Old Main Tree Tour
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1. Sawleaf zelkova (Zelkova serrata)
Location: North of Wilson Library

Two of these members of the elm family are flourishing near the north door to Wilson Library. They may have been part of the original planting following construction of the library in 1928. Sawleaf zelkova is native to Japan and Korea, but has long been resident in North America. Its chief attraction from a visual standpoint is its pleasantly colored peeling bark, and its upright, vase-like form. From a horticultural standpoint it is also important that the sawleaf zelkova, while sharing many of the attractive attributes of our native elms, is relatively immune to Dutch elm disease. Zelkova serrata can attain quite respectable dimensions; one in Japan is over 160 ft. high and about 10 ft. in diameter. The largest in Washington, located in Enumclaw, is about one-third that large. Ours (in 2006) have also attained considerable size, at roughly 75 ft. tall and 1.7 ft. in diameter.

1. Sawleaf zelkova
2. Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra)
Location: North wall of Wilson Library

This is a familiar windbreak trees throughout western North America, introduced from Italy in the late 18th Century. Our Lombardy poplars probably date from the time of construction of the initial segment of Wilson Library, in 1928. All upright Lombardy poplars are male, and most planted are clones. This species is also know as the Mormon tree, for its upright habit - and because early settlers in the Great Basin planted them profusely, for wood and protection from the wind. Lombardy poplar is quick-growing, handsome, and pleasingly shaped. The largest Lombardy poplar in North America is in the Washington Park Arboretum, north Seattle. It is 142 ft. high and nearly 10 ft. in diameter. One member of our group of three trees is approaching 130 ft. in height, and may be the tallest tree on campus. Alas, its relatively narrow trunk suggests that the record is safe, at least for now.

2. Lombardy poplar
3. Chinese Scholar tree (Sophora japonica)
Location: NE corner of Wilson Library.

Note the delicate leaves with 9-21 leaflets per stem. It is also known as the Japanese Pagoda tree, although it is native to China. Perhaps this name reflects the fact that, once imported to Japan, it often was planted near temples. Our Chinese Scholar tree, as we will continue to call it, will significantly brighten and beautify its corner of campus. In spring it erupts in pleasingly delicate compound leaves, to be followed in mid-summer by clusters of small, fragrant white flowers. It is surprising, in view of its delicate foliage, that the Chinese Scholar tree is said to be hardy against most of the environmental disadvantages of urban life such as cigarette butts, children, zombies, bicycle tires, and perhaps even exposure to scholarly discourse. Our tree should do just fine. This tree was planted in 2009.

3. Chinese Scholar tree
4. Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Location: Near NE corner of Wilson Library

This tree, with large shiny leaves, is native to the eastern US. The name tupelo is of Native American origin, coming from the Creek words ito ‘tree’ and opilwa ‘swamp.’ In the fall it produces a splendid display of red-orange leaves. In its native range the tupelo is an important wildlife tree; its fruit is eaten by many creatures, and its flowers (drooping purple fruit on female trees) furnish nectar to bees and other insects (hence the name Bee Gum). Excellent honey is made from the tupelo. Deer eat its bark, and small animals nest in cavities in its trunk. Altogether an admirable tree; we should plant more. This tree was planted in 2006 to replace a diseased American elm.

4. Tupelo
5. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Location: SW corner of Old Main

At first glance the black locust is a tree that only a mother could love. With its wrinkled, gray bark, lacerating spines and autumnal litter of seed pods, it seems an unlikely candidate for horticultural success. Nevertheless, the black locust has been planted widely throughout North America; in Bellingham they are extremely common. Significant redeeming attributes include a spring display of delicate, long compound leaves, followed by a dense mass of white flowers. Their popularity no doubt also stems in part from their quick-growing tendencies, the fact that their wood is highly valued, and that they are difficult to kill. On the negative side, they tend to produce many adjacent offspring, through seeds and suckering from roots. Our black locust is about 100 ft. tall and 3 1/2 ft. in diameter. Judging from old photographs, it must be about 90 years old (in 2006). Champion trees may reach 120 ft. in height, but have substantially thicker trunks. Another large campus Robinia is planted near the southwest corner of College Hall.

5. Black locust
6. Kwanzan cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan')
Location: Small island in the middle of the sidewalk west of Old Main

This ornamental species of cherry is native to Asia where it is used for its spring cherry blossom displays. It is a small deciduous tree with a dense crown reaching a height of 26–39 feet (7.9–12 m). The smooth bark is chestnut-brown, with prominent horizontal lenticels. Our tree dates from the 1970s. In spring its flamboyant display of pink double flowers justifies its place of honor, in the middle of a much-frequented sidewalk.

