The Littleman Tree Walk
Mr. Lemuel Littleman was a groundskeeper at Northern Arizona University (NAU) from 1947-1983. ‘The Littleman Tree Walk’ was named after him and on this walk there are 14 different trees that he planted, of which two of them are fruit trees (Figure 1). This walk starts at the south entrance to the North Union and ends in front of the Biological Science building. This walk is about 0.5 miles. Mr. Lemuel planted these trees because they provided shade, pretty flowers in the spring, and also the benefit of having fruit which can be harvested during its season. During the times of the Great Depression, most of the food NAU students ate was grown locally. At this time, NAU was called Arizona State Teachers College and it even had its own barn where poultry and beef was raised. With this said, during the fruits peak season, it provided the students at the time with free fruit (“The Littleman Tree Walk”, n.d.).
The domestic apple tree (point #5 on Figure 1) has the latin name of malus pumila. This type of tree grows in almost every Western climate and the type of apples that grow on it are typically yellowish green in color and taste very tart. This apple is a hybrid of four species: Malus sylvestris, M. pumila, M. dasyphylla, and M. sieversii. These species are found in cool temperatures in Europe and Central Asia, but it is unknown where the domestication came from. Interesting enough, there are remains of these apples that have been dated all the way back to the New Stone Age, which dates from 9,000 B.C. to around 3,000 B.C, meaning that these species of apples have been eaten and harvested for thousands of years! The earliest record of apple domestication dates to 1,000 B.C. in Israel (“DOMESTIC APPLE”, n.d.).
The flowering plum (point #6 on Figure 1) has the latin name of prunus spp. Some of the trees of this variation have been used for their fruits, but other varieties have been developed for their flowers. This tree is a native of Europe and Western Asia. It was introduced into North America by French and British colonists. Though it is found in Flagstaff, these trees are mainly found in the Eastern states and in Ohio. If the tree does in fact develop fruit, the plums are typically eaten fresh or harvested to make jelly (“Flowering Plum”, n.d.).
Figure 2: Taken from Northern Arizona University ‘The Wommack Tree Walk’ Arboretum website
The Wommack Tree Walk
This walk is named after Dr. Donald Wommack who was a forestry professor at NAU from 1968-1999. He collected many plants from around the world and some of the original plants he collected were moved/planted to the NAU campus, which are listed as numbers 1-19 on this walk (Figure 2). This walk starts at the northeastern corner of Blome Building and goes to the Eastburn Education Center and it is around 0.5 miles (“The Wommack Tree Walk”, n.d.).
There is a peach tree on campus (point #2 on Figure 2), which has the latin name of prunus persica, and it is a very old variety. It has white flesh and it is believed that it may even be the Hopi Peach. When the Hopi people cultivated this fruit, they saw it as a spiritual introduction. The Spanish people had introduced this to the Americas over 400 years ago. With this said, it is believed that these peaches were introduced to the Spanish people thousands of years ago by China, which was introduced to China through the Middle East, Europe, and more specifically, Italy. Most of the peaches that we eat today are derived from the yellow flesh variety called ‘Elberta’ (“PEACH”, n.d.).
The crab apple tree (point #17 on Figure 2) has the latin name Malus spp., in which there are five species of these apples that are native to North America. Crab apples are very easy to grow, so they were planted in the 1950’s in Flagstaff. The School of Hotel Restaurant Management used to be the home of the University’s President where there were many crab apples planted (“CRAB APPLE”, n.d.).
The black cherry tree has the latin name prunus serotina (point #18 on Figure 2). There are four species of prunus that are native to Arizona which are: bitter cherry, desert almond, and two species of chokecherry. Cherry trees are very common in Flagstaff and occasionally are harvested their fruit when available.
BLACK CHERRY. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www7.nau.edu/arboretum/Womack/black_cherry.html
CRAB APPLE. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www7.nau.edu/arboretum/Womack/crab_apple.html
DOMESTIC APPLE. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www7.nau.edu/arboretum/Littleman/domestic_apple.html
Flowering Plum. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www.oplin.org/tree/fact pages/plum_flowering/plum_flowering.html
PEACH. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www7.nau.edu/arboretum/Womack/peach.html
The Littleman Tree Walk. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2019, from http://www7.nau.edu/arboretum/Littleman/littleman.html
The Wommack Tree Walk. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www7.nau.edu/arboretum/Womack/wommack.html