Trees on the Yale Nature Walk

Tree ID: 27
Date of tree entry: April 21, 2016
This tree not only has an English and Latin name but also a Japanese name: koyamaki. In an area in Japan known as Mt. Kiso, locals put koyamaki branches on the graves of their loved ones because they believe that these branches can lead spirits back to the land of the living. The koyamaki is a coniferous evergreen that only grows wildly in two areas of Japan. Originally, the tree populated North America, Europe, and Asia but became extinct in Europe during one of the glacial periods. It is known as a living fossil, in that it has inhabited the earth for at least 230 million years. The species has been around since the Jurassic Period, and its image serves as the crest for Prince Hisahito of Akishino, who is third in line to become emperor of Japan. The trees prefer to live in moist, acidic soils in direct sunlight, and they can grow to heights as high as 27 meters. In the United States, however, they typically do not exceed nine meters in height. Often, an individual tree can survive for over one hundred years. These trees tend to be expensive and hard to purchase, since they grow so slowly. The tree is the only member of the sciadopityaceae family.
Tree ID: 51
Date of tree entry: April 20, 2016
This American witch-hazel tree resides in the Grove-Street Cemetary, on the grave of Kingman Brewster, the seventeenth President of Yale University. The tree itself is small, with a short base and a number of stems and branches growing from that point. Its flowers are usually yellow in bloom, but sometimes shade towards orange and red.
Tree ID: 56
Date of tree entry: April 20, 2016
This species of spruce tree is native to the Rocky Mountains. Due to its ornamental value, blue spruce has been introduced to locations far beyond its native range. "Pungens" in Latin refers to the stiff and sharply pointed leaves. This blue spruce sits center-west of Grove Street Cemetary in full sunlight. Its stiff, horizontal branches lend an air of solemnity to the landscape.
Tree ID: 23
Date of tree entry: April 19, 2016
The Dwarf Mountain Pine sits in the Cretaceous Garden adjacent to the Peabody Museum. Though it is a small and easy to miss, do not dismiss this special tree. It produces buds and cones that can be used to make pine syrup for an interesting flare to your saturday morning pancakes. It can be recognized by its height of about the average human knee, its dark green foliage, and needle-like leaves. Often planted in gardens and landscapes for its relatively small size, the tree is native to Southwestern and Central Europe, in habitats of high elevation.
Tree ID: 21
Date of tree entry: April 19, 2016
Several Scotch Pines (also known as Scots Pines) tower majestically over the Cretaceous Garden near the Peabody. These trees are distinct in that they boast bark that is very thick and dark on their lower trunks. However, as one's eyes follow the trunks towards their tops, the Scotch Pine's bark becomes flaky and orange. The longevity of these trees is surpassed by few; often times, these pines will live for 150 to 300 years, with some of the oldest living Scotch Pines being over 760 years. The Scotch Pine makes up a large portion of coniferous forests in the Northern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, this species has become the target of fatal infestations of Pine Wilt Nematodes and is steadily declining. Still, this species of pine is dominant in places like Russia, Eastern Europe, and the continental United States.
Tree ID: 26
Date of tree entry: April 19, 2016
The dawn redwood is a fast growing decidious tree and a true "living fossil," because its fossilized remains were discovered before living plants were found. It dominated forests of the Northern Hemisphere before almost going extinct in the Age of Mammals. It was saved from extinction in the 1940's and can be found today in parks and large gardens at heights of 200 ft tall and up.
Tree ID: 52
Date of tree entry: March 2, 2016
This mighty tree stands tall and proud in the Grove Street Cemetary. The red oak, ever regal, outshines all the trees near it.
Tree ID: 18
Date of tree entry: March 12, 2016
The Gleditsia triacanthos, or honey locust as its commonly called, is a decidious tree native to the central United States. It blooms relatively late in the spring and produces yellow leaves in autumn. The tree gets its name from the sweet, sticky pulp it produces. Alternatively, the tree is known as the "thorny" locust due to the spines or thorns that it bears on wood of its main trunk or the base of its branches. The honey locust has also historically been used for a wide variety of medicinal practices, particularly in Native American culture. Today, the honey locust has a number of applications: its fruit is used in agriculture to feed livestock; its dense wood is used to make furniture and fences; and its unique compounds may have medicinal uses for treating diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. This honey locust is located at the corner of Yale University Science Hill parking lot near the intersection of Whitney Avenue and Bishop Street.


Tree ID: 38
Date of tree entry: March 3, 2016
This 1.78m specimen of Taxus x media is an evergreen with needle-like dark green foliage that sways in the university president's front yard on Hillhouse Avenue. Poisonous if ingested, it is a hardy, spreading conifer that can tolerate a wide range of soil and sun conditions, as well as pruning. This is a hybrid of Taxus cuspidata and Taxus baccata that was first bred in the early 1900s. Although it is slow-growing, it can grow to roughly 5 feet tall by 10 feet wide if left unpruned.
Tree ID: 41
Date of tree entry: March 3, 2016
This ginkgo tree is located in the backyard of President Peter Salovey's house, between Hillhouse and Whitney Avenue. A living fossil, Ginkgo biloba has been found in fossils from as far back as 270 million years ago. The species originated in China and has a history of being used for medicinal purposes. Ginkgo trees are prized in Asia because of their importance in Buddhism and can be found in palace and temple gardens. They are a hearty species and survive well in cities so can also be found in devleoped areas from New York City to Tokyo. Before its foliage has been lost, the tree can be easily recognized by its unique fan-shaped leaves. The foliage turns from green to a golden-yellow color in the fall. Male trees are preferred because female trees produce fruit that emits a foul odor.