6. Kwanzan cherry
7. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Location: West door to Old Main

Popular for their delicate leaves and beautiful colors. Native to the Far East, they were introduced in the early 19th century where they have thrived, multiplied, evolved - and conquered. In Bellingham, they are rivaled in number only by the deodar cedar, copper beech and, of course, our native trees. Japanese maple has several attributes that help establish its popularity; it takes up less room than most trees, it is easy to grow (in moist, mild climates), and it has interesting, even beautiful, foliage. Leaves of Japanese maples are small and highly "cut"; indeed, several cultivars (e.g., "Ornatum", "Dissectum") have such thin, ragged leaves as to suggest pruning by an enraged cat. Purple, red, yellow and green leaves are known; many provide a glowing red-purple display in fall. Acer palmatum may be the most varied tree in existence. North American Landscape Trees lists and describes over 100 cultivars. Entire books have been devoted to the Japanese maple. Four examples are shown here; two of a green variety near the west door to Old Main, and two purple ones at the base of the stairs. More Japanese maples recently were placed in large stone "planters" in front of SMATE. Stay alert and you will see more on campus, many more. Enough already.

7. Japanese maple
8. Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
Location: Either side of Memorial Walk, west of Old Main

Six of these venerable giants line Memorial Walkway, connecting Old Main to the Bird Sanctuary. They probably were planted in 1906; a photo of that date shows them as tiny saplings with a tenuous grip on life. However, by 1909 another photo shows them large enough to dwarf several students standing nearby. Now, in their prime, they are about 80 ft. tall and 2.5 ft. in diameter. Record Norway maples top 130 ft. in height and 6 ft. in diameter. Acer platanoides grows wild across northern Europe. It was introduced into North America near the end of the 18th century, and has been planted widely since. Norway maple feels at home in many parts of the United States, so much so that it has naturalized and threatens to crowd out native plants. It also apparently yields distinct varieties with profligate ease; one source describes nearly two dozen cultivars. Several purple varieties are to be found on campus. The species name platanoides refers to the superficial similarity of its leaf to that of trees of genus Platanus - sycamores in the United States, plane trees in England. Another maple, Acer pseudoplatanus - not certainly represented on campus - is called "sycamore" in England and sycamore maple in the United States. To confuse matters even more, it also is known as the Scottish plane tree. For further discussion of the muddy nomenclature of sycamores and plane trees, see Plane tree 'Pyramidalis' in Old Main Meadow.

8. Norway maple
9. Western redcedar (Thuja plicata)
Location: West of Old Main

The western redcedar, or giant arborvitae, is one of the familiar forest giants of the Pacific slope. Wood from Thuja plicata is highly prized for its straight grain and decay-resistant properties; shingle mills dependent on western redcedar formerly sustained many small logging communities throughout Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Although the tree is too large for most landscape uses, it has many cultivars that do find their way by design into parks and lawns (see example below). The redcedar shown here dates from sometime after 1909. It is now about 125 ft. high and over 5 ft. in diameter, and shows no sign of diminished growth. Record trees reach heights of more than 170 ft., with diameters approaching 20 ft. Western redcedars abound on the WWU campus and around its periphery; some excellent examples are found on Sehome Hill. This particular tree was chosen because of its proximity to Old Main, and for the fact that for most of its height it consists of five vigorous trunks. To date it has proved impossible to learn much about the history of this tree. What follows is plausible speculation. Because no gardener would plant a tree with such growth potential so close to an important public building, it seems likely that this tree was a "volunteer"; that is, it seeded itself. Probably some gardener cut it down, but neglected to exhume its roots. At the time this (may have) happened, the young ladies of Whatcom State Normal School at Bellingham were much influenced by Professor Ida Agnes Baker (see entry BS). Miss Baker was a lover, and fierce defender, of all things living and natural. It should not be too difficult, then, to envisage a harassed gardening crew surrounded by angry young women in hoop skirts, bent on protecting the mutilated little tree. And so the tree survived, and prospered. In another century or so it may be necessary to move Old Main, to give it room to grow.

