Discover redwood burl
Burls are the knobby growths often seen at the base of coast redwoods. Burl can also be found higher in the canopy too. Burl is wood that is full of unsprouted bud tissue that grows in lumps on the sides of trees. The genetic code of the tree is stored in the burl. This is a valuable evolutionary mechanism that ensures the tree’s genetic future. When a tree is stressed by fire, drought, wind, or old age, sprouts will emerge from the burl. These sprouts contain the exact genetic code of the “parent” tree.
Coast redwoods begin developing burl as seedlings, and as the tree grows, the dormant stems in the burl enlarge, giving the burl its rounded, knobby appearance. Burls usually develop in a ring around the base of the tree.
Sometimes one can find a circle of redwood trees growing in the forest. These are evidence of several burl sprouts all of a similar age, that encircled a fallen parent tree, and grew into new trees. When a redwood falls or is damaged in some way, the burl may sprout from the trunk or branch, sharing or taking over the root system of the original tree. Through this process of adaptation, the redwood continues to be one of our planet’s most resilient survivors.
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