Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Redwood Mystery in La Nacho

A redwood grove in
Humboldt, Calif.

It turns out that politics aren't the only things that are red on Bogotá's National University campus. But this other red thing is more stately and more mysterious.

I've often wondered about the redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) (unless my botany is way off), standing in the center of campus in front of the university's engineering building. Who planted it? Why? Redwoods are native only to a narrow strip of foggy land near the coast of northern California. So, is it a surprise that one survives here at 2650 meters elevation, thousands of kilometers from the sea? I also wonder whether the campus's protesters, who love denouncing the U.S., know that's a gringo arbol in the center of campus.

If this tree is 30 to 40 years old, as someone estimated to me, then whoever planted it probably isn't working on campus anymore to tell the story.

In any case, students will have lots of time to contemplate this transplant from North America. Redwoods can live for thousands of years and reach heights of more than 100 meters - which would make this one visible from all over Bogotá.

(If this is not actually a redwood, somebody please tell me.)

Redwood trees have characteristic feathery leaves.
The redwood trees' native range in northern California does not include Bogotá, Colombia.

The Nacho's redwood provides nice shade for candy and minute vendors.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


mauricio forero l said...

No Miguel, I do remember that Redwood and, I can tell you that is more than 30 years old...It is probably like a dwarf version??? Lol.

Miguel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlito said...

When I visited Sequoia National Park in California they sold these little alive Sequoias on the gift shop. I bought one and brought it home, the inspectors at the airport did never find it. It lasted several years and even had to be transplanted, but eventually withered. I guess something similar happened, but this one survived.

Miguel said...

If the tree's really more than 30 years old, then whoever planted it is probably no longer on campus to tell the tale. No, I don't think it's a dwarf. But it looks like it got damaged near its base. And the Bogotá environment isn't ideal for redwoods. Mike