9. Western redcedar
10. Yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava)
Location: North edge of Old Main

This close relative of our common horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) can be distinguished by its smaller leaves and upright habit; tall, with drooping lower branches. Its flowers resemble those of the horse chestnut, but are yellow. Its fall colors are superior. Experts suggest that the yellow buckeye is less commonly planted than Aesculus hippocastanum because it is less tolerant of the environmental stresses of urban life. However, this particular yellow buckeye seems to be thriving as a canopy protecting the plaza where much of Old Main comes to smoke! Yellow buckeye also is known as sweet buckeye, for reasons that are not at all obvious. The nut-like fruit of Aesculus flava is said to have been extensively processed and ultimately eaten by Native Americans. Apparently it was reduced to a much-leached gruel-like substance, probably devoid of much nutritional value. Whether or not the gruel was sweet is difficult to determine; language used by several experts suggests that no one has eaten it in living memory. Yellow buckeye nuts contain a chemical (satonin) that is useful in making detergents, but is mildly toxic to humans. Leave the nuts to the squirrels. The yellow buckeye is native to eastern and southeastern United States, where it can approach 150 ft. in height and 6 ft. in diameter.

10. Yellow buckeye
11. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Location: Old Main Meadow, south of Edens Hall

Not the largest tree on campus, but arguably the most beautiful, this is a thriving example of a species that dates back at least 200 million years. (Dinosaurs gazed on trees identical to this. Did they eat them, one wonders?) Ginkgo leaves, which suddenly turn golden in fall, are unmistakable; their unique shape gives rise to the name "Maidenhair tree" by which the species is known in England. (The logic behind this completely escapes the present author). Other ginkgos worth admiring are located along the western side of the Engineering Technology building. Record ginkgos are found in Asia, where they can reach a height of over 150 ft. and a trunk diameter of 10 ft. The WWU ginkgo, while large, is only about 100 ft. tall and 1 3/4 ft. in diameter. Most trees planted for landscaping purposes are male; fruit produced by the female of the species emits an odor described variously as "fetid", "vile", or simply "unpleasant." Oddly enough, ginkgo fruit is a prized culinary delicacy in parts of Asia. Extracts from the ginkgo are used medicinally in some cultures. Your Web browser will supply many uses of Ginkgo biloba in so-called "alternative medicine."

11. Ginkgo
12. Sawara cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera sp.)
Location: Near the NW corner of Old Main, adjacent to tree GK.

Native to Japan but widely planted in North America and Europe since the mid-19th century, this middling large conifer is widely mistaken by tree novices for abberant specimens of western redcedar (Thuja plicata). It has similar reddish bark and equally similar spray-like, closely appressed foliage, and it even prospers under the same climatic conditions. However, a close examination of its cones and the fine structure of its foliage should set you right. (A good tree book is strongly recommended). Cultivars of Sawara cypress are plentiful. One particularly important difference involves the structure of the foliage. Three common types are frequently encountered: two (plumosa and filifera) are shown in the lower photograph. The third common foliage type is called squarrosa, illustrated by a tree located near the paper birch (PB), in an indentation in the wall of Carver gym. The true budding tree aficianado will visit all three - once again, a good tree book is recommended. The largest specimens of this species exist, naturally enough, in Japan, where they can reach 150 ft. in height. Most examples introduced into North American and European botanical gardens are cultivars (e.g., the three mentioned above), which rarely attain much more than half that height. Two of the largest examples of Sawara cypress in all of Washington are Bellingham residents, located in Bayview Cemetery.

12. Sawara cypress
13. Norway maple 'Crimson King' (Acer platanoides)
Location: South of Edens Hall

Standard encyclopedia of trees list literally dozens of cultivars of the Norway maple. Many of these tend to be reddish, or purple, when the leaves first unfold. Lacking accurate records, we will take a fling and "identify" this tree as the "Crimson King" variety of Norway maple. Acer platanoides 'Crimson King' has been available since 1937, when it originated in Belgium. It is very widely planted throughout North America. However, at least five other varieties of Norway maple also are possibilities; one likely alternative is 'Schwedleri'. This tree is the particular favorite of Penny Page, mainstay of the Provost's Office. She (and unidentified support staff) is shown holding the leaf in the lower photograph. For more discussion of Acer platanoides, see tree the description for the norway maple on the Old Main tour.

