Ruby horse-chestnut (Aesculus X carnea "Briotii")

South of Academic Instruction Center Map

This sturdy young (in 2012) tree has been accorded a place of honor on the down-slope leading to the pathway between Fairhaven College and the rest of campus. It complements two nearby works of outdoor campus art: “rock rings” and the “steam sculpture”. In late spring it will put both to shame.

The ruby horse-chestnut is a cross between the common horse-chestnut and the red buckeye. The variety "Briotii" apparently arose spontaneously in the gardens of Versailles in the mid-19th century. Under favorable circumstances it celebrates the coming of spring with upright panicles of deep-red flowers to 10 inches in length. Part of Chestnut Avenue in Bellingham is lined by red horse-chestnuts, although whether or not they are "Briotii" is unknown to the author.

This particular tree was planted by the WWU Geology Department to honor my wife, Linda Joyce Beck, who died in 2011 of ovarian cancer. A bit of her beauty lives on in this tree.