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Katsura Tree (1967)

This Katsura tree, or Cercidiphyllum japonicum, has long been an enchanting spectical of the garden. Planted by Professor William Beal himself, the history of this tree is unconfirmed, but presumably fascinating. The full story is available as part of our walking Tree tour found here: The Beal Katsura | Michigan State University 

The story goes into the late 1800s, a professor from MAC (Michigan Agricultural College, MSU’s name at the time) was invited to Japan to create a western style dairy. That professor sent back seeds native to Japan, including one for this tree, which was planted by Professor Beal himself.

Since then the tree has served as a focal point of pride and beauty in the garden. Countless photos have been taken under it, including the wedding photos of former Beal Botanical Garden curator Dr. Donnelly.

Throughout it’s 100 plus years of life in this garden, this tree has witnessed much: 3 university name changes, over 16 university presidents, 10 curators, and hundreds of thousands of students (648,000 degrees since 1860) and continues to thrive.