Tom Stapleton

Tom Stapleton

 An article featured in the American Conifer Society Central Region newsletter. Published with permission & courtesy of Editor Jerry Belanger: Coniferite 1

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 05:40

Trees available to the public

Frequently we’re asked at Chimera Redwoods if there will be chimeric albino seedlings and cuttings available for sale. Arborist Tom Stapleton is currently working on a project that will make this a reality in the future. As of this writing Tom and the Holderman family have patented three chimeric albino redwoods: ‘Mosaic Delight' (USPP26573P3),  'Grand Mosaic' (USPP29606P3) , & 'Early Snow' (USPP29217P2). These trees are still in the research and development stage and hopefully will be available to public within the next five years. The trees were developed as a result of a greenhouse experiment and were not taken from cuttings in the wild. Funds received from the sale of these trees will help offset research expenses. Tom hopes that by making albino redwood chimeras available to the public will help reduce the desire of souvenir hunters to poach natural albino redwoods in our state and national parks.

If you are interested in purchasing a albino chimeric redwood in the future and would like to be put on our waiting list, please reach out to Tom in the ‘Contact’ section of the website.

Below is a picture of cultivar 'Mosaic Delight'. This Coast Redwood albino chimera has a tendency to produce weeping green branches, while albino branch habit is mostly horizontal to slightly upright in form. Due to its moderate to slow growth, this cultivar may be better suited as a house plant or featured in a small garden setting. Tests are underway to determine its suitability to these environments.

Holderman cross

Thursday, 12 January 2017 03:57

New Science Helps Understand Redwood Ghosts

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After heavy metals were discovered in albino redwoods in 2016, Tom Stapleton and Zane Moore have teamed up to help further understand these new questions in albino redwood research. A select group of Tom’s chimeric albino redwoods are being tested with a specific heavy metal to see if this enhances albino redwood growth. The results may give us a better understanding of why we see these mutations in the wild and if redwoods are truly filtering out these toxins. Below is an article from the Bay Nature Magazine discussing the topic:

Bay Nature Magazine Article on Albino Redwood Research

Fellow research colleague Zane Moore shares his recent discovery about the ecology of Albino Redwoods in releation to soil toxicity. Learn what finally may be causing these mutations to occur in coast redwoods below in this poster & news links:


The mystery of the ‘ghost trees’ may be solved

Ghost Redwoods Mountain Echo Newsletter

Albino Redwoods May Hold Key to Understanding Forest Health


To best view this poster,  right click your mouse over the image and select: 'Open image in a new tab'.


Once again Arborist Tom Stapleton put on another exciting booth presentation at the Forestlands Expo in Ft. Bragg on Labor Day weekend. Tom teamed up with Mendocino Redwood Company during the Paul Bunyan Days festivities in Ft. Bragg. Locals from the area had a firsthand look at some of the rare trees that Tom had in propagation. Tom explained that these trees are essentially the “Canary in the coal mine” telling us how redwoods are adapting to an ever changing environment where the implications of pollution may be having an effect on the redwood forests.


Paul Bunyan (played by Mike Stephens) stands alongside Robert Douglas Senior Biologist/Forest Science Manager for Mendocino Redwood Company during the Paul Bunyan Day’s festivities in Ft. Bragg.

Friday, 09 December 2016 18:32

Cotati Tree Update June 9th


On June 7th Tom Stapleton held a booth presentation about albino and chimera redwoods at Trees of Mystery. The turnout was great with tourists and locals alike coming out to see the fascinating trees which Tom and Zane are studying. School children from Mary Peacock Elementary in Crescent City were seen listening to Tom's description on the science behind thee trees. The kids had the chance to look into a microscope and see up close the distinct color patterns within chimeric albino redwoods. Many were taken back by the idea that redwoods could grow in such beautiful color arrays. Folks visiting from out of state expecting to see only redwoods of great size and height were pleasantly surprised by the multicolored redwood trees. Some people exclaimed "is this real" as if interpreting that the foliage was fake. Tom said: "experience it for yourself". The expression on most people’s faces was one of bewilderment that a redwood could exhibit such a bright white appearance and yet be so soft. For more information about the visit, you can read it here in the Crescent City Triplicate newspaper: Albino Redwoods News Article 5-28-16

Thanks again to Debbie and Brenda at Trees of Mystery for making this visit possible!


A pariclinal chimeric albino redwood bigger than the Cotati Tree was discovered by a Sacramento City arborist in 2014. After careful consideration on how to protect the tree, the City finally decided to go public with an announcement on 5/11/16.  Here is a link to the video about the discovery:

Saturday, 30 January 2016 12:08

2016 Tales of White Trees


Warren from Marin County shared this beautiful draping albino chimera with Chimera Redwoods. Tom met up with him and was pleasantly surprised to see a large branch exhibiting an eight-foot section of mutated foliage. The branch growing from a normal green redwood creates a beautiful mosaic pattern of green and yellow. According to Warren, this aerial chimera is about ten years old and appears to be getting larger. Thanks again Warren for sharing this super find!

Warren Pic 1

Warren Pic 2

Warren Pic 3


Wendy from the East Bay reported this cellular green albino redwood growing elusively in the Oakland Hills. We had reports of this albino redwood back in 2013 and explored the area with no luck.  Thanks to Wendy and her dog Annie, we were able to track down this beautiful find. Appearing quite photogenic, this cellular green albino redwood appears to be growing independently from other nearby redwoods. Under the surface, this albino redwood is connected to the root system of the green redwood behind it.


Wendy Pic 1

Wendy Pic 2

Wendy Pic 3


Located deep within the forests of Mendocino County, Howard shares with us this white albino redwood known by early homesteaders since the 1930’s. Passed on by word of mouth by just a few people over the years, this tree is making its first public debut. The tree stands around 12 feet tall & has accumulated layers of duff from years of redwood needle replacement. As the fragile albino foliage dies, other new sprouts take its place. Over time albinos like this become beautiful hedges. Thanks to Saundra at Joe's R/K & Grill for putting us in touch with Howard.

 Howard albino


Lead Wildlife Biologist Shad & his botanist coworker Haley shared with us four beautiful white albino redwoods near Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. The tallest stands in at just under 30 feet. Known since the 1950’s, these trees have been carefully protected by Mendocino Redwood Company who’s managing the surrounding forest. Thanks to their good stewardship, these albino redwoods should continue to live on for many more years to come.

Shad Haley albino

Shad Haley albino 2

Shad Haley albino 3


Pete from Sacramento County (not pictured) shares with us the third mottled albino redwood known in existence. The tree is approximately 15 years old and was obtained at the California State Fair. For unknown reasons the tree mysteriously started producing variegated foliage at a young age. Pete hopes to train his tree into a full-size redwood that one day may rival the super chimeras found within this website. Best to luck Pete and thanks for sharing this truly one of a kind redwood!




Originally discovered around dusk by a gentleman named Will, this little sprig of a tree appeared to glow at twilight in the darkness of the forest. Lucky for Will, timing of the light can be everything when looking for albino redwoods. At times too much light and dark contrast can camouflage these trees into the background of obscurity. Sometimes the perfect moment arrives when the lighting is just right to reveal these trees as was in Will’s case. Even the best researchers have walked by albino redwoods hiding in the shadows just a few feet away. Thankfully, Will led us to the tree in the light of the day.

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Albino348 5  The small white albino redwood Will found is hidden on the banks of a creek in western Marin County. It’s growing between two larger green redwoods and appears only to be a few years’ old.



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