13. Norway maple 'Crimson King'
14. Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
Location: SW of Edens Hal

In total volume this is the largest tree on campus, but it is a sapling stacked up against mature examples growing elsewhere. Our "big tree" is about 26 ft. in circumference, and 120 ft. high. The largest giant sequoia so far reported in our state is located in Ridgefield; it is 32 ft in circumference and 125 ft. tall. The very largest giant sequoias grow, of course, in Sequoia National Park, California, where they are estimated once to have reached a height of 350 ft. Living examples of Sequoiadendron have circumferences of as much as 93 ft. (A 93 X 350 tree theoretically could yield about 1 million board feet of lumber, enough to frame a fair-sized subdivision). The WWU giant sequoia was planted in 1941 by Dr. Irving Miller, a prominent psychologist and longtime (1917-42) Chair of the Department of Education and Psychology. Similar trees can be visited throughout Bellingham, although this may be the largest. Sequoiadendron can be recognized from afar by its crisp conical outline against the sky. In fact, it resembles a gigantic Christmas tree, which has induced WWU to decorate it annually for the Holidays. Placing the golden star on its crown must have become an exhilarating experience. Sequoiadendron first came to public attention about 1840. In England it is known as "Wellingtonia". Clearly Napoleon's great nemesis loomed large in the popular British imagination in the mid-19th century.

14. Giant sequoia
15. Shore pine (Pinus contorta v. contorta)
Location: West of Edens Hall

Tree neophytes blink hard and consult their reference books when they are told that this tree and the lodgepole pine of the Rocky Mountains (P.contorta v. latifolia) belong in the same species. Certainly there are many superficial differences. The shore pine tends to be irregular, writhing and short, as if clinging to the ground for protection against winds off the ocean. When undisturbed by wind, they are upright, but short and fat. Lodgepole pines, on the other hand, are tall and straight, and show an almost prissy tendency to elevate their foliage above the substrate. If a shore pine is a little boy playing in the mud, the lodgepole pine is his sister, dressed for dance class. A much more picturesque and cleverly described specimen of shore pine located near the music building recently (2010) succumbed to nature and age, so we now will go with these somewhat less interesting examples growing just west of Edens Hall. Although not as clearly, these trees also hint at the writhing, ground hugging posture of P.contorta v. contorta when faced with a challenging environment. Less contorted examples are to be found elsewhere on campus; indeed, P.contorta v. contorta is one of the more common trees in Bellingham. Western also has examples of what may be Pinue contorta v. latifolia; several candidates are located near the NE corner of Carver Gym. As its name implies, lodgepole pine was used by some Native Americans to construct their dwellings. It also is an important lumber tree. Lodgepole pines may grow to be 100 ft. tall; shore pines about half that.

15. Shore pine
16. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Location: NW side of the Bird Sanctuary

In early spring this tree resembles a large outdoor bouquet of expensive pink flowers. The uninitiated might almost expect to see cherries appear later on, but would be disappointed - the late spring eruption of heart-shaped leaves would be a clue. (Cherry leaves are long, thin and pointed - see tree KC). Eastern redbud is native to the American southeast, but is widely planted elsewhere because of its spectacular floral display. It can be a bit finicky regarding its environment (it hates "wet feet and too much summer moisture", according to one authority), and so can be expected to bring itself repeatedly to the attention of the WWU gardening staff. This tree was planted in 2006, as an 8 ft. sapling. It has limited growth potential (to perhaps 40 ft.), and thus will never challenge the elms and Douglas firs growing nearby. Several reference books list 'American Judas tree" as an alternative common name. This curious designation apparently originates because of an ancient folk belief that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a cousin of our tree - Cercis Siliquastrum, a similar tree native to SE Europe and the Near East. The legend goes on to state that the tree thereafter was unable to form heavy branches (presumably to prevent further suicides). However, our redbud, although not implicated in any known suicides, is just as shrubby.

16. Eastern redbud
17. Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica)
Location: W of Edens Hall, near the Giant Sequoia

The choice of this little tree to occupy a choice location near Old Main was inspired. Persian ironwood is a visual treat at all seasons and stages of life. In early spring it covers itself with unusual red flowers - anthers (male pollen-bearing structures) only, without accompanying petals. In summer it presents a deep, lustrous carpet of strangely-shaped leaves which turn brilliantly red and/or orange in the fall. Even in winter it is handsome; the falling leaves reveal a pealing bark (similar to the sycamore) with greenish underbark. In flower and seed the Persian ironwood is similar to the more familiar witch-hazel. The sweetgum (tree SG) also is related. Persian ironwood is native to the mountains of northern Iran. It was introduced to England in the mid-19th century and has been increasingly planted in North America since 1950. Depending on its circumstances it can look like a large bush, or a short tree. The latter form can be encouraged by judicious pruning. Our tree was planted in 2006 and has yet to show its growth tendencies. It is a slow growing plant, with limited growth potential (although trees 80 ft. tall are known). The common name "ironwood" refers to the dense, hard nature of the wood of this species, which is not known to have been put to much practical purpose. The genus name "Parrotia" honors F. W. Parrot, a German naturalist said to have been the first person (at least in post-Biblical times) to climb Mt. Ararat.

