Looking for old trees on Lehigh’s campus

A beautiful spring day at Lehigh University, and many of the trees have sprung-out small leaves. I took a short walk on campus with Michelle Spicer to look for some old trees…and there are plenty of these on Lehigh’s campus.  In fact, many of the larger oaks are well over 200 years old.  However, we wanted to determine if a few particular trees mentioned in a 1934 article in the Brown & White, shown below, were still present.

A 1934 article from the Brown and White that discusses a few of the trees on the campus at that time (Vol. 42 no. 16).

A 1934 article from the Brown and White that discusses a few of the trees on the campus at that time (Vol. 42 no. 16). From the Brown and White archives.

The results….two out of three is not bad.

Photographs of an old white oak tree (>300 years) on the campus of Lehigh University. Note the gnarled base in the righthand image.

Photographs of an old white oak  (>300 years) on the campus of Lehigh University. Note the gnarled base in the righthand image.

Gnarled old oak on the west-end of Christmas-Saucon Hall.  

Yes, now over 300 years old (!), this old giant is still there and doing well. Although I have walked by this white oak (Quercus alba) hundreds of times, I didn’t really take much notice of it. You don’t realize how big it is until you approach it, and the size of its base is a bit concealed by its close proximity to the building.

“Old Man of the Mountain” wild cherry.

Unfortunately, this apparently charismatic and previously well-known tree is no longer around. Wonder when it came down?

An old tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) on the Lehigh University campus, in the plots of land located at the corner of Brodhead and Packer.

An old tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) in the plot of land located at the corner of Brodhead and Packer on the campus of Lehigh University.

Ginkgo tree in the plot of land on the corner of Packer and Brodhead.

Yes, the Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is still there and doing quite well. This area of campus is also one of my favorites, a wonderful park of many large trees – sugar maple, tulip poplar, norway spruce, oaks, and even a Kentucky coffeetree. Many of the trees in this area still have labels (labels are on some trees throughout campus, but quite a few have fallen off).

The plot of land on the corner of Brodhead and Packer - one of the many arbo-gems of the Lehigh University campus.

The plot of land on the corner of Brodhead and Packer – one of the many arbo-gems of the Lehigh University campus.

Addendum, 27 August 2013

Students in EES-152 (Ecology) at Lehigh University were given the 1934 article as part of an introduction to tree identification. They managed to find both the “gnarled oak” and the Ginkgo. Some of the best pictures are below…

The Ginkgo

The “gnarled oak”

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Posted on April 24, 2013, in Ecology (EES-152), Original Posts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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