Plant World

Trees and Shrubs

Which conifers in North America lose their leaves in winter?

The word “sequoia” was proposed by Austrian botanist Stephen Endlicher (1804–1849) to commemorate the eighteenth-century Cherokee leader Sequoyah (c. 1770–1843), remembered for developing an 83-letter alphabet for the Cherokee language.

Dawn redwood trees (Metasequoia) are deciduous. Their leaves are bright green in summer and turn coppery red in the fall before they drop. Previously known only as a fossil, the tree was found in China in 1941 and has been growing in the United States since the 1940s. The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed seeds to experimental growers in the United States, and the dawn redwood tree now grows all over the country.

The only native conifers that shed all of their leaves in the fall are the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and the Larch (Larix larcina).


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