110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Nature Scenes: Redwood forests in California seem like sacred places
By Lynn Bowen
posted Oct 13, 2013 - 7:35:49am
In scenic California during our recent vacation in the Western U.S., my husband, Andy, and I went to see some of the huge, famous redwood trees. We were in three different forests and saw two kinds of these ancient trees. The forests seemed strangely quiet, like sacred places. While we were there, we neither heard nor saw any other living creatures, other than one beautiful, docile, black-tailed deer that quietly walked by. These deer live only in the Pacific Northwest. I took his photo, but his face was hidden by leaves.
The silence was rather surprising. There must be a stream somewhere deep in the forest that secretive wildlife use.
Giant redwoods with their rich brown bark are found throughout California. A redwood has a conelike shape to its trunk. This huge tree has short, spiky needles in clusters on each branch. The tree is about 300 feet tall when fully mature. Some of these trees are 1,500 years old!
Coast redwoods are the tallest ones, and are seen only along the California coastline. This tree is tall and lean, and has a straight trunk in comparison with the wide giant redwoods. Coast redwoods have flat, soft needles, and grow up to 379 feet tall!
Many traits are true for all the redwoods. These huge pine trees have cones that are only about 1 inch long. That is ironic, as one would expect huge cones.
Each small cone contains 12 to 30 seeds that are capable of producing trees that will live to be 2,000 years old like the existing ones! They all depend on fog for about 30 percent of their water, which they absorb into their leaves and that then drips down to their roots.
Since these giant trees form a canopy in the dense forests that blocks the sun from shining onto the ground, not much can grow there. Small ferns, vines and flowers do manage to grow.
Part of the reason for the redwoods' long survival is tannin, which is a natural chemical produced by the trees that repels insects and fungi. Also, redwoods are fairly resistant to fire, since these trees do not produce resin or pitch in their bark.
The tallest redwood trees are taller than the U.S. Capitol and the Statue of Liberty!
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at email@example.com.
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