Thought to be extinct, the dawn redwood was only studied through fossil records until the 1940's when small populations of this living fossil were found in Hubei Province in central China. An expedition funded by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University collected an abundance of seeds that were subsequently planted widely in major botanical gardens in China and throughout the world. The dawn redwood has become a popular horticultural species because of its fast height growth of 24 inches per year.
It is not known when the sizable specimen at Salter Grove was planted. It is smaller than the thickest (6’ at breast height) and tallest (135') specimens recorded by Monumental Trees in 2018. Both of these individuals were planted in 1948 at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Unlike the two species of redwoods native to North America, the dawn redwood is deciduous. Its feathery green foliage turns to copper in November before dropping off by December.