Albino redwoods contribute to health of California's deep green redwood forests

Albino redwoods contribute to health of California's deep green redwood forests

A research has probably found that albino redwoods, considered freeloaders for long, play a part in the health of deep green redwood forests of California. San Jose researcher Zane Moore, a doctoral student at UC Davis said that the trees apparently act like a liver or kidney, and filter toxins from the soil surrounding them.

Moore studied the redwood leaves’ needles in a lab and discovered that they possess elevated levels of the toxic heavy metals copper, cadmium, and nickel. Moore added that they have been actually poisoning themselves.

They seems to be drawing away and preserving pollution, a part of which has been occurring naturally in the soils and some are residues of man-made sources such as railroads, highways that otherwise may degrade or kill redwoods.

It is known to scientists that albino redwoods are genetic mutations that fix themselves to redwood trees’ roots and branches and survive by sucking sugars from the massive host trees. They were first recorded in 1866.

Soon, investigation discovered that the phantom plants, growing out of healthy redwoods, were white due to a genetic mutation that takes away all chlorophyll from them.

In several places, their sites have been kept secret to ensure their safety from poachers and souvenir hunters. But, Moore is looking forward to catalog the areas of albino redwoods carefully throughout the natural range of redwood forests, spanned over nearly 400 miles from the Oregon border to Big Sur.

The state has nearly 400 such trees, wherein highest concentration belongs to Santa Cruz county. The research done by Moore is going to be a part of the annual Coast Redwood Science Symposium in Eureka this week.

Emily Burns, director of science at Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco, said, “Albino redwoods are parasites, and if these sprouts have some sort of a function, that's really cool”. Burns have called the results fascinating.


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