Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu & W.C. Cheng
Native Range: Along ravines and stream banks in Chongquing (E.Sichuan), Hunnan and Hubei provinces in China
- Discovered by a Chinese botanist in the 1940s on the border of Hupei and Sichuan it was not until after 1945 that seed were received by the Arnold Arboretum in the United States. The tree was introduced to the British Isles in 1948.
- The original seed tree was part of a village shrine and was known locally as the Shui-su or water fir.
- Other Metasequoia species appear in the fossil record and the extinct species appear to have made up a major portion of tertiary fossil plant material. The Tertiary Period marks the beginning of the Cenozoic Era. It began 65 million years ago and lasted more than 63 million years, until 1.8 million years ago.
- Metasequoia glyptostroboides has a deciduous life cycle that allowed it to dominate the Northern Hemisphere until temperatures became too low to support major forest cover.
- It is a close relation of the giant Sequoias which is shown in the use of ‘meta’, meaning ‘near’.
- The tree has an IUCN rating of endangered due to lack of habitat protection and fragmented populations.
Other specimens can be viewed at the Kirklee entrance to the Gardens and in the arboretum. A number of trees of Metasequoia can also be seen to the west of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum near Kelvingrove Park.
IUCN red list at www.iucnredlist.org
Kelly, J., (1995) Hillier’s Gardeners Guide to trees and shrubs, David and Charles
Bean, W.J., (1989), Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles (8th edn) John Murray London