Thursday, November 12, 2015

Albino redwoods

Over the weekend, Nim and I had the opportunity to take a short hike into a normally closed part of La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve to go see some albino redwoods.

Albino redwoods, you ask?  They are redwoods that have a genetic mutation that means they don't have any chlorophyll.  What they do have are roots that can grab onto a neighboring redwood and parasitically absorb nutrients that way.  Not a very efficient feeding mechanism, so they don't usually get very big, but it is interesting to see a mass of white redwood sprouts growing near the base of another tree.

The needle shape and habit are different too -- wide flat needles that sometimes curl up on themselves.

Almost a snowflake!

Sometimes there are normal sprouts mixed in with the white ones.

It was raining slightly, and Nim decided to be a small woodland creature.

Spiderwebs accumulated not only water droplets, but entire water films.

On our way out, we wandered around in the mud to find a second albino redwood mass; this one sprouted out of a normal redwood partway up the trunk.  Apparently there is some sort of virus that leads to the mid-trunk sprouting.  It's gotta be pretty rare to get this combination of the virus and the genetic mutation together!

1 comment:

Yokota Fritz said...

We have an albino redwood at Henry Cowell, too. The drought hasn't been kind to it.