Dawn Redwood Tree
Leaves of the dawn redwood, or Metasequoia, are one of the most commonly found fossils in the Republic flora.
Naturalists had thought the dawn redwood was long extinct and that it was only known from fossils. But in 1944 a living, 98-foot-tall tree was discovered next to a small temple in the countryside of Sichuan Province, China. Descendants of this beautiful "living fossil" have since been planted in warm places in eastern Asian and North America—including Washington state.
Dawn redwoods are most unusual in that they are cone-bearing trees that are deciduous—they lose their leaves in winter. Pine and fir trees keep their leaves all winter. In autumn the living dawn redwood leaves turn to orange and gold colors that recall the colors of the sky at dawn.
The cones and leaves of other cone-bearing trees (conifers) are also present in the Republic fossils, such as pine (Pinus), spruce (Picea), fir (Abies), and the Chinese yew tree (Amentotaxus).