An albino redwood tree? I lived more than 30 years in the Santa Cruz Mountain region of California and grew up among the redwood trees, so when someone reblogged my post about the White Ravens of Qualicum Beach and mentioned that there were “albino” redwood trees in Santa Cruz (of which I had never heard), I felt compelled to investigate.
Yes, there are in fact albino redwood trees Sequoia sempervirens growing in Santa Cruz County, California, hidden among the giants at Henry Cowell State Park. And it turns out they are very, very rare, with most reports suggesting that there are only 25 in existence. Just as interesting, there are very few photos of these shrub-like albino parasites that grow from the base of their parent trees. The albino redwoods cannot produce chlorophyll due to a genetic mutation, resulting in limp, sparse, shrub-like redwood trees with white, waxy needles - a stark contrast to the robust redwood giants of California. These offspring never attain the majestic stature of their parent tree.
The albinos are being studied by scientists at Stanford University and UC Santa Cruz…and they know where every albino redwood tree is located: seven at Henry Cowell, eight near Aptos (a few miles down the coast), two in Big Sur (about 40 miles further down the coast), and six in the 53,000-acre redwood forest at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park near the Oregon border. The trees and their location have been a deliberate “decades-old secret,” so that scientists can study the anomaly of the albino redwood trees in their native habitat without human intervention or destruction.