Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Praying Mantis
Today we did some hiking in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California. The park is famed for its coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), many of which grow to over 90 m in height. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is California's largest redwood state park and includes the Rockefeller Forest, the largest remaining contiguous old-growth coast redwood forest in the world. With an average lifespan of 500-700 years, coast redwoods can live to more than 2,000 years and grow to over 360 feet in height. Their great longevity is not why redwoods are called sequoia sempervirens, or sequoia ever-living. Rather, the scientific name refers to their ability to sprout from root stock as well as from seed. Redwoods have few natural enemies. Tannic acid makes them resistant to disease and insect infestation, and their thick, fibrous bark effectively resists fire. Goose Pens are where the base of a redwood has been hollowed out by fire, but the top of the tree is still thriving. These openings are so large that, in earlier days, settlers in the West could corral their livestock in them, thus giving the goosepens their name. Redwood Burls are wart-like protuberances from which redwood shoots may be sprouting. Nursery Trees are where a fallen or cut redwood is surrounded by a circle of younger redwoods, all receiving nutrients from the original tree's root system.

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