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Trees of Locust Walk

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Locust Walk, the mile-long vibrant pedestrian spine of the campus, connects Penn Park on the east to Hamilton Village and 40th street on the west, and is considered among the most quintessential features of life at Penn. The 3600 block of Locust Street was closed to traffic in 1962, paving the way for a pedestrianized Locust Walk through 40th St, and insulating much of the campus interior from the surrounding vehicular traffic. Landscape architect George Patton’s distinctive design of granite and brick pavers introduced a new design standard throughout campus. Many of the original street trees, including mature London planes and zelkovas, contribute to the historic character and tranquil beauty of the space.

swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)

Swamp white oak is a medium-sized tree native to northeastern mixed forests and lowlands. Though they usually grow in swamps and along streambeds in the wild, swamp white oaks are surprisingly drought tolerant, making them good candidates for urban plantings.

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Jefferson elm (Ulmus americana 'Jefferson')

A descendant of the original ‘Jefferson’ elm that still stands on the National Mall in Washington, DC, the ‘Jefferson’ elm is a true American elm, not a hybrid or a cultivar. It was selected out of thousands of other elms to be planted because of this particular tree’s genetic resistance to Dutch elm disease - a genetic anomaly with a probability of only 0.001%.

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red oak (Quercus rubra)

The red oak is among the stateliest, most adaptable, and useful trees native to North American forests. Growing rapidly in a variety of climactic and soil conditions, red oaks reach large heights of up to 90 feet with spreading branches and a broad, rounded crown.

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Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Japanese zelkovas are medium-sized trees with an attractive, vase-shaped crown, fine-textured foliage, and exfoliating bark. On older specimens like this one, patches of bark peel away to expose a mottling of orange and cinnamon tones.

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sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

Sweetbay magnolias are small, graceful trees with smooth bark and beautifully fragrant, white flowers opening in late spring. In fall, these trees produce aggregates fruit containing red seeds, an important food source for migrating songbirds.

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sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima)

Sawtooth oak, native to China, Japan, Korea, and the Himalayas, is a large, durable shade tree with a wide, spreading canopy. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil and climate conditions, and turns a brilliant yellow in the fall, keeping its leaves long after other trees have lost theirs.

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black oak (Quercus velutina)

Black oak is a major part of mixed-oak forests throughout the Eastern United States. It is an important food and habitat source for a variety of animals, particularly woodpeckers.

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American yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)

American yellowwood is a medium-sized ornamental tree native to North American forests. In June, yellowwoods are covered in 15-inch long racemes of fragrant white, pea-like flowers resembling those of wisteria. The tree is low-branching, forming a mounded crown, and has attractively slender, zig-zag shaped twigs.

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basswood (Tilia americana)

American linden, also known as American basswood, is a wonderful deciduous shade tree reaching heights of up to 80 feet. This native species is recognizable by its heart-shaped (cordate) leaves and fragrant, pale yellow flowers which appear in late spring.

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London planetree (Platanus × hispanica)

Discovered to be one of the most resilient urban street trees in 19th and 20th century Philadelphia, London Planes are planted in many locations across campus, particularly along Locust Walk.

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white ash (Fraxinus americana)

These beautiful trees, with their furrowed bark and spreading canopies, comprise up to a quarter of public trees in many American cities, and are prevalent throughout natural areas, totaling around seven billion ash trees throughout North America. However, ashes are threated by an exotic beetle, the emerald ash borer, necessitating Penn's urban forestry consultants to create a long-term management plan to ensure that our valuable ashes remain healthy.

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