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12 Types of Redwood Trees (With Pictures)

giant sequoia redwood

When most people think about redwood trees, they imagine the extra tall and old trees that span the northern coast of California. Even though these trees are in fact redwoods, there are three distinct species of redwoods, as well as subspecies that belong to the three main varieties.

To learn what three trees classify as redwoods and what makes them special, keep reading. This article gives you a quick overview of redwoods and each tree that belongs to the redwood family.

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The 3 Main Types of Redwood Trees

In total, there are three distinct species of Redwood trees: Coast redwood, Giant Sequoia, and Dawn redwood. Of these three types, the Coast redwood and Giant Sequoia are the most widely known. Let’s look at each one of these redwoods in more detail.

1. Coast Redwood

giant cost redwood
Image Credit: Tobin Akehurst, Shutterstock
Scientific Name Sequoia sempervirens
Distribution Coast of Northern California and Southern Oregon

The Coast redwood is one of the tallest trees around the globe. It is primarily found on the coast of Northern California, but the trees grow into the southern part of coastal Oregon as well. When most people imagine a redwood tree, it is the Coast redwood that comes to their mind.

Often, Coast redwoods grow to be 379 feet, but most grow taller. To match their great height, Coast redwoods often have a diameter of 26 feet. Their large size is attributed to their old age, which is over 2000 years old.

Since all redwoods are cone-bearing trees, Coast redwoods have a cone that almost looks like a large olive, which shed after one or two years. As for the leaves, they are evergreen and include both needle and awl-shaped leaves at the base.

2. Giant Sequoia

giant sequoia trees
Image Credit: Pixabay
Scientific Name Sequoiadendron giganteum
Distribution Western slopes of Sierra Nevada Mountains in Central California

The second most popular redwood tree is the Giant Sequoia. The Giant Sequoia is named because of its large size. Most grow to be around 314 feet tall with a diameter of 30 feet. Much like the Coast redwoods, the Giant Sequoia size is attributed to its old age. Most of these trees are over 3000 years old.

The Giant Sequoia is so large that the largest tree on the planet belongs to this classification. The General Sherman Tree, which is in the Sequoia National Park, is the largest living thing on earth. It has an estimated volume of over 50,000 cubic feet.

The cones on the Giant Sequoia are much larger than the Coast redwood. The cones almost look like a chicken egg and can stay on a tree for up to 20 years.

3. Dawn Redwood

dawn redwood
Image Credit: LianeM, Shutterstock
Scientific Name Metasequoia glyptostoboides
Distribution Central China

Finally, the last type of redwood is the Dawn redwood. The Dawn redwood is different from the other two types in that it was believed to have been extinct for millions of years. It wasn’t until 1944 that the Dawn redwood was rediscovered in China.

Today, Dawn redwoods are found primarily in central China. They are much smaller and younger than the other two redwoods. Most Dawn redwoods only grow to be 140 feet tall with a 6-foot diameter. Plus, their age is only about half that of the other redwoods.

One way that the Dawn redwood is like the Coast redwood is in its cone type. Its cone looks like a large olive and sheds every year. These trees have deciduous leaves that looked like needles and are arranged around a stalk opposite to one another.

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The 9 Other Types of Redwoods

All redwoods fall into one of the categories discussed above. However, there are some cultivated subspecies of redwoods that belong to one of these categories. Most cultivated redwoods fall under the Giant Sequoia variety, but a large portion also belongs to the Coast redwood variety. There are practically no cultivated Dawn redwoods.

Here’s a look at some other redwoods that fall into the categories above:

4. Los Altos Coast Redwood

The Los Altos Coast redwood grows to be between 25 and 35 feet by the time it is 10 years old. It has deep green foliage with a lacy appearance. Its leaves are highly textured, and the bark has a fissured appearance. This tree is great for attracting birds and resisting deer.

5. Majestic Beauty Coast Redwood

The Majestic Beauty grows to be 35 feet tall. It has beautiful pendant branches and dense growth. It is perfect for fog-prone areas because this tree loves moisture. Because it requires so much water, it makes a pretty good lawn tree.

6. Aptos Blue Coast Redwood

The Aptos Blue Coast redwood grows about 25 feet by the time it is 10 years old. It is fast-growing and strong. It gets its name from its blue-green foliage and is often chosen for home landscapes because it is broad and upright.

7. Woodside Coast Redwood

woodside cost redwood
Image Credit: yhelfman, Shutterstock

Woodside Coast redwood can grow to be up to 40 feet tall. It has dark green foliage and soft bark. During the spring, the conifer tree produces small flowers. However, the tree is not good for ornamental purposes because it is fire prone.

8. Kelly’s Prostrate Redwood

Kelly’s Prostrate redwood belongs to the Coast redwood variety, but it is a dwarf version. This redwood only grows to be about 5 feet tall. It is perfect for landscapes as a result, especially yards that don’t have enough space for a traditional redwood.

9. Weeping Giant Sequoia

The Weeping Giant Sequoia has a dramatic appearance. As its name suggests, this tree eventually droops downward, almost like a weeping willow. The foliage is a soft green color and truly accents the narrow hanging branches that cascade down.

10. Blue Giant Sequoia

The Blue Giant Sequoia gets its name from its blue-green colored foliage. It looks beautiful in any landscape and only grows to be about 16 feet tall. It does require colder temperatures, making it a good choice for individuals who live in an environment that is too cold for most other redwoods.

Related Read: 8 Different Types of Oak Trees (With Pictures)

11. Bultinck Yellow Giant Sequoia

The Bultinck Yellow Giant Sequoia is one of the more modern cultivations. It has a pyramid appearance and a striking yellow growth. As the tree grows, the yellow color will fade into light green and eventually into darker greens. This is a great tree if you want to add versatile aesthetic value to your yard.

12. Little Stan Redwood

The Little Stan redwood is another dwarf species. It only grows to be about 1 foot tall. It is incredibly cold-hardy and has a gray-green foliage.

What Is a Redwood?

A redwood is a cone-bearing tree that has a reddish-brown colored bark and heartwood. It is the unique color of the bark and heartwood that the redwood trees get their classification name. The most prominent redwoods are found in Northern California and central California, though some redwoods can be found in China as well.

Related Read: 9 Different Types of Conifer Trees

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Final Thoughts

If you are thinking about planting a redwood tree, you first have to know if you want a Coast redwood, Giant Sequoia, or a Dawn redwood, though the first two will be the better options. From there, you have many other cultivations to choose from.

Regardless of which type of redwood you select, the redwood will be beautiful and striking. Whether you choose a tall redwood or a dwarf species, it will add a lot of texture, mystery, and lure to your yard.

You may also be interested in: What Is a Steamer Trunk?

Featured Image Credit: Felix Lipov, Shutterstock


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