Comparative Pictures of Dawn Redwood and Bald Cypress Bark

Pictures by Greyneedle. Pictures taken 2004.

(Information Provided is for Recreational Purposes Only--No Liability Assumed) 

There are three Redwood species:
Coast Redwood (of Redwood Forest fame and lumber):  Sequoia sempervirens
Dawn Redwood (Chinese native, deciduous and similar to Bald Cypress in appearance):   Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Giant Redwood/Giant Sequoia (Big Trees of the Sierra Nevada interior, Yosemite and Sequoia Natl Park):  Sequoiadendron giganteum

In the NYC/Philly Area, Metasequoia grows easily, Sequoiadendron grows grudgingly and S. sempervirens generally
will not survive our winters. S.s. is seen growing in coastal Maryland, Virginia and DE (borderline zone 8 areas).

There are some tricks to growing Sequoiadendron in the area, so this site is dedicated to those interested.

People often cannot distinguish between these two trees:


Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). Here is a large tree at the Leonard J. Buck Gardens in NJ. Note the sponginess of the bark and the fluting.


Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum). Here is a fairly small tree at the Leonard J. Buck Gardens in NJ. Note the shiny smoothness of the bark and the general roundness of the trunk. There is also a cross-hatching pattern to the bark. Sm



Dawn Redwood. Here is the state champion at Willowwood in NJ. Note the rough texture to the bark and the rough linear pattern.


Here is Metasequoia glyptostroboides at the NJBG. This is the species, so it is more unruly looking than the conical cultivars you most often see. Needles on a Dawn Redwood a opposite, meaning that they pair-up on the branchlet flat, like a capital Y. Bald Cypress needles are more random, tend to be smaller and not so flat, in a pattern that nearly alternates. At sunset on a clear day, stand next to the base of a tall DR and look up through the foliage at the reflected sunlight. Sm



Bald Cypress at Willowwood. Note the cross-hatching pattern (like a weave almost) and the smooth shiny bark. Large tree.


DR at Willowwood. Note the soft butressing and fluting of the trunk and the variation in bark color. Sm



Bald Cypress at Willowwood. Note the roundness of the trunk and the consistency of the color.



Bald Cypress at Willowwood. Near the base of a large specimen.

Further Links:
Exotic Tree Home Page
Giant Sequoia Growing in NJ, NY and PA
More GS Photos in NYC/Philly Area
Photos of Area GS from Middle 2004
Photos of Area GS from Late 2004
Photos of GS Diseases
More Photos of GS Diseases
Conifer Winter Bronzing Photos
GS Photos from Other Photographers
Some Other Exotic Tree Species
Bald Cypress and Dawn Redwood Bark Photos

Germination Trials for growing by seed:
Summary of Tips for Growing GS from Seeds
Environmental Considerations
Germination Trials I
Germination Trials II
Germination Trials III
Germination Trials IV