A Primer on Oregon Trees
Bill Long 9/7/07
From the University of Oregon
While I was being bored out of my mind today at a continuing legal education seminar on ethical issues that attorneys may face (the speaker attemped to remove the boredom by having a rock singer with him frame ethical issues by putting them to the tunes sung by James Taylor, Don McLean, etc.--), I decided that I would redeem the time, to use a Biblical phrase, by drawing up a list of popular Oregon trees. Where to find such a list? Well, I just happened to bring along with me the Atlas of Trees at the University of Oregon. This helpful guide divides the campus into 108 squares, and then identifies the trees, with maps, in each one of the squares. It dawned on me that if I consulted one of the excellent indices to that work, I could determine which trees were most prevalent on campus. Or, to frame it slightly differently, I could discover which trees were in more squares than other trees.
This is an important distinction because the Austrian Pine, for example (Pinus nigra), only occurs in six of the 108 maps, but there are 22 Austrian Pines in one of the section maps, and a like number, along the same row, in the neighboring section. Thus, the list below doesn't include raw numbers of each tree species; it simply gives us a list, in descending order, of the number of segment maps (out of 108) in which this particular tree appears at the University of Oregon.
My hope is that readers of this site might be tempted to say to themselves, "My, here are among the 39 most popular trees at a prominent Oregon location. Maybe I should learn how to identify them..."
A Few More Introductory Observations
The list below is imperfect. For example, many important Oregon trees do not appear on it, such as the Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) or the Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) or the Sikta Spruce (Picea sitchensis) or the Western White Pine (Pinus monticola) or the European White Birch (Betula pendula) or, finally, the Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana). The last is especially popular in two locations in Salem--a parking lot/grove at the State Fair grounds and a the Southern acres of Bush Pasture Park in South Salem.
And, the most popular new street trees in my home town (Salem) are not on the list. Those two most popular trees? Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan') and Chanticleer Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'). With these caveats, let's move to the list, with the most-frequently appearing trees first.
Northern Red Oak
Big Leaf Maple
English Pyr. Oak
Western Red Cedar
Shore (Coast) Pine
Purple Euro. Beach
Pink Flowering Dogwood
Platanus x acerifolia
Quercus robur 'Pyramidalis'
Fagus sylvatica 'Atropurpurea'
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Plumosa'
Cornus florida 'Rubra'
# of Maps
I could go on and on until I got down to very minimal appearances on the U of O campus, but this is a manageable list to get you started on some important trees that appear in the NW. Good luck!