Campus Tour: Trees
Trees in many areas of the campus have been marked with brown plastic signs indicating the tree's scientific and common name. A short walk between the Galvin and Reed Hall faculty parking areas will pass by many tree species, including those specifically marked on the map below. Each number on the map represents a different tree species, each described in the following web pages and each physically marked with a brown plastic sign. Additional tree species not specifically shown on the map also have signs and some are described at this web site.
A free brochure that duplicates the contents of this tree identification web site is available from the Communications Office. The brochure includes the walkabout map, tree descriptions,
natural area trail map, and black and white drawings of leaves.
The Ohio Division of forestry has an excellent TREES OF OHIO website with lots of color illustrations.
Walkabout tree location map.
For each tree species on the walkabout map there is a link to a nice color leaf picture and a short description. You can start at the beginning with #1, or you can go directly to a particular tree species.
Crataegus sp. (Hawthorn)
Start your walkabout just outside the northwest door of Galvin Hall where you see to the north several specimens of: Crataegus sp. (Hawthorn). Leaves are simple and alternate and colored dark blue-green. There are many species of Hawthorn in the United States and they hybridize so readily that distinguishing between them is difficult even for an expert. They have been planted all around the campus quadrangle. The autumn berries are directly edible and can be made into jelly or steeped to make a tea.
#2. Honey Locust
Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey Locust)
About half way down the walk between the northwest door to Galvin Hall and the street is a fine specimen of: Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey Locust). Note the massive spines on the trunk. Smaller spines are on most of the branches as well. Leaves are alternate and compound. They have many small leaflets and resemble fern leaves. In the fall brown crescent shaped fruits 6-8 inches long fall to the ground. You can pick them up and shake them to hear their seeds rattle inside like a percussion musical instrument. These trees are very fast growing and very hardy. They tolerate air pollution well and a spineless variety (sometimes called the Moraine Locust) is often planted along city streets where there is a lot of pollution. Such a spineless variety, with an identifying sign, can be found growing out of a hole in the concrete just south of the main west entrance of Galvin Hall.
#3. White Ash
Fraxinus americana (White Ash)
Walk away from Galvin Hall towards the street in front of the building. At the steps down to the street are two nice specimens of: Fraxinus americana (White ash). One tree is male and the other is female, but you can only tell which one is which in the early spring when they bear their unisexual flowers. Leaves are opposite and compound, with 7-9 leaflets. The bark of mature trees is sometimes an ash-gray color (the basis of the common name), has obvious longitudinal ridges and furrows, and is often partially covered with pale green lichens. Lichens are symbiotic associations of algae and fungi. White ash is a very common tree in the campus quadrangle and natural area.
Platanus occidentalis (Sycamore)
Now walk along the street to the place where cars pull up to let people off at the main entrance of Galvin Hall. Across the street at the corner of the parking lot you can see: Platanus occidentalis (Sycamore). You can also see two specimens of this species on the Galvin Hall side of the street growing from a fenced hole in the pavement. This tree has alternate simple leaves that look somewhat like maple leaves. The fruits (unlike maple fruits) are one inch diameter hairy balls. Look at the bark. It has mottled green patches. This is the only large tree in our area with green bark, making it fairly easy to identify even in the winter when there are no leaves on the tree. Sycamores are fast growing and tolerate air pollution quite well.
#5. White Pine
Pinus strobus (White Pine)
Near the Galvin Hall parking lot gates and at the east end of the handicap parking spaces across from the Public Service Building are several specimens of: Pinus strobus (White Pine). This species is characterized by needle like leaves in groups of 5 and is planted or grows naturally in many parts of the eastern United States. It is often used as a Christmas tree.
#6. Canadian Yew
Taxus canadensis (Canadian Yew)
Now walk along the south side of Galvin Hall toward the Technical Education Laboratory. The trimmed bushes adjacent to Galvin are: Taxus canadensis (Canadian yew). Their flat needle like leaves grow all around the branches, but appear to be in two rows. Tree like specimens of this species can be distinguished from spruce because spruce's needle like leaves are round. In the fall yews produce red seeds resembling berries. They are poisonous! The wood was once prized for archery bows becuase it is extremely flexible. Yews today, like those next to Galvin, are commonly planted as ornamental shrubs.
Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye)
Near the ramp that leads down from the pavement to the grassy part of the quadrangle is a specimen of: Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye). A great Univeristy's sports teams are named after this tree and it is the state tree of a great state. Here is an interesting history of the Buckeye name. Everybody in Ohio should know what this tree looks like. The 5 leaflets of its palmately compound leaves resemble leaves of the very common Virginia Creeper, but Virginia Creeper is a vine. Another species of the genus, the Horse Chestnut, has nearly identical leaves except that they are bigger. Buckeyes are the first trees to leaf out in the spring and the first to drop their leaves in the fall. Their smooth shiny seeds are characteristic and fun to play with. Don't eat them! they are poisonous.
#8. Hop Hornbeam, Ironwood
Ostrya virginiana (Hop Hornbeam, or Ironwood)
Continue around Galvin to the back door that opens into a walkway between galvin and the main entrance to the Technical Education Laboratory. On either side of this walkway just outside of Galvin you will see: Ostrya virginiana (Hop Hornbeam, a.k.a. ironwood). Leaves are alternate and simple. The bark of this species is characteristic and easily recognizable, even in the winter. There are narrow flat peeling strips of bark, each less than 1 inch across and a few inches in length. The wood of this species is denser (i.e. a cubic foot weighs more) than the wood of any other tree species that grows in Ohio. The wood is very hard and strong. So, if the wood of this tree is so fantastically strong then why have you never heard of hop hornbeam wood? Why does this tree have almost no commercial use? Because the species never gets very big. These trees have shallow root systems. They grow tall and straight and then fall over. The specimens behind Galvin Hall have trunks about as big in diameter as this species ever gets.
