This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dawn redwood

In front of the Science Hall on the Saint Joseph's College campus is a medium-sized tree that looks like and evergreen tree but it loses its leaves in the winter. It is not a native tree to Indiana, but a recent transplant. It is a dawn redwood, a tree that was discovered growing in 1941 in China.
The SJC tree does not have the usual shape of a dawn redwood, which usually has a single trunk rather than the multiple trunks that this one has. Yet it you look at it from a distance, you can see that one of the branches seems to becoming dominant and taking the shape that the tree should have.

You may wonder why is this tree here. it is probably because in the past one of the priests at SJC, Fr. Reuve, was interested in trees and planted a wide variety of trees on campus, so that just about any tree that can grow in Indiana can be found somewhere on campus. Unfortunately, no one is likely to replace any of the strange trees if they die, so over time the campus will lose some of its diversity of trees, and perhaps that has already started to happen.

The dawn redwood has a distinctive cone, shown on the bottom in the picture below. The cone at the top is from another conifer that loses its leaves or needle, the bald cypress.
Does anyone know of any other dawn redwoods in Rensselaer?

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