A Tree Tour of Reed College V
Bill Long 9/8/07
Maps 17, 19-23
You can breeze through Map 17 in about five minutes. It only lists eight trees to the South of Vollum College Center, where I had my office from 1982-88 while I taught religion & humanities at the college. Nothing stunning or compelling here, though I thinnk they forgot to label two trees on either side of the walkway coming out of the physics building. They look like a Chamaecyparis lawsoniana and a Cercidiphyllum japonica (Katsura tree), though I could be mistaken about the latter. Here are 10 trees.
I have already talked about Map 18 here.
When we are at Map 19, we are back at the Western end of the campus. This "walk" mostly includes trees along SE 28th Avenue. They are all correctly labeled (and still there), but I want to point out the Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine), which is the only exemple of that species on campus. The college species list says that the P. strobus is also in Map 20, but that isn't true. Reed only has one of them. What does the web site mean when it says that it, at up to 80 feet tall, is the "tallest native tree found east of the Rocky Mountains"? Huh? You mean, there shouldn't be any native tree East of the Rockies taller than 80 feet? I think they mean "native pine," but I am not sure. There are 18 trees here.
Tree # 4 has been removed (the map so tells me); maybe that was a former Pinus strobus. In any case, this "walk" of 35 other trees has about 10 or 11 different types of trees, and the map is good as it is. Most are familiar from other walks in campus; the Gleditsia triancanthos in the parking lot; the frequent Sequoiadendron gigangteum, an always pleasant Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), a few small Sitka Spruces, several Norway Maples (Acer platanoides), a London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifolia), etc. The London Plane Tree on the hill sloping down to the parking lot has perhaps the widest canopy of any tree on campus. Just as students used to see how many people they could stuff in a VW bug in the 1970s, why shouldn't we today have a contest of how many people could sit in the canopy of a P. acerifolia? The latter would be more fun; you might even meet some interesting people. The Japanese Pine (P. thunbergii) seems out of place; maybe it originally had the company of the P. strobus. There are 35 trees here.
Map 21 brings us to Tilia country. I don't know how really to tell the difference between the T. americana and T. platyphyllos, but that question hardly ranks up there with that of our exit strategy from Iraq. Nevertheless, I will try to get to the bottom of it sooner or later. This map is well-done and clear. I like the Chinese Photinia (Photinia serratifolia), which is tucked up against the Old Dorm Block. The U of O has at least four exemplars of it. Oregon State's fine pictures of it, as with almost all plants/trees, is superior to anything on the net. The map is good. There are 25 trees here.
Trees 26 and 28 have been removed (the Map is aware of the former) but there are at least three trees tucked against the South side of the Old Dorm Block that are not identified. They look like magnolias and dogwoods, but I hope that someone identifies them. There is also a tree not identified on the edge of the lawn opposite (to the South of) tree # 1. I think, also, that there is one more Red Maple, to the West of tree # 27, that hasn't been identified. The European Ashes (Fraxinus excelsior) give us the opportunity to differentiate it from other ashes. Why does it always seem to me that the leaves of the Oregon Ash (F. latifolia) are more sickly than the others? Here is the only example of the Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (Alaska-cedar) on campus. The C. nootkatensis has sort of a droopy "habit," as it is called, but it looks like one of those professors in a doctoral robe, whose sleeves are made for someone who weights 3,000 pounds. Here is a pic. There is one "weeping" Alaska-cedar on the U of O campus. I haven't yet seen it, but I am shedding no tears yet. The map, otherwise, is fine. There are about 30 trees here.
Map 23 is special for me because it has two Silver Maples and the campus' only Yellowwood tree. Tree # 4 exists no longer, but the campus already has more than 50 examples of Flowering Japanese Cherries and so the loss wasn't very severe. Speaking of losses, the U of O, which only has a few Yellowwoods, cut down two of theirs (map 106). I will have to learn why they did so on some occasion. Back to Map 23. Tree # 16 is also no longer. The written description of the map is incorrect, or the map is wrong, on one other point. It says that a few steps away from the Yellowwood is Reed's only "bur oak." But then, there is no bur oak listed in the guide. The nearest possible culprit is the Northern Red Oak (# 13. Was the former tree # 16 a bur oak?), but it looked like a Q. rubra, as I recalled. The Oregon State Capitol grounds has a Bur Oak (Q. macrocarpa) which, for some reason, I want to keep spelling "burr." It is like a White Oak, with more rounded leaves.
I love the silver maples because of the delicate and finely-cut leaves. It always reminds me of those Christmas cut-out designs we used to work on as kids. I marvel at the creative hand of nature in so shaping leavs this fine. Just think. We can call it genetics or the impersonal forces of nature, but when we contemplate it for a while we see that it really is quite amazing how there are millions of silver maples around the world, each of which has hundreds of leaves, each of which is shaped in the most intricate fashion. It makes human perfection look like a big blob in comparison. Then, there is the Yellowwood. Maybe I like it because the species name is kentuckea and whenever I see one I start singing "My Old Kentucky Home" (though I skip the verse about the "darkies" because I am a modern educated man). There are about 31 trees here.
Thus, in this section we have 10 + 18+ 35 + 25 + 30+ 31= 149 trees. Running total is about 672 trees.
Two more essays should "finish" our tour of campus.