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Many of the unique trees on the University of Arizona campus are the oldest or most stately trees on campus, or are in some way connected with former faculty or University of Arizona heritage. Some were the first to be planted in Tucson or in the territory of Arizona. Others were collected through international travels by UA botanists. A few are the only specimens in Tucson. The Heritage trees represent a very important link to the University of Arizona's status as the only Land Grant institute in the Sonoran Desert.
To ensure their preservation, Heritage trees can be adopted to support expert care for these extraordinary treasures. Supporters help strengthen the University's roots - both figuratively and literally. For the gift of $5000, a supporter may adopt a Heritage Tree. A name plaque will identify the tree and honor the donor and/or a loved one or group. Potential donors may contact the Director to request a tour to view Heritage Tree options available.
1) Acacia willardiana - Palo Blanco. Origin: Sonora. This tree is tucked into "magic alley", a protected walkway south of Old Chem and north of the greenhouses. The largest specimen of this species on campus, this tree was planted as a seedling by Warren Jones during his career as Professor of Landscape Architecture.
2) Acacia xanthophloea - Fever tree. Origin: Africa. The only one of its species on campus, and the biggest in Tucson, this tree is flourishing on the south west side of Cochise Hall. Seeds came from San Diego's Wild Animal Park, germinated at UA Campus Ag Center, tree planted by Warren Jones in 1970's. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, 2003. Sadly, this tree was destroyed by nighttime freezing temperatures of 15F during the winter of 2011. The Desert Legume Program (DELEP) is propagating more seedlings for us to plant this spectacular specimen again on campus in future years.
3) Adansonia sp. - Baobab. Origin: Africa. This large tree graces the SW corner of the Administration Building. Family Bombacaceae. It is the only flowering individual tree of its species in the US, according to a botanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Seeds brought from Madagascar were germinated in Virginia, and the seedling was subsequently held to 15 gallon size at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. It was installed by Warren Jones on campus around 1980. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, 2002 and sponsored on behalf of the University of Arizona's Campus Arboretum's founding Director, Elizabeth Davison. Although severely damaged by record freezes in 2011, the tree is being carefully managed to restore growth and health.
4) Carnegiea gigantea - Saguaro. Origin: Deserts of Southwest United Stated. This special crested saguaro has stood on the grounds of Old Main for decades. The cause of cresting is not fully explained, but whatever the stimulus, the growth point of the stem has switched from a geometric point, to a line, which folds and undulates as the crest expands. Cresting occurs naturally throughout the range of the Saguaro, and can be encountered in many other cactus species. This iconic campus specimen was removed due to internal rot in 2014. Thanks to the generosity of UA Campus Planning and Facilities Management, and with assistance from arborist Juan Barba and Associates, in locating a new crested specimen, the UA Campus Arboretum has replaced this iconic plant with another beautiful and unique desert wonder. It is worth the effort to view it in person!
5) Cassia fistula - Golden Shower Tree. Origin: India. The only representative of the species in Tucson. Located W. of Nugent. This tree was planted by Warren Jones in the late 1980's. After a few cold damages, it has become large enough to withstand Tucson's winters. In summer, the tree drops its leaves, then produces chains of golden orchid-like flowers from its bare branches.
6) Ceiba acuminata - Silk Cotton Tree. Origin: South America. The only individual of its species on campus, this tree is located on the SW corner of the Math Building. With impressive trunk extrusions resembling (but not related to) rose thorns, silk cotton tree is also known for its impressive flowers. These appear in late May, and have long fringe-like stamens. Planted by Warren Jones in 1979, with help from Chuck Raetzman of Facilities Management.
7) Chorisia insignis - Floss Silk Tree. Origin: South America. This bizarre old tree is situated on the south side of Engineering. Reportedly planted in late 40's-early 50's, it delights students with its creamy orchid-like flowers each winter. (A second individual was transplanted to the S. side of Bio West, from a foothills location in 1984.) Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, 2003.
8) Crescentia alata - Calabash Tree. Origin: Central America. One of only three on campus, and by far the largest. No others known in Tucson. Located on the SE side of the Main Library, this tree is unique for its bat pollinated flowers and fruits that develop on the trunk. Seed collected on western coast of Mexico, and small tree planted by Warren Jones, in 1970's, as an experiment. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, spring 2002.
9) Ficus carica - Edible Fig. Origin: Mediterranean. A specimen that, in the 1930s, was on the site of a private home on 5th street where the Franklin Building now stands. In 1959, it was preserved during the construction of the Franklin Building, and stood in the south entrance for 30 more years. In 1989 it was saved, through public support, when Gould Simpson building was erected, and transplanted to its current site by Chuck Raetzman's crew.
10) Ficus insipida - Alamos Fig. Origin: Mexico. Another tree in "magic alley", south of the Old Chem building, this tree is the only one of its species on campus, as well as the only one in Tucson. Another Warren Jones plant, installed there in the protected environment during the 1970's.
