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|Redwood tree (Sequoideae)|
The redwoods are a subfamily of conifers, the Sequoioideae. They are in the Cypress family Cupressaceae. It is most common in the coastal forests of Northern California and is possibly the largest tree in the world. There are three living genera in the subfamily. There were once more species of redwood trees, but most have become extinct.
These trees are pyrophytes: they have adapted to survive forest fires. Because fire is common in the regions where they grow, redwood trees have developed thick, fire-resistant bark. Their cones open only after a fire. Because fire control is better these days, the trees are endangered because they do not reproduce so well.
Redwood trees can grow to be very large. The largest species, Sequoiadendron giganteum, can reach up to 94.8 m tall and 17 m across. The tallest tree in the world is claimed to be a Sequoia sempervirens named Hyperion. The largest tree in the world by volume is claimed to be a Sequoiadendron giganteum named the General Sherman Tree, after William Tecumseh Sherman.
- The native habitat of Sequoiadendron giganteum trees is only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range of California.
- The native habitat of Sequoia sempervirens trees is only in the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion, on the Northern California coast and several miles into Oregon.
- Metasequoia glyptostroboides trees are so rare they were thought to be extinct, until rediscovered by a Chinese forester in 1943. They were found on mountainous slopes in remote parts of the Hubei region of China.