Humboldt County is known for its redwoods. So how come some of them are white? There are roughly 50 or so known albino redwoods in existence. Six of them are in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
The forest ghosts, which hide in the darkest parts of old growth forests, often leave visitors astounded. Their snow-white needles, which lack any pigmentation, sometimes seem to glow against the backdrop of their shady environments.
Two of the rare trees are a short walk from the Avenue of the Giants, a 30-mile stretch of old Hwy 101 that cuts through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home to the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world.
One, the 30-foot-high Christmas Tree, is located in the Women’s Federation Grove, a few miles north of the town of Weott. The other, the 20-foot tall Spirit Tree, sprouts from the base of a giant redwood in a redwood grove about three miles north of the town of Redcrest.
Like albino animals, albino redwoods do not have pigmentation, which means their needles are white rather than green. No other conifers are thought to have this mutation.
Without chlorophyll, the green substance that allows plants to convert sunlight into food, the ghost redwoods tap into the roots of nearby normal redwoods for sustenance.
While rare, the trees have been recorded in Native American legends. The Pomo Indians, for example, used them for cleansing ceremonies, according to one historian.
For more information on the trees, visit or call the Humboldt Redwoods State Park visitor center in Weott. 707-946-2263.