Tom Stapleton

Tom Stapleton

Thursday, 22 February 2018 12:53

Chimera Redwoods Branches in a New Direction

 

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Another avenue that Chimera Redwoods is exploring is offering albino branches to the floral market. In 2016 albino branches from propagated subjects were trimmed and made into this beautiful arrangement. As you can see the result was surprisingly better than expected. Currently research subjects are undergoing ‘longevity’ testing to see how long these albino redwood branches can survive without being attached to the parent tree. We hope one day that these beautiful branches will accent many floral decorations in the future. As a green friendly note, no albino branches are procured from wild individuals. All branches are grown from subjects in our greenhouse facility. 

For more information on Tom Stapleton's progress, please see this article below published in a recent newsletter:

2018 Plant Breeders Newsletter



Sunday, 14 January 2018 10:44

2018 Tales of White Trees

January:

 

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Catharina from the Russian River Area of Sonoma County shared with us this beautiful aerial chimeric redwood growing on a low branch. The mutation drapes down in a mosaic array of green and yellow. Based on the number of growth cycles the mutation exhibits, it appears this albino redwood formed sometime around 2014.

 Amazingly this not the only albino redwood Catharina has found. To date she has discovered three more aerial albino redwood sites throughout Western Sonoma County. Thanks again Catharina for reporting your latest finds to Chimera Redwoods!

 

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 June:

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Executive Director Stan Dodson with Oakland Trails Org stands in front of an albino redwood nestled deep within the Oakland Hills. This small white giant stands about 30’ tall & was discovered by Stan in 2016. The tree is pure white and is the more common type of albino redwoods seen. As a steward to wildland trails, Mr. Dodson will add this tree to his list of unique features that can be found in the parks surrounding the Oakland Hills. 

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Thanks again Stan for reporting this beauty of tree. You can find more about Oakland's wildland parks here at this link: Oakland Trails


 September:

Ed from Central Mendocino County kneels besides a Non-Chimeric variegated albino redwood on his property. This particular albino redwood produces green tips that revert white over time. The sparsely growing mutation is small, but makes up for its lack of size by the rarity of its color pattern.


Known by local ranchers from years past, this albino redwood remained forgotten in the woods until a gentleman named Randy came across the research done at Chimera Redwoods. He remembered an old rumor that a ghost redwood was hiding in his neighborhood. Randy reached out to the previous property owner named Bill to follow up on the tale. Bill confirmed the story was real and gladly showed Randy that the ghost tree was indeed fact not fiction. Once the albino redwood was rediscovered, Ed was pleasantly surprised to find out that he had an albino treasure growing on his property.


Again, a big shout out to Randy, Ed, & Bill who made this rediscovery possible.

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October:

Brad from Northern Oregon thought he had stumbled across an ordinary but rare albino redwood growing south of Portland. After being put in touch with Chimera Redwoods from friends at Crowfoot Nursery, a closer inspection revealed that this tree wasn’t any ordinary redwood. Exhibiting multiple mutations throughout its canopy, this sign could only mean one thing. Brad had discovered the 6th known grand chimera in existence. Sporting a diameter greater than 5’ and an estimated height of 129’, he had not only found an extraordinary tree but may have found the tallest one to date.

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The discovery marks an interesting milestone as this is the second tree of this type to be found in Oregon. Considering how extremely rare these trees are to begin with and how few redwoods there are in Oregon when compared to California, it’s astounding to have two of these grand chimeras in that state. With that in mind, researchers will have to conduct more exploration trips to the Pacific Northwest. 

 

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 Currently Brad is working with the owners to inform them of this important discovery and hopes steps can be taken to protect its future. Thanks Brad for the pictures & sharing your amazing find!

Also a note of appreciation for Michael & Paulie at Crowfoot Nursery for putting us in touch with Brad. For more information about the tree, see the periclinal chimera section within the website here: Periclinal Chimera


      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the fall of 2016 research colleague Zane Moore discovered that albino redwoods in the wild held twice as many toxic heavy metals compared to correlative green needles. This discovery: The mystery of the ‘ghost trees’ may be solved led to intriguing questions like: Do albino redwoods serve a purpose for the species by storing heavy metals in their needles? Are they removing contaminants from the soil and converting these toxins into non-soluble forms in order to clean up the forest?

