This tree is growing in a garden in Johannesburg, South Africa. I'm pretty sure it's evergreen (turns out it's not). I'm not sure whether or not it is indigenous to this area.

Click on pictures for full size.

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I had the opportunity to visit this tree in Winter for the first time last week. It is not evergreen, after all. Unfortunately, this means that it is not a Redwood (right?).

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Another update: The tree has produced cones this summer!

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  • Bark looks wrong, but someone slipped a young redwood in on you? google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://blog.oregonlive.com/… Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 13:20
  • That is probably the last tree I would think to find here. But, I don't see any reason why your answer is incorrect. The needles look right, and the tree might be too young to produce cones. I was not aware that these trees could even survive in our climate. Even looking at images of young redwoods' bark, I'm not able to rule this out. It does seem to have the correct "puff pastry" look to it.
    – Richard C
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 18:59
  • Tamaracks are deciduous, and that fruit/young cone looks familiar. Larix laricina: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larix_laricina Also called by a number of names including larch. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 23:10
  • The leaves and cones of larch are completely different from this tree. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
    – Richard C
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 14:09

5 Answers 5


I believe it is a Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) This tree looks and feels like a sequoia (and even terrestrial examples of bald cypress), but is not evergreen. Foliage turns red/brown before it drops it's leaves.

More info here and here.

[Metasequoia Leaves


There are two trees that look very similar, on is the dawn redwood and the other is the bald cypress, both trees are deciduous conifers. the main difference is the growth habit is slightly different, here is a video with more info... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIlu0I3Pulw

in short, yours has alternate needles and branches (it looks like to me) and slightly less rounded cones, I think you have a Bald Cypress.

  • The Bald Cypress does seem to fit well with this tree! Thanks!
    – Richard C
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 10:48
  • Neither the Dawn Redwood, nor the Bald Cypress are evergreen. Both are deciduous. Typo?
    – Richard C
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 10:49
  • @richieacc yes, typo Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 13:53

It looks like a redwood tree to me: right foliage, right bark, right habit.

  • Thanks for the answer. As I stated in a previous comment, it does seem to fit the profile of a Redwood. I'm just not sure about the cones. I don't know how old this tree is, so I don't know if it's old enough for its reproductive mechanisms to display.
    – Richard C
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 13:47
  • 1
    @RichieACC, Redwood produces seed late: Wikipedia says "Coast redwood reproduces both sexually by seed and asexually by sprouting of buds, layering, or lignotubers. Seed production begins at 10–15 years of age ... ". I would guesstimate your tree is younger than that, though not by much.
    – rivimey
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 14:32
  • Turns out it's not evergreen, disqualifying Redwood as an option.
    – Richard C
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 16:22

I'm not familiar enough with South Africa's trees to be firm on it, but it looks like a Yew or Redwood to me.

  • Thanks for the answer. Like I said, I'm not sure that it is a South African tree. I'm not familiar with Yew or Redwoods. Looking at pictures though, it does not seem to fit with Yew. Yew seems to be wider at the base of the foliage than this tree. Also, I've never seen any fruit or flowers on this tree, and I've been seeing it for a few seasons. I don't know if it's just too young for that yet.
    – Richard C
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 13:46

It looks exactly like the redwoods we have growing here in our area of California.

  • as it turns out, the tree is not evergreen :(
    – Richard C
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 16:20

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