11) Ficus petiolaris - Rock Fig. Origin: Baja California. The only one of its species on campus, and the biggest in Tucson. This tree is situated on the SW side of the Main Library. Seed (or seedling) collected in Mexico, cultured at UA Campus Ag Center. Planted in early 1980s by Warren Jones.
12) Fouquieria columnaris - Boojum. Origin: Southern Sonoran Desert (Baja California). The tallest in AZ at 35 feet. Located in the Joseph Wood Krutch Cactus Garden on the main Mall. In response to public support, the Krutch Garden with its collection of rare and valuable boojum trees was included in plans for the Alumni Plaza, completed in fall 2004. The trees were among several planted around 1930, after a collecting trip to Baja California authorized by President Shantz. The large cactus garden was moved from Old Main and filled the Mall area from the late 1920s until the 1950s. Photos from 1932 show the boojums installed on the rock-ringed oval. Related to ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens. Flowers and leaves appear during= the cooler months. Together with several smaller ones, these are the showcase plants of the UA Campus! Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, 2004. This specimen was removed from the garden in 2014 due to internal rot and risk to adjacent plants (and people) in the garden. Thanks to a generous donation by Dr. Richard Weidhopf and other Campus Arboretum donors, and with assistance from Juan Barba & Associates locating a replacement specimen, a wonderful 6.5 foot tall double trunked tree now resides in the garden to mark the heritage of these fascinating plants and our university history in desert horticulture research.
13) Havardia pallens - Tenaza. Origin: Mexico. Located in "magic alley", this tree is the largest of its species on campus. A Sonoran native, it is the biggest in Tucson, and quite possibly in the state of Arizona. Planted by Warren Jones during the 1970's, it has thrived in the warm microclimate next to the Chemistry building.
14) Olea europaea - Olive. Origin: Middle East. All the olive trees on the western part of campus are included as heritage trees. Any olive tree that has a special meaning for the donor may be adopted. The oldest ones are on the N. side of North Campus Drive. Planted by Robert Forbes in the late 1800's, the trees were part of a variety trial for Forbes's investigation of agricultural crops from dry lands around the world, with potential for use in Tucson. In the early years of the 20th century, olives were planted along all walks in the Historic District on the west of campus.
15) Olneya tesota - Ironwood. Origin: Desert Southwest. This slow growing desert species was planted as part of the Campus Arboretum dedication ceremony, in September 2002. The event marked the culmination of the four previous years' efforts toward establishing an arboretum and joining the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. Located SW of Old Main, it is destined to become a long lived representative of the University's origins as the Land Grant Institution in the Sonoran Desert of the Arizona Territory.
17) Pinus ponderosa - Ponderosa pine. Origin: American west. This tree is north of Speech/Hearing Sciences. It was moved to that site in 1971 from its home in a private yard across Speedway Blvd. Grounds Director Chuck Raetzman and his crew supported the rootball with 12" x 12" beams, milled on Mount Lemmon, and "walked" the tree south to its new home. It is undoubtedly the largest of its species in Tucson. In 2014, this plant was correctly identified as a Pinus canariensis. The two species are almost identical with the exception of trunk needles and persistent fascicle sheaths on the P. canariensis.
18) Pistacia chinensis - Chinese Pistache. Origin: Asia. The largest and most vigorous of its species on campus. Located SW of Speech, this elegant tree glows each autumn with copper leaves and red fruit. It has been a fixture in the Historic District of campus since the late 1960's. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, 2004.
19) Platanus occidentalis - American Sycamore - "Moon Tree" Sycamore. Origin: Eastern US. The seed that became this tree went to the moon with the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. Located E of the Kuiper Sciences building, the tree's value and unique history is explained on a plaque installed by the Arizona State Forester in 1976. See more about the Moon Trees at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/moon_tree.html
20) Quercus suber - Cork Oak. Mediterranean. Largest of its species on campus. It was planted on the south side of the Engineering Building prior to 1940. Steve Fazio, former Professor of Plant Sciences, remembers showing his young children the tree in the late 1940s. Alumni who were on campus in the 1960s remember using it as part of a fraternity initiation ceremony. Today students of botany, landscape architecture, ecology, and other sciences learn about the centuries-old technique of sustainably harvesting cork by peeling off the bark. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona in 2004.
21) Quercus virginiana - Southern Live Oak. Origin: Southeastern USA. This dark-leafed, vigorous, spreading tree was planted by former Professor of Horticulture Steve Fazio around 1950. Steve tells how he planted several acorns in the Park Ave. Green Belt area, and this one remains. Undoubtedly it is the largest southern live oak in Tucson. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona, spring 2002.
22) Rhus lancea - African Sumac. Origin: Africa. The large stately tree between Maricopa and Yuma Hall was the first one planted in Tucson. The seeds were collected in North Pretoria, South Africa in 1919 by former President Homer Shantz. After germination in Chico, CA, two seedlings were transported to Arizona: one taken to Boyce Thompson SW Arboretum in Superior, AZ, and the other eventually planted on the UA campus in 1928. Designated a Great Tree of Arizona in 2003.
HERITAGE TREE LOCATIONS ON THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA CAMPUS, TUCSON.