In the past, trees of this species must have been used for construction timber locally. Evidence of branch cutting for firewood can be seen in the photograph of one of the earliest discovered trees, a picture that has been widely published. Its use is now prohibited in the 'Metasequoia area' but the species has been widely planted, as an amenity or forest tree in China and as an ornamental in many other countries with temperate climates. This conifer is one of the most remarkable success stories of introduced trees to date; since its first introduction to the USA and Europe in 1948 it has spread to almost every country with a temperate climate. Several cultivars have been named, especially in the Netherlands. The phenotypic variation observed in planted trees obtained from early seed introductions may indicate genetic diversity, but trees with somewhat stunted and contorted lower trunks may also be due to suboptimal growing (climatic?) conditions. It would seem that warm and humid summer conditions are conducive to rapid growth, producing straight, erect trunks and long branches.
References and further reading
- Ahuja, M.R. 2009. Genetic constitution and diversity in four narrow endemic redwoods from the family Cupressaceae. Euphytica 165:5-19.
- Bartholomew, B., Boufford, D.E. & Spongberg, S.A. (1983). Metasequoia glyptostroboides: its present status in Central China. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 64(1): 105-128.
- Chii, K.L. & Cooper, W.S. (1950). An ecological reconnaissance in the native home of Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Ecology 31: 260-278.
- Farjon, A. (2013). Metasequoia glyptostroboides. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 07 July 2013.
- Fu, L.K. & Jin, J.M. (1992). China Plant Red Data Book – Rare and Endangered Plants 1. Science Press, Beijing.
- Wang, X.Q. & Guo, B.X. (2009). Protection of Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu et Cheng in China. Forestry Studies in China 11(4): 249-257.
- Wang, X.Q., Ma, L.Y., Guo, B.X., Fan, S.H. & Tan, J.X. (2006). Analysis of the change in the original Metasequoia glyptostroboides population and its environment in Lichuan, Hubei from 1948 to 2003. Frontiers of Forestry in China 3: 285-291.