Can you identify this conifer?
Update (9+ p.m.). It was a bit of a fraud to say I'd reveal the identity of this conifer. I'm 100% sure this is the female cone of one of two species (described below), but since the two species are both known to grow in Hidden Lake Gardens, and since they can look very similar to each other in tree conformation, foliage, and even shape of cones, and since I was being too harassed by mosquitoes at the time to search diligently for a tag which might not even have been present, I'll have to leave the identification a partial mystery. I offer no preference for the either of the two possibilities. I will add that both choices belong to the family Cupressaceae, but beyond that I don't know how closely related they are genetically.
1) Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) - guessed by a number of commenters
2) Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) - lightray did opine that this might be a redwood of some sort.
The other guesses (some kind of juniper) are worthy, but unlikely. I know from having seen this particular tree at different times of the year that it is definitely deciduous, which is true both for bald cypress and dawn redwood, but not for junipers. Junipers do, however, also belong to the family Cupressaceae.
Feel free to weigh in further on the discussion of which species this tree belongs to. Eventually I'll get back to HLG and will look for an ID tag. But in real life we don't always get to know answers to all our questions. I agree that the cone is weird and other worldly looking, with its blue hues. I personally see eyelashes in the markings of the cone, which makes me smile. It's as though the cone is winking at me. That might have been my main motivation for taking the picture in the first place.
Thanks to all the good sports who offered up a guess, and to all the others who expressed an interest in this natural oddity.
DP205-2013 Posted July 24; processed July 23.
Hidden Lake Gardens, Michigan
Taken July 23, 2013
arctangentDailyPhotosDPD205posted 2013post 189Wednesdaysummerconiferdeciduousmysterybald cypressdawn redwoodtaxodiummetasequoiaconefemale conecloseupHidden Lake Gardensarboretum drivewetlandsr9c32v1911arctangent, from