17. Persian ironwood
18. Plane tree 'Pyramidalis' (Platanus x acerifolia Pyramidalis)
Location: Old Main Meadow, north of Bird Sanctuary

Most of us, walking past this visually compelling, well-loved tree, will say, "At least I know that one. It's a sycamore". (I know I did). Well, yes and no. Yes, it belongs to genus Platanus - in America, the sycamores. However, it isn't the American sycamore. Instead, it is a sprawling, space-consuming mutant variety of the plane tree, that iconic London street-and-park tree with which every visitor quickly becomes familiar. The plane tree in turn is a hybrid of the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) of eastern North America and the Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis), native to the Balkans and Asia Minor east to the Himalayas. The cross must have been made early; plane trees are known in London from the mid-1600s. But not 'Pyramidalis', which requires too much room. For a glimpse of what a London park or square looks like, examine the more "standard" plane trees surrounding Red Square. The term "sycamore" is fraught with confusion. In England, "sycamore" refers to a maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), which has foliage and bark that vaguely resembles the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). Apparently homesick British pioneers simply transferred the name of their beloved tree to its American counterfeit. Platanus x acerifolia forms distinct varieties with gay abandon, adding to the problems of classification. For more on the plane tree, see tree PT. This particular tree is good for climbing. At times, students can be seen high in its branches, studying, relaxing, or socializing. Irritated squirrels often lurk nearby.

18. Plane tree 'Pyramidalis'
19. Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
Location: SW of Edens Hall, at the north edge of the Bird Sanctuary

Native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco, these true cedars are widely planted throughout Europe and North America, where they thrive and become very large trees. The record for Washington State currently is held by a tree located in Puyallup; it is over 100 ft. high and nearly 15 ft. in circumference. Most planted of the Atlas cedars is a blue cultivar (Cedrus atlantica 'glauca'); our example may or may not be 'glauca', but an undoubted glaucus example stands nearby, in the Bird Sanctuary.

Most trees called "cedars" in North America are actually members of the cypress family. This one is not. True cedars are members of the pine family, easily identified by their distinctive, upright cones. The sprawling habit of Cedrus atlanticus generally limits it to parks, open fields, and college arboretums.

19. Atlas cedar
20. Camperdown elm (Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii')
Location: North fringe of Bird Sanctuary

On the northern fringe of the Bird Sanctuary one encounters this curious little tree. Short, with a confused mass of horizontal shoots atop a blunt trunk, in winter it suggests an abandoned Bonzai experiment. In spring and summer it presents a dense, nearly impenetrable, pendulous carpet of large, unmistakably elm-like leaves, giving rise to one of its nicknames, the "umbrella tree." The Camperdown elm is a naturally occurring variety of the common English Wych elm. It first appeared at Camperdown House, near Dundee, Scotland, in 1850, and since has been planted widely in Europe and North America. Normally it is grown as a topgraft on the trunk of another elm, presumably Ulmus glabra. In much of North America the elm population is being systematically decimated by Dutch elm disease (a fungus), which, despite its name, originated in Central Asia. Some varieties of elm, including the Camperdown elm, have significant resistance to this blight, which, for now, has not reached Washington State. Old Camperdown elms are known to reach a height of 30 ft., with an equal spread, making them truly commodious umbrellas.

20. Camperdown elm
21. Copper beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea')
Location: Old Main Meadow, east of Bird Sanctuary

There are three of these old smooth-barked beauties located between the main western entrance to Old Main and the Bird Sanctuary. They may date from the 1920s. Large as these specimens are (the tallest is about 110 ft. high), they are dwarfed by several growing on Williams Street, near Elizabeth Park, Bellingham, that probably were planted in the 1890s. In the wild some specimens of Fagus sylvatica reach 160 ft. in height. Fagus sylvatica is a common woodland tree in Europe; it was introduced to North America in the 18th century. It is widely planted as a shade tree; in fact it casts such efficient shade that it tends to stifle the growth of anything nearby. The Copper (or Purple) form is only one of very many cultivars of this highly popular species (one source lists over 30, with many left undescribed). Formerly, beech nuts (called "mast") were used for animal feed, and pressed to provide flammable oil. Beech nut oil also is said to have medicinal value.

