From fossil data, the Dawn Redwood is known to have existed as many as 50 million years ago. It is the sole living member of the genus Metasequoia, which literally means “almost a sequoia.” As this name implies, the Dawn Redwood is closely related to the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). In fact, these three species completely comprise the Cupressaceae subfamily Sequoioideae, or the redwood subfamily. While the bark and foliage of the Dawn Redwood are similar to the other redwoods, it is distinct in that it is deciduous and develops a widened trunk-base as it matures, not unlike the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum). The Dawn Redwood features feathery, fern-like foliage that is soft to the touch. New growth is light green, maturing to a deep green in the summer, and eventually turning red-bronze and falling off in autumn. Although it is the shortest of the redwoods, the Dawn Redwood can easily reach 70 to 100 feet in height. In the wild, trees have been found to be more than 150 feet tall.