Forest Redwoods

Mystery Coast Redwood #14

Wild Roots

Continued from: Coast Redwoods Main Page

Copyright 2017 by Mario Vaden


This coast redwood is over 20 ft. diameter, tucked-away in Redwood National and State Park. Aside from the huge girth, one of the most interesting features is an external aerial root. The root is evident in the photo below on the right side with my hand resting behind part of it. It may be part of the redwood and grew behind moist bark. Or may be from an epiphitic redwood far overhead that grew the root all the way down to ground level. Either way, it's the longest root of this kind I've found on the outer surface of a coast redwood. The length is about 100 ft. from ground level up to where it meets some kind of other foliage or stem high above. This is all happening on a living coast redwood. It is not an adventitious root like those found on Mangrove, Banyan or Sheffelera. This was probably a normal root that grew behind moist bark or wood and revealed itself with diameter increase or as bark fell away. Prior to this, the longest (tallest) example I knew of was along Prairie Creek trail, on a dead stump. A photo of that one is included after this first photo. The Prairie Creek trail root was about 40 feet top to bottom, from a Sitka spruce or western hemlock.

Along with many other unusual things, this is part of why I enjoy exploring the coast redwoods, watching the many ways life grows, adapts and changes.


Coast Redwood near Clarks Creek in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park with Mario Vaden



Coast redwood forest aerial root along Prairie Creek trail with ranger in uniform