Factsheet S44: Metasequioa glyptostroboides dawn redwood.
The dawn redwood was discovered in a remote corner of south western China in 1941, material finding its way to Chinas most respected dendrologist, Dr H H Hu. By chance Dr Hu had recently read a paper published by a Japanese paleobotanist about exactly the same species, based on five million year-old fossils in Japan. The coincidence amazed the scientific world, that the fossil tree was alive and well in a remote corner of China. Expeditions were mounted to obtain seed, which was taken outside China before the bamboo curtain of Chairman Mao came down. Metasequoia is now known to have existed eighty millions years ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.