Rare “Albino” Redwood May Hold Clues to the Super-Trees’ Longevity
Are its white needles an evolutionary mistake—or a way to cope with stress?
For decades, a lone redwood has grown near the railroad tracks that run through the small city of Cotati, California. It was little noticed by most people—until officials announced that the tree had to be chopped down to make way for a new transit system. Now arborists, researchers, and historians have banded together to save it.
With good reason.
The tree is a rarity called a chimeric albino redwood. Mixed among its normal green needles are ghostly patches of yellowish white needles. Albino redwoods have been documented since at least 1866, but they are very unusual. Amador County arborist Tom Stapleton and Colorado State University botany student Zane Moore have documented only 230 of the trees in California.