In the plant world there are many species that are known as ‘phytoremediators’ which have the natural ability to clean heavy metal pollutants from contaminated environments. There has been ground breaking studies locally & in other parts of the world where trees have been used specifically to cleanse heavy metal toxins from the soil. For example: poplar trees in Silicon Valley California have been grown to clean up toxins at superfund sites. Willow trees in Finland and Russia have been used to successfully clean up heavy metal toxins from mining areas and landfills.

With phytoremediation being a real possibility of why we see albinism in coast redwoods, Tom Stapleton and Botanist Zane Moore teamed up to formulate an experiment in late 2016 to help answer these questions. Combining Tom’s propagation experience with rare albino redwood chimeras along with Zane’s botany expertise on phytoremediation, both men wanted to know:

• Are albino redwoods true phytoremediators?
• Do albino redwoods consistently have higher tolerance for heavy metals compared to green redwoods?
• Are redwoods producing more albinism when exposed to heavy metals?
• At what toxicity level do albino & green redwoods start experiencing stress?
• What specific heavy metal may be inducing albino mutations in redwoods?


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Based on Zane’s 2016 toxicity study on albino redwoods, the heavy metal nickel appeared to be the element most prevalent at the various soil testing sites. With these findings, nickel was decided to be the toxic metal of choice for an ongoing 2-3 year study. Because chimeric albino redwoods both exhibit albino and green foliage within the same plant, they best represented albino redwoods found naturally in the forest. 

Beginning in January 2017 in a controlled greenhouse environment, three groups consisting of young albino redwood chimeras were given various treatment regiments. The first is the control group while the other two are administered specific nickel doses. Depending on the time of year, temperature, & evaporation loss, treatment amounts are given equally among the groups.

 

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With a little over a year into the study, some subjects have already turned pale and died. Their foliage and soil will be tested at the conclusion of the experiment in order to determine toxicity levels. The remaining subjects that have exhibited various rates of green & white growth will also have their data published at the conclusion of the experiment.


For more information on phytoremediation and the benefits of using plants to clean toxins see links below:

Wiki Phytoremediation

Phytoremediation Processes

Poplar Trees Clean Up Toxins

Willow trees are cost-efficient cleaners of contaminated soil

 

Calendar2With over 30 years’ experience in Sonoma County creating breathtaking shots, renowned photographer & visual artist Robert Janover has generously featured a chimeric albino redwood on the August cover of his 2017 calendar. This tree was the first natural chimeric albino redwood discovered back in 1997 and is still quite a showy specimen. This infamous tree marked a turning point in albino redwood studies that further led to a greater understanding of redwood mutations.

To see more of Mr. Janover’s amazing work and to order your own personal calendar, please visit: 

Robert Janover True Images 

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chimera7 28 17  Have you ever wanted to learn more about chimera albino redwoods? Would you like to see these fascinating trees up close? Now's your chance to meet the researchers who are bringing these mysterious trees out of the shadows. Come finish out summer by learning the science behind albino chimera redwoods and see how they are telling us about the overall health of the redwood forest. Arborist Tom Stapleton & Plant Biology PhD student Zane Moore will be hosting several events over a three week period discussing their latest research. In addition to these discussions, there will be other interesting topics regarding redwoods that you'll be sure to enjoy. Outside of park admission, the cost to attend these events are free!

Hope to see you there!

August 12th @ 3 pm Golden Gate Dairy Farm House in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area:

Zane Moore will be putting on a talk about albino redwoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. For those not wanting to travel far, this is your best bet to catch a local event. Duration 60 minutes.

August 13th @ 8:30 am in Muir Woods:

Zane Moore will be leading a guided walk and tree measuring demonstration. This will be your chance to see how the experts determine which trees become the next tall champion. Duration 60 minutes.

