Campus Canopy: Loyola Arboretum Walking Tour

Loyola has been designated an accredited arboretum by the Morton Register of Arboreta

By Brigid Hamilton | Photos by Brigid Hamilton

Anyone who has spent time on the Evergreen campus will tell you that sitting on the grassy Quad in the shade of giant trees, it’s easy to forget you are just a few miles north of downtown Baltimore.

Loyola was awarded Level I Accreditation as an arboretum through the ArbNet program in December 2013. And thanks to the University’s dedication to nurturing and preserving dozens of tree species on its campus, the Loyola Arboretum is now recognized internationally among other professional public gardens in the Morton Register of Arboreta.

As such, the arboretum collects, grows, and displays trees, shrubs, and other plants for people to study and enjoy, and generally is open to the public for education and inspiration.

Loyola’s 80-acre Evergreen campus boasts more than 2,200 trees that represent 84 varieties, including 33 native species.

“Our mission is to provide a beautiful and sustainable environment for Loyola students, faculty, staff, and visitors,” said Helen Schneider, associate vice president of facilities and campus services. “Maintaining the Loyola Arboretum is an opportunity to preserve the natural aesthetics of our historic campus and enhance its biodiversity.”

The plan for Loyola’s Arboretum began in 1999 with assessments of existing tree conditions, the development of a tree care program, and the labeling of trees. Thirty varieties of trees are signed, with future plans to label at least one of each tree variety on campus.

The arboretum area includes the academic quadrangle and the property surrounding the President’s House, Jesuit residence, and residence halls in the east campus area.

The Quad at the center of the Evergreen campus features a self-guided walking tour, and future plans for the arboretum include the development of a second walking tour surrounding the Fitness and Aquatic Center.

Leaves, bark, and berries

On the east side of campus are the older giants that have long shaded the first-year students’ residence halls, including purple beech and white oak trees.

Purple Beech | Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea'

Purple Beech | Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea'

Purple Beech | Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea'

Purple Beech | Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea'

Both tree varieties produce vibrant foliage in the fall, giving beautiful color to this part of campus.

And students have the white oaks to thank when they crunch over acorns on their walk to class in the fall and winter.

White Oak | Quercus alba

White Oak | Quercus alba

From Hammerman and Butler Halls, stroll up Millbrook Rd. to Arminger (the President’s house) for a view of the many varieties that line the driveway and shade his backyard.

Catalpa | catalpa speciosa

Catalpa | Catalpa speciosa

Also known as the cigar tree, the catalpa’s fruit looks like green string beans hanging from its leaf clusters.

Catalpa | catalpa speciosa

Catalpa | catalpa speciosa

Don’t be fooled: the sweet gum’s leaves may resemble those of a maple tree…

Sweet Gum | Liquidambar styraciflua

But its round, spiky flowers are a dead giveaway this is not a member of the maple family.

Sweet Gum | Liquidambar styraciflua

Father Linnane’s patio stays cool thanks to the leaves of this saucer magnolia. The tree’s blossoms are pinkish-purple outside and white inside, and usually pop just in time for Commencement Exercises.

Saucer Magnolia | Magnolia x soulangeana

The saucer magnolia is actually a hybrid between two Asian species, Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliiflora, and was first cultivated in a French garden near Paris in the early 19th century.

Saucer Magnolia | Magnolia x soulangeana

Crossing Millbrook Rd. and heading to the Quad, you’ll find a mixture of mature monarch trees and trees planted over the past few decades.

The pin oak on the south side of the Alumni Memorial Chapel is over 60 feet tall.

Pin Oak | Quercus palustris

This Kwanzan cherry tree seems to be undercover right now…

Kwanzan Cherry | Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan'

Those familiar with campus might better recognize this tree in the spring, when it gives the statue of St. Ignatius a beautiful pink backdrop. Known as the Japanese flowering cherry tree, the Kwanzan cherry is the showiest of the Japanese trees.

Kwanzan Cherry | Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan'

Also from Japan is this Japanese zelkova, which was planted near Jenkins Hall to shade Jenkins Lot a decade ago.

Japanese Zelkova | Zelkova Serrata

This native American holly just off the brick path near Beatty Hall will have red berries come fall and winter.

An interesting fact about the holly: Both male and female holly plants have white flowers, but only the females have berries.

American Holly | Ilex opaca

Holly has been a symbolic winter decoration for thousands of years, with its origins of use by the Celtic peoples of Northern Europe, who decorated their homes with it during the time of the winter solstice, or Yule. Later, the early Christian Church retained many of the Celtic and Roman traditions in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ: Early Celtic Christians associated the prickly holly leaves with the crown of thorns; the red berries symbolized the blood of Christ.

As one of only 11 arboreta in the state of Maryland on the Morton Register, Loyola hopes to become a designated member of Tree Campus USA and plans to continue to enhance the arboretum to achieve Level II status.

For more information about the Loyola Arboretum, including a complete list of tree varieties and programs, visit loyola.edu/sustainability and arbnet.org.

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