#9. Shagbark Hickory
Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)
About half way between Galvin and the main entrance of the Technical Education Laboratory growing in a break in the pavement surrounded by shrubs is a nice specimen of: Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory). The long peeling strips of bark are very characteristic, so much so that most folks can identify this tree from the car at 55 mph in the winter with no leaves on the tree. The leaf specimen shown here is rather small. The compound leaves with 5 leaflets are commonly 8-14 inches (20-35 cm) long. The nuts can be gathered in the fall, cracked, and the center extracted and eaten. This is a very common tree on campus.
#10. Swamp White Oak
Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak)
Walking along the front of the Technical Education Laboratory towards Cook Hall you see directly in front of TEL some specimens of: Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak). The species name is based on the leaves, which are dark lustrous green on top and pale underneath. All members of the White Oak group, including this species, have somewhat lobed rather than sharp spiny leaf tips.
#11. Slippery Elm
Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm)
In the group of trees between the Technical Education Laboratory and Cook Hall you can see from the pavement several examples of: Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm). Elm leaves are usually not bilaterally symmetrical, meaning that they do not have mirror image right and left sides. This species has leaves that have a very rough texture. Slippery elm is less affected by Dutch Elm Disease than is the once common American Elm.
#12. Cottonwood, or Eastern Poplar
Populus deltoides (Cottonwood, or Eastern Poplar)
Now walk in the grass along the library (north) side of Cook Hall. In the grove of trees separating Cook and TEL you can find: Populus deltoides (Cottonwood, or Eastern Poplar). Leaves are alternate and simple. The triangular shaped leaves with slightly lobed margins and flattened leaf stalks are characteristic. This tree is common in early stages of biological succession near beaches, bodies of water, and in disturbed areas. It is called "cottonwood" because of its fluffy white seeds. When the seeds are scattered by the wind in June they can resemble a showfall as they fly around. These trees grow very rapidly and have light soft wood.
#13. American Beech
Fagus grandiflora (American Beech)
Continuing back along the north side of Cook Hall you will find, standing all by itself, a beautiful specimen of: Fagus grandiflora (American Beech). This is another tree that can be recognized from the car at 55 mph because of its distinctive bark. The bark is light gray and smooth, showing the impressions of the lenticels, leaf scars, and terminal bud scale scars that were on the surface many years ago when the trunk was just a little leafy twig. Very few tree species show these twig surface features on old branches and trunks. Leaves are alternate and simple, with very prominant straight lateral veins.
#14. Bur Oak
Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)
Returning to the main entrance of Cook Hall, outside the Library, you can find growing from a fenced hole in the pavement: Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak). The smoothly rounded lobed leaves of this tree are characterized by very deep indentations, sometimes almost all the way to the central vein of the leaf. This tree is very common on campus.
#15. Austrian Red Pine
Pinus nigra (Austrian Red Pine)
At the southwest corner of the grassy part of the campus quadrangle in front of Cook Hall, where the pavement drops down to the grass, are several specimens of: Pinus nigra (Austrian Red Pine). This species has VERY long needle shaped leaves in groups of 2, sometimes 6 inches (15 cm) in length. I have no idea why it is called the "red" pine, since it doesn't have much obvious red coloration.
#16. Red Maple
Acer rubrum (Red Maple)
Near the quadrangle entrance to Reed Hall, as well as along the east and south sides of Reed Hall, are several: Acer rubrum (Red Maple). Unlike the sugar maple, which is the most common tree in the campus's Tecumseh Natoral Area and always has leaves with 5 lobes, leaves of the red maple have either 3 or 5 lobes. Leaf stalks are often bright red as are the ends of overwintering twigs.
#17. Eastern Redbud
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
Walk into Reed Halll from the quadrangle and out the other (south) side. Just outside the south entrance immediately adjacent to the entrance is an unusual specimen of: Cercus canadensis (Eastern Redbud). This small tree species has shiny thick leathery heart shaped leaves which are simple and alternate. These trees normally grow along the edges of forests and produce lots of pink flowers in the spring before leaves appear. The Cook Hall specimen is unusual in that it produces white flowers.
#18. Tulip Tree
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree)
Also near the south Reed Hall entrance you can find a tree with unusual flowers and a rhythmic sounding scientific name: Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree, or Yellow Poplar). Leaves of this tree are simple, alternate, and each have 4 lobes with a deep notch near the tip. The late summer flowers look very much like tulips with green and/or orange petals.
#19. Scotch Pine
Pinus sylvestrus (Scotch Pine)
Walking along the south side of Reed Hall toward the student parking lot, before you come to the parking gates you will see several: Pinus sylvestrus (Scotch Pine). This species has short 1-3 inch (2.5-8 cm) long needle leaves in groups of two. The needles are somewhat twisted. The bark is often bright orange, darkening somewhat with age. This species is native to Scotland and northern Europe across to Siberia. In the Scottish Caledonian Islands where it is native, mature trees can be 250 years old. It has been widely planted in the United States as an ornamental or windbreak and is sometimes used as a Christmas tree.