Albino redwood

An albino (mutant lacking chlorophyll) redwood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, northern California.     Photo: WolfmanSF/Wikimedia

Rare Albino Redwood to Be Cut Down

Only 10 such trees exist in the world

There are only 10 albino redwoods in the world, and one of them is in danger of being cut down to make room for a commuter rail system.

As Reuters reports, a 52-foot albino chimera coast redwood in Cotati, California, stands 12 feet away from a planned stretch of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit line, which begins construction next month.

"To lose this tree would be an absolutely huge loss to science and the ability to study albinism in redwoods," arborist Tom Stapleton told Reuters.

Only about 200 of the white-needle evergreens are known to exist in the world, all of them in California. But far more rare are redwoods such as this tree, an albino chimera coast redwood with two sets of DNA that produce multicolored needles.

"They're often called the phantoms of the forest," albino coast redwood expert Sandy Lydon told Reuters. Northern California arborists are fighting city officials and the rail agency to make sure this phantom of the forest doesn't become an actual ghost.