THE SCOTTISH REDWOOD STORY

Sequoia giganteum (mountain): In August 1853, the first Sequoia giganteum redwoods seeds arrived in Europe and were received by Patrick Matthew, a 19th century landowner, pioneering orchard designer and social campaigner from the Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire in Scotland. Two of his sons were in California prospecting for gold and on seeing these majestic trees sent back some branches and cones from the Calaveras grove.

 

The accolade as to who received the first seeds was initially given to William Lobb and John Veitch from Exeter by the Gardener's Chronicle on the 24th December 1853.  Some thirteen years later the publication retracted their statement, recognising Patrick Matthew as being the first.

Sequoia sempervirens (coast): were brought to Russia in 1840 and from there to Britain in 1843. Theodore Hartweg, a collector for the Horticultural Society of London introduced seeds to Britain in 1846. The oldest two coast redwood trees in Britain are at Rossie Priory in Perthshire, and at Smeaton House, East Lothian and planted in 1845 and about 1844 respectively.  Coast redwoods are the tallest organisms on earth, if allowed to grow the trees planted in Scotland may reach 300' or more in height given 2000+ years!

Metasequoia glyptostroboide (dawn): this redwood was discovered in the Hupeh Province of China in 1941, and Cambridge University Botanic Garden planted the first Dawn Redwood on British soil in 1949.  It's name derives from 'metasequoia' meaning "like a sequoia" and "glyptostroboides", due to it's likeness to the Chinese swamp cypress: Glyptostrobus pensilis. It is the most endangered of all the redwoods.