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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tom & Zane give a campfire talk to park vistors about albino redwoods.
Dave Kuty is a docent at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The former Silicon Valley engineer, became interested the biology of the redwoods forest and especially of the albino redwoods. He first observed albino redwoods in 1990. There was little known about them and relatively few were observed in the wild. It became clear that the albinos needed to be observed in greater numbers, and differences noted. He started to observe the albino redwoods in Henry Cowell SP and started to classify them. Ten albino redwoods have been found in Henry Cowell State Park.
Dave organized the first and second Albino Conference at Henry Cowell and has encouraged other researchers and observers ever since. Genetic sequencing is not yet been possible, so he continues to observe, catalogue and classify additional albino redwoods as they are found.
He finds that the discovery of albino redwoods is encouraging, because the redwood forest continues to genetically experiment. Observations will continue throughout the redwood range.
Zane Moore is a Plant Biology PhD student at the University of California at Davis. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Botany at Colorado State University this spring. He is interested in understanding somatic mutations in plants and plans for this to be his research area at Davis. In Colorado, he studied chlorophyll-deficient plants: specifically their morphology, physiology, and evolution with his mentor, Dr. Dave Steingraeber. Zane is a California State Parks docent and researcher at Big Basin Redwoods State Park and commonly gives talks at both Big Basin and Henry Cowell. Zane also has an interest in tall trees and consistently works to find taller trees. One of his significant discoveries includes the tallest tree on earth south of San Francisco: a 100-meter tree in Big Basin. Tom Stapleton and Zane have been collaborating on albino redwood research since January 2013, since then making significant findings in understanding albino redwood distribution and morphology.
Tom Stapleton is certified arborist with a passion of researching and propagating very rare albino redwoods. He & fellow research colleague Zane Moore have traveled hundreds of miles to search out and document the distribution of these very unique trees. Presently both men know of over 500 various albino sites in and outside of the natural range. Some of Tom’s accomplishments include the successful campaign to save & relocate the world's tallest chimeric redwood known as the Cotati Tree in 2014. He also has been the first to successfully asexual propagate an albino redwood variant known as a chimera in 1997. Chimeric redwoods consisting of two different sets of DNA are extremely rare & only thirty are known to exist in the wild. Tom hopes by propagating these trees in a controlled environment will lead to the definitive causes of albinism in redwoods. His ongoing research in a greenhouse setting has less of an environmental impact than working with albinos in the forest. It also could lead to better interpretation and protection of redwoods in the natural range. Currently Tom is working with botanists and other scientists to better understand the distribution and causes of albinism in redwoods.
In his personal life, Tom is a devout Christian who believes that working with these rare trees is a true blessing from our Creator. Tom gives all the credit of these amazing discoveries to God who lovingly bestows His gifts on those who place their trust in Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.