Albino redwood

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Foliage of an 'albino' redwood

An 'albino'[a] redwood is a redwood tree which is unable to produce chlorophyll, and so has white needles instead of the normal green. In order to survive it must join its roots to the roots of a normal redwood, usually the parent tree from whose base it has sprouted, from which it obtains nutrition as a parasite.[1][2][3] Only about sixty examples are known.[2] These can be found in both Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, with eight trees in the first. However, the exact locations are not publicized to protect the rare trees.[4] They reach a maximum height of about 20 m (66 ft).[1]

Other conifers lack the ability to graft their roots, and so 'albino' mutants of other species do not survive to become sizable trees.[1]

There are also a few cases known of chimeric redwoods that have a mosaic of albino and normal tissues.[5]


  1. ^ Albinism is formally defined as the absence of the pigment melanin, and thus is technically applicable only to animals.


  1. ^ a b c Stienstra, T. (11 October 2007). "It's no snow job - handful of redwoods are rare albinos". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Krieger, L. M. (2010-11-28). "Albino redwoods hold scientific mystery". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  3. ^ "A Creepy Monster of the Forest: The Albino, Vampiric Redwood Tree". Discoblog. Discover Magazine. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  4. ^ "Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest". YouTube video from Quest. KQED. August 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ Fimrite, P. (19 March 2014). "Cotati residents, scientists scramble to save albino redwood". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 March 2014.