first record of the redwood was written by Fray Juan Crespi in 1769. Its botanical discoverer was Archibald Menzies, whose collections are dated 1794. The name "redwood" comes from the first, Spanish, description of the huge trees, Palo Colorado, meaning "red trees."
Cones form on the tips of upper branches. Mature cones are reddish brown, woody, and slightly oval. Seeds are about three times the size of a pinhead; 125,000 form one pound. Sprouts bear cones at 20 years because they draw on the parent root system. Seedlings take longer to bear cones. Cones mature in one year and ripen in August and September to release seeds. Only 1 or 2 out of 10 seeds will germinate. Continued.
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