Four years after chimeric albino redwood cones were discovered, Landscaper Lucas Dexter Vice President of Dexter Estate Landscapes came across another amazing redwood exhibiting the same variegated characteristics. Located in the heart of the wine-growing region of Napa Valley, a planted Coast Redwood displays an aerial albino more stunning in appearance than the first discovery. With fanning branches in swirls of yellow and green, this mutation revealed something that few have ever seen. Tucked away behind these yellow branches were variegated albino and green chimeric cones.
In the pictures, we see the three C's: 'clear characteristics of chimerism' by the well-defined albino/green border running through both sides of the right cone. What's intriguing is how the boundaries between the genotypes do not follow the diamond shape pattern seen when the cones start to split open later in the fall. Seeds originating from these border sections may produce chimeric seedings. A joint effort is underway to collect the cones and attempt to propagate the seeds.
Another view of this beautiful aerial albino chimeric redwood.
Aside from this redwood discovery, Lucas has a passion for collecting rare Japanese Maples and has transformed his property into a small personal nursery. Each year Lucas adds to his collection & creates new plant introductions that he grafts himself. Most recently, he has been working with the International Oak Society to introduce a new selection of a Blue Oak that he found. Again, much thanks to Lucas for sharing this amazing find.
Jane from West Sonoma County shares with us this vigorous growing basal albino redwood in her neighborhood. Originally discovered in 2014 as a thin & sparsely needled tree, this year's growth appears to have taken off following the heavy winter rains of 2018/2019. Follow-up reports like Jane’s are important to the research we do at Chimera Redwoods. By monitoring these mutational changes over the years, we may be able to correlate albino redwood survival or mortality due to weather changes within the environment. Factors like: temperature extremes, droughts, floods, & fire may play a role in better understanding growth patterns within these chlorophyll deficient trees.
Thanks, Jane, for the follow-up with this unique little tree.
As the old saying goes “good things come in threes" After a relatively quiet year for albino redwood reports, September appears to have made up for lost time. Last but not least, the month’s final report was quite stunning. After following up on the lead of a white-topped redwood growing among the quiet orchards of Sutter County, I was amazed when I pulled up to find this golden-topped aerial albino redwood. The center of the crown is albino with small sectors of chimerism. What’s unusual about the tree is that it's located below power lines and receives trimming annually. This heading back of the crown contributes to the vigorous regrowth of albino foliage. According to the owner Manuel, it appears the mutation started sometime around 2004 as a small white growth.
Ground shot showing the beautiful coloration in the crown.
What’s dumbfounding about this discovery, is you have a rare albino phenomenon growing on a solitary tree in an area where few Coast Redwoods have been planted. With the combination of the scarcity of the mutation to the ratio of trees planted per square mile, leads researchers to believe that manmade influences are most likely causing inland albino redwoods to occur. It’s thought that a combination of soil fertilization & high UV light may be initiators for albino redwood formation.
Drone view showing the true brilliance of this golden mutation. In the upper center of the picture, one can see a few chimeric shoots exhibiting both white and green foliage.
Owners Manuel & Sally who have always regarded the tree as special, continue to safeguard it into the future. Thank you both for your stewardship of such an important tree.
Closing out the year, we received a pleasant Christmas surprise with the report of this spectacular basal albino redwood. Known by locals since the mid-1950s, this albino redwood stands around 8' tall and is the pure white phenotype. David K. from Sonoma County reported this find while biking in the hills west of Healdsburg. Thanks, David for your postcard shot of the tree.