Ghost Redwood

I actually found this tree on accident, when I just happened to notice it from a distance. This is in Founders Grove, and my only hint is that its within a few hundred feet north of the parking lot. Supper cool, and certainly the only one I have ever seen living up in the canopy. Here is the wiki about albino redwoods:

An ‘albino’ redwood is a redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) which is unable to produce chlorophyll, and so has white needles instead of the normal green. In order to survive it must join its roots to the roots of a normal redwood, usually the parent tree from whose base it has sprouted, from which it obtains nutrition as a parasite. Only about sixty examples are known. These can be found in both Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, with eight trees in the first. The exact locations however, are not publicized to protect the rare trees. They reach a maximum height of about 20 m (66 ft).

Other conifers lack the ability to graft their roots, and so ‘albino’ mutants of other species do not survive to become sizable trees.

This one appears to be an exceptional specimen as it is living 100 feet up in the air, apparently nestled into a witches broom. I wonder how many of these exist…

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6 comments

  1. Hey Bo! just discovered quite accidentally as I was trying to navigate your comment. Still haven’t read it (your comment) actually, but just wanted to say HI since the browser brought me here. Looks like a great site with important stuff to know. As I’ve said before, we may disagree on a bunch but I respect that you know of what you speak. And now I have a way to keep up with your take too. I will.

    Just read this post. Woah, awesome. I never would have noticed that if I happened across it. I might have assumed the branch was dead. Don’t understand withes broom of course and Google is no help. Do you think this is another tree, or a branch. I’m going to assume from the quote that it is another tree whose seed germinated in the canopy?

    Fascinating though. No chlorophyll?! That is not extraordinarily evolutionarily advantageous.

    1. Huh, well its actually a “Witches Broom” – which is a term that is used to describe certain branching characteristics. Spelling is my worst skill!

      The last picture is a typical witches broom – where the branches fan out from the bole of the tree (instead of forming a linear branch). They are more common in older trees.

      1. So is it more likely that this ghost branch is other tree that happened to sprout on the parent tree (highly unlikely I’d imagine), or more likely a branch of the parent tree. If the latter, I wonder if people are aware that this happens. I mean, almost definitely, right?, but that quote you reprinted mentions trees, not portions of trees. If it is a branch, it would mean that at some point one of the cells mutated and then the rest of the cells derived from the original that formed the rest of the branch carried the same mutated genes. Sort of like tree cancer.
        Somehow, someway that branch (or tree) is getting all of it’s energy from the mother tree. I find that fascinating.

        found this to answer my own question. so it is most likely not and individual tree, but a branch.
        http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2005/2-23-2005/witchesbroom.html

        Is this a known disease? I don’t know. Doesn’t really matter of course, just making conversation. Here are some.

        http://www.fs.fed.us/nrm/documents/fsveg/cse_user_guides/Insect-Disease/category_25_descriptions.pdf

      2. I think this albino was a seed that germinated within the crotch of the per-existing witches broom. So yes, a separate individual indeed. And really, a very lucky spot for it to germinate.

  2. Saw you “Like” and had a moment to wander over to your neck of the woods.. This is the first time I have ever heard of an albino conifer species. Seriously… Albino trees! How cool is that? I’ve got to see one of those…. Its on the list of To Do’s…. Thanks for sharing and educating me! Cheers

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