Coastal Redwoods
Superlatives abound when a person tries to
describe old-growth redwoods: immense,
ancient, stately, mysterious, powerful. But the
trees were not designed for easy assimilation
into language. Their existence speaks for
themselves, not in words, but rather in a
soft-toned voice of patience and endurance.

From a seed no bigger than one from a tomato,
California's coast redwood (
Sequoia
sempervirens
) may grow to a height of 378
feet and have a width of 22 feet at its base.
Imagine a 35-story skyscraper in your city and
you have an inkling of the trees' ability to
arouse humility.

Some visitors envision dinosaurs rumbling
through these forests in bygone eras. It turns
out that this is a perfectly natural thought.
Fossil records have shown that relatives of
today's coast redwoods thrived in the Jurassic
Era 160 million years ago. And while the
fantastic creatures of that age have long since
disappeared, the redwoods continue to thrive,
in the right environment.

California's North Coast provides the only such
environment in the world. A combination of
longitude, climate, and elevation limits the
redwoods' range to a few hundred coastal
miles. The cool, moist air created by the
Pacific Ocean keeps the trees continually
damp, even during summer droughts. These
conditions have existed for some time, as the
redwoods go back 20 million years in their
present range.


From: www.nps.gov/redw/trees.html

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Coastal Redwoods near Big Sur, CA