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Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Sequoia sempervirens.

Material uses

A brown dye is obtained from the bark[1]. The bark and the wood contain tannin, but in too low a concentration for economic utilization[2]. On a 10% moisture basis, the bark contains 4.4% tannin and the wood 2.5%[2].

The sprouts from the burls have been used in making baskets[3]. The plant develops a thick covering of a soft and fibrous bark (you can punch it hard without hurting your hand). This can be harvested without harm to the tree and used as an insulating or stuffing material[4]. A fine bark dust that is produced whilst doing this is a good soil conditioner[4]. This fibrous bark is also used for making paper. Branches can be harvested at any time of the year from logged trees, the bark is cut into useable pieces and soaked in clear water prior to cooking for 6 or more hours with lye. The fibres are beaten for six hours in a ball mill and the paper is a brown colour[5].

Wood - straight-grained, knot-free, light, soft, not strong, very durable in contact with the soil. A high quality and easily worked lumber, it is used for joinery, fence posts, construction etc[6][7][8][9][10][4][11].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A poultice of the heated leaves has been used in the treatment of earaches[3]. The gummy sap has been used as a stimulant and tonic in the treatment of rundown conditions[3].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions

Soil conditioner


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow early spring in a cold frame in light shade. Seed can also be sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Germination rates are usually very low[7]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Plants will require some protection from the cold and spring frosts for their first year or two outdoors[12].

If there are sufficient seeds, they can be sown in a lightly shaded outdoor bed in late March[12]. Grow on the plants in the seedbed for two years before planting them out into their permanent positions in late autumn or early spring.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August/September in a frame. They form roots in winter or early spring[6]. Pot them up into individual pots once the roots are developing nicely and plant them out in the summer if they are growing well. Otherwise grow them on for the next winter in a cold frame and plant them out in early summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Sequoia sempervirens. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a rich moist soil[6], growing best in deep sheltered valleys in cool humid areas[13][14]. Dislikes chalky soils according to one report[6] whilst another says that it succeeds on chalk[14]. Tolerates poorly drained sites[14]. Tolerates partial shade for many years when young[14]. Strongly dislikes windy sites, especially if the winds are cold[14]. Plants dislike atmospheric pollution, growing poorly in cities[15].

Plants are fully hardy in Britain, though they may lose their leaves in cold winters. This seems to have no detrimental effect on the tree[16]. The giant redwood is probably the tallest growing tree in the world[7][13], it thrives in Britain, especially in the cooler moister western half of the country[7]. It is fast growing in cultivation[13], reaching 25 metres tall in 20 years in a good site[14], and can be successfully coppiced even when quite old[7][13][14]. It is a long-lived tree in the wild, often living 1000 years and with some specimens 2200 years old recorded[11]. Plants are tender when young[7]. If trees larger than 80cm are planted out, they should be coppiced in order to allow the roots to become established[14]. Male cones shed their pollen in February unless delayed by frost when they might wait until April. Frost just before flowering or at the time of flowering kills the pollen[15]. New growth takes place from May until the end of September and can be very vigorous, 1.2 metres a year is not uncommon and this can be maintained for 30 years or more[15]. The best trees are found in Devon, Wiltshire, Perthshire and Ireland[15].

The crushed foliage has the scent of candle wax[15].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Sequoia sempervirens. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Sequoia sempervirens.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Sequoia sempervirens
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    1. ? 1.01.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    2. ? Rottsieper. E.H.W. Vegetable Tannins The Forestal Land, Timber and Railways Co. Ltd. (1946-00-00)
    3. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    4. ? Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Bell. L. A. Plant Fibres for Papermaking. Liliaceae Press (1988-00-00)
    6. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    7. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    11. ? Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    13. ? Rushforth. K. Conifers. Christopher Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X (1987-00-00)
    14. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    15. ? Mitchell. A. F. Conifers in the British Isles. HMSO ISBN 0-11-710012-9 (1975-00-00)
    16. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    17. ? Munz. A California Flora. University of California Press (1959-00-00)

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