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Wellingtonia (Giant Sequoia) Sequoiadendron giganteum (Taxodiaceae) HEIGHT to 50m. An outstandingly large evergreen. Forms a striking, narrowly conical tree with a huge tapering bole, ridged and fluted at the base. BARK Thick, spongy and rich-red. BRANCHES lower branches are pendulous, but the upper branches are more level. LEAVES Scale-like, green and up to 1cm long; they clasp the shoots, and smell of aniseed when crushed. REPRODUCTIVE PARTS The small yellow male cones can be abundant and grow at the tips of the shoots, releasing their pollen in spring. Female cones are solitary, sometimes paired, and ovoid, up to 8cm long and 5cm in diameter when ripe, with a deep brown colour and a corky texture. STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION A native of the Sierra Nevada in California. First discovered in 1852, it was soon introduced into Britain, where it thrives best in the west.
- © ANDREW CLEAVE/Nature Photographers
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