The Main Stream

May 13, 2010 1:44 PM

UA touts rare and unique trees

TUCSON - U of A is often bragged on for having a beautiful campus, but what makes it look so good, also makes it rare and special. We're talking about the trees.
The campus is the oldest continually maintained green space in the state.

Sure the UA campus has palm trees and cacti but that's not all. It has olive trees, fruit trees, pine trees and even something called a Bunya-Bunya.

Elizabeth Davison, Director of the UA Campus Arboretum, said each tree has a back story but some are more special than others. She said, "Because citizens can't plant flowering and fruiting olive trees in Pima County because of people's allergies, the flowering and fruiting trees are rare and more important for that reason."

And for some, "rare" is an understatement. Davison said, "We have a tree that's the oldest, largest example of its species in the Western Hemisphere. It's comes from Madagascar and we have the biggest one."

The trees on campus don't just have a historical factor; some of them also have a bit of a weird factor. One tree actually has spikes all over it, making it a fan favorite.

Cristina Ramirez walks by the spiky tree everyday on her way to class. She said, "It's really different. I've never seen a tree like that before I came to the U of A. It's just weird and big and pointy. It has pointy things coming out of it."

Evan LaBranc said, "That's part of the intrigue. This tree is covered in spikes. That's just cool."

Still others are just easy on the eyes, and unless you have allergies, your nose too.

Davison said, "One tree turns bright red in the fall and has little blue berries in the winter and everybody knows it. It's an iconic tree."

Ramirez said, "Looks good and smells good. I love walking down to University Main Gate Square. It smells so good."

Put it all together and officials said you have one heck of a recruiting tool and officials said it's been working for years.

Davison said, "A lot of students tell me they chose the U of A because of the beauty of the campus."

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