21. Copper beech
22. Bird Sanctuary ()
Location: Knoll west of Old Main

This location refers to a knoll about 200 ft. west of the principal west entrance to Old Main. It is densely crowded with trees of about a dozen species, including Douglas fir, western redcedar, western paper Birch, European white birch, English holly, Japanese maple, European mountain ash, black walnut, atlas cedar, large-leaf linden, eastern white pine and pacific yew . The understory consists mainly of Rhododendrons. Wander about and see how many plants you can identify.

The Bird Sanctuary honors Professor Ida Agnes Baker (1859-1921). Ms Baker taught science, mathematics, music and forestry at the Whatcom Normal School at Bellingham for 22 years; her career was cruelly terminated by an accident involving a streetcar. She was a lover of birds, plants and nature in general. She published several scholarly articles on birds, and is said to have placed bird houses all over campus. (It has been speculated that various old bird houses still standing date from her era). She once attempted to have Sehome Hill set aside as a bird sanctuary. After her death her students honored her with a sanctuary a little closer to home.

Ms. Baker also was politically active in Progressive causes, and played a significant role in the adoption of women's suffrage in Washington State in the year 1910. More information about Ida Agnes Baker can be found in a student report Ida Agnes Baker, by Cindy L. Carroll (1996), housed in the Special Collections room of Wilson Library.

Photographs from 1909 show the bird sanctuary knoll topped by a flag pole. Several trees also are visible, but they are impossible to identify. If they are still there, they have grown remarkably; barely knee-high to the pole in 1909, they now all but engulf it. Be sure to visit the old bird bath in the center of the thicket.

22. Bird Sanctuary
23. Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Location: Old Main Meadow, north of Wilson Library

There are two of these trees near the library. The broader is located across High Street from the bookstore. It occasionally bears leaves low enough to examine. The other, more majestic and somewhat taller, grows near the SW corner of Old Main, near tree BL. The GPS location given below will lead you to the former tree, which also is the one shown in the photograph on the left. The other also deserves an admiring look. Bur oaks have the largest acorns and amongst the largest leaves of all of genus Quercus. They tend to be large trees; specimens topping 150 ft are known in their native range (eastern North America, from Manitoba to Texas, and eastward to New England). Outside that range, however, trees exceeding 100 ft. are rare. Ours probably is at least 80 years old and is about 80 ft. tall. Bur oaks provide useful wood for the construction industry, for railroads, and for mining. It is (or was) highly prized for timbering by the coal miners of Kansas. It also is a good urban tree (given enough space), in that it has above average resistance to the usual environmental blights of city life. In fact, Quercus macrocarpa was chosen "Tree of the Year" by City Trees Magazine.

23. Bur oak
24. American elm (Ulmus Americana)
Location: West of Old Main, north of Wilson Library

Many of these stately trees were planted west of Old Main and north of Wilson Library during the early decades of the school's history. The GPS location given below will lead you to a group of three immediately NW of the Bird Sanctuary. The lower photo, however, is of a tree near the library. The lopsided shape of the elm leaf will help you identify the proper trees.

Elm and chestnut trees were once the mainstay of eastern deciduous forests. Alas, both have been all but eliminated by introduced diseases. Chestnut blight is discussed elsewhere (see tree HC). Dutch elm disease (DED) is particularly lethal to New World elms. It consists of a fungal infection, spread by bark beetles. Despite its name, DED originated in Asia and was introduced into the United States about 1930 in a load of imported logs. (The name "Dutch Elm Disease" actually commemorates the place where the blight was first studied). To date DED has yet to appear on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, but gardeners here continually examine their trees with great anxiety. Once the disease arrives, the trees are doomed. Enjoy them while you can.

The American elm formerly was a favorite landscape tree, planted widely across North America. It is (or was) highly prized for its graceful, vase-like form. Elms in general also are a source of much prized decay-resistant wood; when wet elm wood lasts essentially forever. (Hollowed logs used as water pipes in Roman times are still in good shape). One use of elm wood is in the manufacture of coffins.

24. American elm