“The Dawn Redwood is a living testament to the surprises still found in nature.”
Imagine there was a tree growing in your garden that was once considered to have been extinct for more than 5 million years, a tree that existed in the Mesozoic period when dinosaurs roamed the earth, a tree only known as a fossil until the 1940’s. Just imagine...
The discovery of the Metasequoia glyptostroboides, also known as the Dawn Redwood was one of the most exciting discoveries in the plant world during the last century. We recently discovered this fascinating tree that was once lost to antiquity and is now found again, resides at Mousehall.
Jocelyn (Jock) Gibb (former owner of Mousehall) planted this tree at Mousehall many years ago. Some say by planting a Metasequoia you are planting a piece of history and we couldn’t agree more. This historical Dawn Redwood perfectly frames Mousehall Manor creating an enchanting scene, adding an extra layer to the rich history of Mousehall.
The discovery of the living species of Metasequoia was found at the end of the Second Word War in a tiny village (after which the tree was named) in a remote region of China, just a few years after its first fossil recognition. Up until the 1940s, the Dawn Redwood was only known through the fossil record that it left behind on exposed slabs of rocks and as pieces of petrified wood. This towering tree, reaching 50m in height, reached its prime about 50 million years ago when it grew abundantly all across North America, Asia and Northern Europe.
In 1949, Cambridge University Botanic Garden planted the first Dawn Redwood on British soil. It was introduced to the UK in 1949 via the Arnold Arboretum (part of Harvard University) and around the same time a specimen was planted at Kew Gardens. Somehow Jocelyn Gibb obtained a specimen and planted it at Mousehall.
Today the Dawn Redwood, remains a critically endangered species with just one established wild forest in the world. We have Jocelyn Gibb to thank for introducing this historical and endangered tree to Mousehall.
From CS Lewis’ Narnia to the Metasequoia’s dinosaur past we can’t wait to see what we might discover next..