Second birth. Metasequoia
In the rich collection of evergreen conifers of our botanical gardens, a new settler has recently appeared. Unlike other conifers, the new tree, like larch, drops needles and even small twigs for the winter. Now slender trees have reached, for example, in the botanical garden of the University of Kiev, almost seven meters high.
A curious biography of the tree. In 1941, a Chinese botanist, Professor T. Kang, exploring the flora in inaccessible mountain gorges on the border of Hubei and Sichuan provinces, discovered a 52-meter tree with a red-barked trunk and soft green flat needles. The tree was not listed in any botanical determinant of the world, not a single botanist mentioned it.
In 1946-1947, an expedition was equipped to study this find, for the first time collecting seeds of a new plant. The expedition discovered about 1000 more of these trees, and also found that the new plant is spread over an area of only 750 square kilometers, grows at an altitude of 650-1,200 meters on sandy soils. The local population calls it “shui-sha”, which means “water spruce”. The tree resembles a giant sequoia, which was discussed in front, and it was called metasequoia.
Metasequoia is very interested in scientists around the world. Over the years, a number of scientific papers have appeared on this plant. Searches were carried out everywhere, but in no corner of the globe could a metasequoia be found under natural conditions.
However, when the sensation became known to the paleobotanists, they said that they had long studied the metasequoia from prints on stones, in peat strata and other deposits and considered it a long-dead plant.
Metasequoia was one of the most common trees in the prehistoric plant world. Its forests covered vast territories from warm Korea to the harsh Arctic. Traces of metasequoia were found during excavations in California, Greenland and Kazakhstan. The newly discovered plant also served as somewhat disappointed paleobotanists (after all, they would have to discard one plant from their account), since it confirmed the accuracy of their descriptions of the flora of bygone eras.
Chinese scientists sent the seeds of the tree they discovered to different countries of the world. Metasequoia seedlings took root in Leningrad, in the tropics, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Now this tree can be found in France, Finland and Brazil. It turned out to be resistant to drought, tolerates 30-degree and even more severe frosts well. Now some biological features of metasequoia have been studied. For example, it is easily propagated by cuttings, unusually early for trees begins to bear fruit. As early as 5 years, and even earlier, it forms the first cones, from which foresters successfully grow its new generations.
Thus happened the second birth of metasequoia.