August 25th @ 7 pm Big Basin State Park Campfire Talk:

Zane Moore, will be speaking about Big Basin’s tallest tree in the world south of San Francisco, and then discuss the extremely rare albino redwoods, considered by some to be the redwood's biggest mystery. Duration 45 minutes. Big Basin State Park Events

August 26th @ 12:30 pm Big Basin State Park Guided Walk:

Come learn how researchers measure the tallest trees in the world. Join Zane Moore, to learn about measuring these tall, tall trees. Zane will show you how scientists determine the height, size and ages of these trees. We’ll look at the history and future directions of tree measurement from cameras to lasers to drones. This 1-mile, 90-minute walk will take us to where technology and trees meet. Duration 90 minutes

September 2nd @ 3 pm Humboldt Redwoods State Park Guided Walk:  

Join Tom Stapleton on a guided walk to see some of the most unique albino redwoods in the park. On this walk you'll have the chance to learn about albino redwoods and see the fascinating aspects of their unique growing environments. The highlight of the walk will be the opportunity to see the largest aerial albino redwood known. The starting location will be at the HRSP Visitor Center. Duration 90 Minutes. Humboldt Redwoods State Park Events

September 2nd @ 8:30 pm Humboldt Redwoods State Park Campfire Talk:

Tom Stapleton will be putting on a slide show presentation on albino chimeric redwoods to park visitors and guests. The talk will consist of the history of albino redwoods, the various types found, & the latest research. This will be an opportune time to see live chimera albino redwoods on display. The campfire talk will be held next to the HRSP Visitor Center. Duration 50 minutes. Humboldt Redwoods State Park Events

September 3rd 10 am-4 pm Forestlands Expo Ft. Bragg Booth Display:

For the second year in a row, Tom Stapleton will be putting on an exciting booth presentation about albino chimeric redwoods at the Forestlands Expo in Ft. Bragg Labor Day weekend. If you are not able to attend earlier events, here’s your chance to see a pictorial display about the research Tom and his colleagues are conducting with these unique trees. For more information on the Forestlands Expo and the Paul Bunyan Day festivities, please see this link: Forestlands Expo Ft. Bragg Sep 3rd

 

 

 

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Here's an article plus phone interview with Zane Moore & Kaleigh Rogers from Motherboard discussing the ongoing experiments currently underway with chimeric albino redwoods. Although absent from the interview, Arborist Tom Stapleton is actively involved with these experiments by providing the chimeric albino redwoods necessary to hopefully answer the fascinating questions Zane has pointed out within the article. With their ongoing collaboration efforts moving forward, both men hope an exciting breakthrough can be made in the near future. Below is the link to the article.

Motherboard Science Solved It Article

 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 02:11

2017 Tales of White Trees

May:

Chuck & Christina of Marin County share with us an aerial albino growing from a redwood on their property. The mutation is quite small and appears to be only 3-4 years old. Interestingly there are a few chimeric branches laced within the mutation which points to more complex genetics than first thought. Another curious oddity is this albino has been exposed to ground pollution (sewage & waste oil) which again might be pointing to a possible man-made cause of this mutation. Over the years we’ll be watching this one for further changes. Again, thanks Chuck and Christina for reporting this albino redwood.

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 September:

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  Dennis from Erwitte Germany has sent us these pictures of a four year old Coast Redwood seedling that he propagated. Amazingly this year it has started developing sectorial chimerism and is the only case outside the United States that we’re aware of. According to Dennis, the seedling germinated out of a group of two hundred seeds collected from the Sequoiafarm Arboretum located in KaldenKirchen Germany. The arboretum is known for containing impressive stands of coast redwoods & holds a collection some consider home to the most cold tolerant strains in the world. At a latitude equal with Calgary Canada, winter temperatures frequently fall below freezing. It is not uncommon for temperatures to dip down to 5 F°/-15 C° pushing the cold tolerant limits with the species. Dennis is currently working on a breeding project with Coast Redwoods to find and develop the most cold tolerant strains available. Due to these weather extremes, it’s speculated that Dennis’s sectorial chimera may have been a result of cold induced mutation during cell division.

For more information on the history of redwoods in Germany, see the link here to Sequoiafarm. Note: you'll need to use the 'translate' feature on your browser to view the page in English.  Sequoiafarm Kaldenkirchen

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 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

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