S. sempervirens, Endl.
The redwood comes down to the sea on the western slopes of the Coast Range, from southern Oregon to Monterey County in California, tempting the lumberman by the wonderful wealth and accessibility of these groves of giant trees. The wood is soft, satiny, red, like the thick, fibrous, furrowed bark that clothes the tall, fluted trunks.
Redwoods are taller than Big Trees, have slenderer trunks and branches and a more light and graceful leaf spray. The head is pyramidal in young trees, later be coming irregular and narrow, and exceedingly small in forests by the crowding of the trees and the death of lower branches. The leaves on the terminal shoots spread into a flat spray, two-ranked, like those of a balsam fir. Each blade is flat, tapering to both ends, and from one fourth to one half an inch in length. Awl-shaped and much shorter leaves are scattered on year-old twigs, back of the new shoots, resembling the foliage of the Big Tree.
The cones are small and almost globular, maturing in a single season, scarcely an inch long, with three to five winged seeds under each scale. Seedling redwoods come quickly from this yearly sowing, and thrive under the forest cover, unless fire or the trampling feet of grazing flocks destroy them. After the lumberman, the virile redwood sends up shoots around the bleeding stumps, thus reinforcing the seedling tree and promising the renewal of the forest groves in the centuries to come.
Redwood lumber is the most important building ma terial on the Pacific Coast. The hardest and choicest
wood comes in limited quantities from the stumps which furnish curly and birdscyc wood, used by the makers of bric-h-brac and high-priced cabinet work. Shingles, siding, and interior finish of houses consume quantities of the yearly output of the mills. Demand for fence posts, railway ties and cooperage increases. Quantities of lumber are shipped east to take the place of white pine no longer obtainable.
In cultivation the redwood is a graceful, quick-growing, beautiful evergreen, successful in the Southeastern states, and often met in European parks and gardens. Weeping forms are very popular abroad.
Government and state protection has made sure the safeguarding for coming generations of some groves of redwoods, containing trees whose size and age rival those of the most ancient Big Trees. But the fact that the redwood, restricted on the map to such a limited territory, is the most important timber tree on the Coast, is a blot upon our vaunted Democracy, which has allowed the cunning of a few small minds to defeat the best interests of the whole people and rob them of forest treasure which might yield its benefits continuously, if properly managed. Government purchase of all sequoia-bearing land, followed by rational methods of harvesting the mature lumber and conserving the young growth, is the ideal solution of the problem. Such a plan would assure the saving of the monumental giants.