Frederick Law Olmsted | A Passion for Parks, National Geographic: Sculptural Beech Tree

Large, old tree with full, green canopy in the forest in summer.

A mighty, old beech tree creates a sculptural point in the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston. The park-like setting was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and is the second largest link the Emerald Necklace, a series of parks. Founded in 1872, the arboretum today encompasses 265 acres, and has collection areas delineated by family and genus that are tributes to the natural world.

Smooth gray bark is a highlight of the impressive beech tree although the European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) has a trunk that resembles elephant hide. Some trees in the beech collection were probably planted in the early 1800s. There are 14,900 individual plants with a particular emphasis on North American and east Asian Species. The Arboretum is a Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark.

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