Dawn of the Redwood

Paleontologists thought dawn redwood, a deciduous conifer and relative of the giant sequoia, had become extinct about 5 million years ago.

In 1941, T. Kan discovered it growing wild in central China. After decades of cultivation, this beautiful tree (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is common again in North America, which was part of its range millions of years ago. It needs lots of space, though. This living fossil grows up to 100 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Soft, feathery foliage emerges light green and turns reddish in the fall. The Missouri Botanical Garden named the cultivar 'Raven' a 2011 Plant of Merit. Full sun, medium to wet soil, Zones 5 to 8.