Gold Trail

All Tours
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A self guided walking tour of the diversity of trees found on the West Lafayette Campus, the Gold Trail leads you to trees around the northeast part of campus, which includes the Electrical Engineering Building, Potter Engineering Center, Grissom Hall, Stewart Center, and the Purdue Memorial Union. Trees on any of the Tree Trails can be identified by dark brown wooden post labels.

Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory)

Bitternut hickory earns its name. Squirrels eat the nuts from this tree only after other food sources are exhausted. Bitternut produces a tough, strong lumber and is the most widespread hickory.


Tsuga canadensis (Canadian Hemlock)

Its dense texture makes Canadian hemlock a popular evergreen. It can be pruned as a hedge or allowed to grow to its full height. The bark from this tree was used by Native Americans to make a paste that would draw out venom and act as an antiseptic. This plant is in no way associated with the hemlock poison drunk by the philosopher Socrates.

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Picea omorika (Serbian Spruce)

Serbian spruce is noted for its narrow, upright form. It can grow to 60 feet tall and still have a spread of no more than 15 feet. The dark green needles with two white lines on the lower surface are another prominent feature of this tree.

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Fagus grandifolia (American Beech)

Beech is one of the most distinctive trees of North America. It is notable for its smooth gray bark and spreading crown. Beech has a natural tendency to hollow and rot. This condition is often aggravated by carvings made in the bark by vandals.


Diospyros virginiana (Common Persimmon)

Persimmon occurs in moist bottomlands from Connecticut to Texas. The chunky bark on most persimmon trees resembles alligator skin. Persimmon has little commercial value with one unique exception: its hard, dense wood is highly favored for golf club heads.

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Ulmus × 'Homestead' (Homestead Elm)

The Homestead elm is a relatively new hybrid. It grows rapidly and takes on the vase shape of American elm as it matures. The species is reported to be very resistant to Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis, two diseases that have destroyed most American elms in our area.

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Malus × 'Van Eseltine' (Van Eseltine Flowering Crabapple)

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Quercus × warei 'Long' [sold as Regal Prince®] (Regal Prince Oak)

A cross between columnar English oak and swamp white oak, this tree has glossy green leaves that are mildew resistant. It is noted for its excellent columnar form with a mature size of up to 45 feet high and 18 feet wide.

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Pinus cembra (Swiss Stone Pine)

This pine is a slow grower but holds its pyramidal shape well into maturity. The long, flexible needles grow in groups of five, similar to eastern white pine.

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Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis (Thornless Common Honeylocust)

Native to the central U.S., the honey locust has filled a void left by the deaths of many streetside elms. It has a pleasing form and natural hardiness. Reproduction and dispersement are accomplished by means of a seed pod that drops from the tree during winter. Many seedless varieties are now available.


Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum)

Sweetgum is notable for leaves that are shaped like five-pointed stars during the summer, and for spiny seed-carrying balls that appear in the fall.

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Quercus montana (Chestnut Oak)

Chestnut oak is at home in the Appalachian Mountains. It can be found growing on poor, dry upland sites in pure stands. The bark contains a chemical called tannin, which is used in the preparation of tanned leather.

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Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple)

Trident maple is originally from Japan and was first brought to the U.S. in 1892. An interesting feature is its bark, which naturally peels in patches. This species usually does not grow more than 30 feet tall. The leaves turn to a beautiful combination of orange and red in the fall.


Ilex opaca (American Holly)

This attractive tree displays spiny evergreen leaves and red berries that are used during the Christmas season. It’s one of the few trees that does not produce bark, but instead retains its original outer layer of cells.

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Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium (Pondcypress)

Pondcypress is similar to the common baldcypress but with a more columnar form. As with baldcypress, this tree drops its needles each fall and grows new ones in the spring.

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Pinus sylvestris (Scotch Pine)

Originally from the Scottish Highlands, Scotch pine is the most widely planted tree in the world. It is used extensively for timber and ornamental purposes, and it is extremely popular as a Christmas tree.


Ostrya virginiana (American Hophornbeam)

Due to its small size, ironwood is often excluded from the limelight given to many of its eastern forest companions. Yet the tree decorates the understory with its twisted form and scaly bark. Ironwood is just what the name implies: dense and strong.

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Celtis occidentalis (Common Hackberry)

This relative of the elm with its warty bark grows best in fairly moist soils. A variety of birds including robins, pheasants, and grouse eat its fruit.


Liquidambar styraciflua (Shuttle Gum Group) (American Sweetgum)

This sweetgum tree was germinated in August 1984 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Purdue astronaut Charles Walker of Bedford, Indiana, brought back 200 tiny trees; these recognize Purdue’s many astronauts.


Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye)

The state tree of Ohio, buckeye grows along the streams of the eastern U.S. It is the first tree to leaf out in the spring and the first to drop its leaves in the fall. It produces a hard brown fruit that is highly toxic.


Cornus kousa (Kousa Dogwood)

This species is similar to the flowering dogwood, but it flowers three to four weeks later. Fruits resemble raspberries and are sought after by wildlife. Like the native dogwood, the leaves turn a deep scarlet in the fall.


Chionanthus virginicus (White Fringetree)

The large, white, feathery clusters of flowers are the outstanding feature of this tree. The blossoms can be seen from early April to late May and develop into dark blue, grape-like fruits that attract wildlife. This is a small tree that will grow to be 12 to 20 feet in height with an equal spread.

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Maclura pomifera (Osage-orange)

Osage orange, also called hedgeapple, is native to Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. Midwesterners soon discovered that it would grow anywhere and that it made an excellent livestock hedge. Hedgeapple bears a large, green, apple-like fruit in late summer. Pioneers used this fruit as a pest repellent by storing pieces of it around the foundations of buildings.

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Malus × 'Robinson' (Robinson Flowering Crabapple)

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