Tag Archives: catalpa

Autumn Scenes And Miscellany

I wanted to share a few more details from a recent walk, the day after Thanksgiving, on the nearby UNC Chapel Hill campus.

Native to eastern United States, this Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana (American Beech) will keep its leaves until spring. The bark of this tree is heavily scarred from numerous inscription carvings.

Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana (American Beech)-Coker Arboretum

A squirrel sat in front of a large burl on a Catalpa waiting for me to pass. Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa) is native to central United States. Its fruit is a long cigar-shaped pod about 8-15 inches and a common name for this tree is cigar tree.

Squirrel In Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa)

A London Connection

For eighty years London’s Westminster clock tower (Big Ben) was home to three sculptures that are now installed on the south exterior wall of Person Hall on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. In 1933 two gargoyles and a statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, were being removed due to weather corrosion when they were noticed and subsequently acquired for UNC by Katherine Pendleton Arrington.

Big Ben Gargoyle, installed at Person Hall, UNC Chapel Hill

Gargoyle at Person Hall

Statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Person Hall, UNC Chapel HIll

Person Hall is used now for practice studios for the Music Department, but originally served students as a chapel. When the statues were first added here the building was an art museum. The statues overlook a small garden and bench. Read more about this London connection.

Statue of Stephen Langton, 13th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Person Hall, UNC Chapel HIll

Davie Poplar

The University is 219 years old but one of its famous landmarks is estimated to be 300-375 years old. Davie Poplar is a Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar) and was named after Revolutionary War General, William R. Davie.

The tree was damaged by Hurricane Fran in 1996, but there is a grafting from 1918, known as Davie Poplar Jr., as well as a Davie Poplar III, planted from a seed from the original tree.

UNC’s Davie Poplar, center. Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar)

Autumn At Last

A final image from our post-Thanksgiving campus walk shows shelf mushrooms at the base of another large tree—interesting to see but apparently a sign the tree is in serious decay.

Shelf Mushroom, McCorkle Place

The lawn and sidewalks of the McCorkle Place were covered in multicolored leaves on this day. Someone will gather them up soon, no doubt, but our walk was made much more exciting by hearing the heavy rustle of leaves underfoot. It did seem like autumn at last.