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Coniferous, nonevergreen tree (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), the only living species of the genus Metasequoia, of the family Taxodiaceae, native to remote valleys of central China. Both branchlets and leaves grow out in pairs from points along the stem. The bright green, feathery leaves turn reddish brown in autumn. Though Metasequoia fossils are abundant, the tree was thought to be extinct until living specimens were discovered in the 1940s. Only a few thousand are known to have survived, in central China. Since these stands were discovered, seeds and cuttings have been planted throughout the world.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on dawn redwood, visit Britannica.com.