Coast Redwood tree identification 

The Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens, is a conifer native to the fog-bound coastal strip which stretches from Oregon to south of Monterey in California. The tree was introduced to Britain in 1843. In its native habitat it can grow to over 110m in height but in Britain not more than 40m. It is now common in formal gardens, estates and parks. It grows better in the north and west. Coast Redwood tree identification is by needle shape, bark colour and softness and small cones. The tree has two types of leaves, scale-like leaves on the main shoots and flat needles on new growth. The needles are not opposite one another as in the Dawn Redwood. Its closest relative is the Giant Sequoia which has only scale like leaves.

The Dawn Redwood, the Coast Redwood and the Giant Sequoia (sometimes called the Sierra Redwood) are all related. They are relics from a period 100 million years ago when they were widespread. They now have very restricted natural distributions – the Dawn Redwood to central China and the other two to California.

Coast Redwood young tree

Young Coast Redwood

Coast Redwood mature tree

Old trees have branches that come right down to the ground

Coast Redwood bark

The bark is red, soft and stringy

Coast Redwood bark

Old trees have much darker bark

Coast Redwood scale and flat needles

The leaves are a mixture of flat needles and scale leaves with sharp tips

Coast Redwood needles

Each flat needle has 2 white bands underneath

Coast Redwood needles

The needles are not opposite one another unlike the Dawn Redwood

Coast Redwood cone

The cones are surprisingly small for such a large tree