- Written by: Tom Stapleton
This site is dedicated to the study & research of rare Albino Redwood mutations
The Coast Redwood known for being the tallest and one of the largest trees on earth holds a secret deep within the forest that few have ever seen. Like a white ghost hiding in the shadows, a tree known as an albino redwood stands brilliantly in contrast with the green surroundings of the forest. Known as a chlorophyll deficient or delayed mutation, these trees lack green pigment within their needles. Sometimes appearing as separate or independent trees, albino redwoods must derive all their nutrients from nearby green redwoods to survive.
What causes these mutations and why is it important to study:
While there still isn't a definitive cause to what initiates these mutations, research has found that there is a high proportion of albino redwoods in areas of high UV light exposure and increased human activity. Ongoing research hopes to shed light on these questions which may give us a better understanding of the overall health of the redwood forest and trees growing in our urban environments.
Why study these trees? Albino redwoods give us a rare glimpse to visually understand the inter-workings of redwood buds & meristems. These trees have also presented clues to understanding redwood morphology by the unique mutations they make. By learning the distribution of these rare trees we can better interpret where they're most likely to occur. On this site, you will see the many different varieties of albino redwoods and the forms they come in. Ranging from the Mottled albino redwood where only 2 are known to exist in the world to the more common white albino redwood where a modest 200 have been documented.
How many albino redwoods are there?
Currently, researchers have documented over 550 naturally occurring albino redwood sites. There are approximately 400 albino redwoods in the natural range and 150 or so on planted trees outside their natural habitat. There's even been confirmed reports of albino redwoods growing as far away as Los Angeles, Portland OR., & Seattle WA.
Where can I see one?
Most albino redwood locations remain secret to protect these rare trees. Unfortunately, a few albino redwoods in recent years have been cut down by souvenir hunters & profiteers who think they can make money selling these unique trees. With that said, some of the best places to see albino redwoods are within Muir Woods National Monument located in the southern part of the range and Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the north. The albino redwoods in Muir Woods can be seen on the main trail about a half-mile north of the visitors center, while the ones in Humboldt Redwoods can be seen near Founders Grove. If you need specific directions, please ask a park docent for help.