Why giant sequoias, redwoods are thriving in the United Kingdom

The number of trees in this region actually dwarfs the amount in California

Stock image. RDNE Stock project (Pexels)

Those who love walking woods full of giant sequoias should book a flight to... the United Kingdom?

Believe it or not, yes. Or at the very least, it has now become a viable alternative to those who love to visit the giant trees in Northern California.

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Currently, there are roughly 500,000 sequoias and redwoods in the United Kingdom, which dwarfs the 80,000 that are in California, according to Atlas Obscura.

The collection of trees hasn’t been amassed by natural germination like the forest in California due to a colder climate and much lower elevations.

But the sequoias and redwoods — which aren’t invasive — have still managed to grow and survive after being introduced and planted in the 1800s throughout the northern part of the region.

A Scottish merchant named Patrick Matthew got seeds mailed to him in a letter from his son John, and started planting.

The trees have grown and thrived due to the U.K.’s wetter and cooler climate, which might not be good for germination, but better enhances growth.

The amount of the trees in the U.K. brings to the forefront of whether sequoias and redwoods can be introduced to other parts of the world where they aren’t native.

The ones in California are the only naturally occurring trees in the world.

“You need to think about the implications of that for native species, particularly if you are going to do this for more than just ornamental reasons,” Mathias Disney, a professor in the Department of Geography at University College London, said in the Atlas Obscura article. “You need to consider the impact of possible pathogens, fungi, all those issues. But it’s less of an issue if they aren’t reproducing as there’s no risk of invasive spread.”

Regardless, those who love sequoia and redwood trees don’t have to only head to California to see them, as evidenced by the amount in the U.K. right now.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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