Friday, August 11, 2006

National Champion Catalpa Cut Down

The largest Catalpa tree in America is being cut down this week in Walla Walla. I've walked past this impressive and well-loved tree many, many times and am saddened to see that yet another old tree on campus has been axed. It had a rotten core they say.

Reports from ground zero last night said that someone had left flowers.

The catalpa takes its name from a Cherokee word that means bean tree, and I can see why. The tree produces seed pods that look like giant spring beans. It also flowers in the spring.

The tree measured 22 feet in circumference and was 79 feet tall.


Writer Chica said...

This is so sad. I love catalpas. Two lived in my yard when I was in middle school. The biggest one fell over during a thunderstorm one year, probably hit by lightning. The smaller one had two large trunks in the shape of a 'V'. There is a picture of me standing in the 'V'. My sister and I loved opening up the big pods. It was a very majestic tree. I don't see them very often anymore.

Alasdair said...

and it had about 5.3 million leaves, which I raked numerous times during my stay in the house pictured here. It was, truly, a fabulous tree.

Like writer chica, I got to see a lot of these trees when I was small, as at least one lay twixt my house and the nearby park. I liked playing with the pods, too, though I have to admit I never opened them.

A friend said he half-expected one of the local tree advocates to chain herself to the tree to keep it from being removed.

As you can see, though, the rotten area - which an arborist said likely resulted from an injury suffered in the 1950s or 1960s - could easily give shelter to a person or three.

I think the town might be lucky that the tree didn't take anybody with it...

Rock said...

One of the more interesting blogs I've seen. Good work.

Truth—The No Spin Politically Incorrect Zone

An idiot said...

I didn't know there was a tree of this significance in Walla Walla. I am sad when historical sites/items (which I include significant trees) are lost for whatever reason. It reminds me of when the Wye Oak, not far from where I live, fell in 2002 after a thunderstorm. The tree was well over 400 years old and had a state park designated for it. It too was a National Champion, but of White Oaks.

Nutbuk Ug Bulpin said...

Poor Tree! I don't really know why people cut down 'historical trees' that somehow been part of childhood memories of many people. If it were my tree, I'll keep it until nature takes its course.