Left: An herbarium specimen of Metasequoia collected from the Peabody’s tree.
Right: Fossil branch of a dawn redwood. Compare these oppositely arranged leaves to the herbarium specimen.
The dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is a stately conifer (cone-bearing tree) with a long history that stretches back into the Age of Dinosaurs. This close relative of the California redwood and the bald cypress, in essence a “living fossil,” was known only from the fossil record until it was discovered in central China in the 1940's.