Leaf Identification

The leaves of the Dawn Redwood are linear, feathery, and fern-like. They look like pinnately compound leaves, but are actually many flat leaves that are oppositely arranged on a branchlet. A branchlet is explained in the Twigs and Buds Identification section for this tree. It is sometimes referred to as a two-ranked leaf arrangement. They are a light green in the spring, dark green in the summer, and reddish-bronze in the fall.

Twig and Bud Identification

The twigs of the Dawn Redwood are reddish-brown. The Dawn Redwood also has a special kind of twig called a branchlet. The branchlets are green and hold the actual leaves. It looks somewhat like the rachis of a pinnately compound leaf, and they also fall off when the leaves do. Sometimes the twigs are called persistant branchlets, and the branchlets are called deciduous branchlets. The buds of the deciduous branchlets are reddish-brown.

Bark Identification

The Dawn Redwood’s bark is reddish-brown and forms vertical, shredding strips.

Cone Identification

The staminate cones of the Dawn Redwood are light brown, ovoid, and hang in long clusters. The ovulate cone is waxy, blue-green, and hang alone on a long stalk. The ovulate cone matures into dark brown and separates into distinct scales that contain small winged seeds.

‘Raven’ Identification

This cultivar differs from the wild tree by having an uniform pyramidal growth habit, low branching habit with branches uniformly spaced, deeply furrowed bark, better resistance to foliar diseases, and a more vigorous growth rate.