Albino redwoods are known in the botany world as chlorophyll deficient mutation. These beautiful trees lack the ability to photosynthesis and produce their own sugars which is the source of all energy in plants. These mutations cannot live independently and must derive all their nutrients from a normal green redwood. Unlike mistletoe which is a separate parasitic plant species, albino redwoods originate from the same parental redwood that they grow from.
These pictures illustrate what a large basal albino redwood looks like. These chlorophyll deficient mutations can appear white as snow or vanilla cream in color. This type of albino redwood is the most common form of albinism we see in the redwood forest today. There are approximately 250 documented sites where these basal & aerial albinos are known to grow.
What’s interesting about this albino is how it appears to be growing independent from other redwoods. What's not seen is the mutation is growing off the root system of an inconspicuous redwood nearby.
This albino redwood growing in the southern part of the natural range is in the top 10 of the largest basal albino redwoods known.
Close up of the white cream colored foliage
Aerial albino redwoods usually come in the form of a single mutated branch. In a few rare cases, there have been up to 3 separate mutations found on a single tree. Notice how the foliage appears yellow in appearance. This is because the albino redwood has been exposed to high levels of UV light. In response, the tree has produced a pigmentation called xanthophyll giving the mutation an off-white appearance.
The redwood in these pictures was planted in the Central Valley approximately 30 years ago. The mutation most likely started to appear on the tree within the last 10 years.