Concord Academy is lucky to have a variety of beautiful flowering trees on campus. Most trees only bloom for one to two weeks maximum, so make sure to appreciate them before they drop their flowers!
The showiest tree is probably the magnolia near the outdoor archway by the first-floor English classrooms. Unfortunately, this tree bloomed at the end of April and has now leafed. A close second are the Dogwoods (Cornus florida), a tree native to the Northeast area. They can be found outside of Labs and elsewhere around Concord. They have slightly cupped, creamy yellow flowers with four petals and green centers. The flowers are grow out horizontally from bud, expanding parallel to the groud, giving them the appearance that they are floating. Look out for them before they disappear and are replaced by leaves.
Fruit trees like Crabapples (Malus domestica) are known for their stunning flowers. These trees produce clusters of pink and white flowers and can be found planted along streets and growing naturally.
The Red Maples (Acer rubrum) throughout Concord have only recently begun putting out leaves, as have the Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum) and non-native Norway Maples (Acer platanoides). Oak trees, including White Oak (Quercus alba), Red Oak (Quercus rubra), and Black Oak (Quercus velutina), have begun dropping their flowers.
Among deciduous trees, birches take a unique approach to pollination. They produce male and female catkins, which look a bit like caterpillars and release pollen. Birches are wind-pollinated, meaning that gusts of wind and not pollinating animals spread pollen from catkin to catkin. Common birches in Concord include Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), which has white, peeling bark; Grey Birch (Betula populifolia), which has smooth white bark; River Birch (Betula nigra), which has peeling reddish-brown bark as a young tree and rough, dark brown bark when mature; and Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis), which has bronze, shiny bark that peels in horizontal strips.
A beautiful flower we may not see before the summer is that of the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), which blooms in late spring. This tree produces beautiful flowers that resemble tulips, hence the name, and it is actually more closely related to magnolias than poplars.
While deciduous trees are producing flowers and catkins, coniferous trees have been growing cones. The most prominent is Norway Spruce (Picea abies), a very tall non-native spruce tree with eight-to-ten inch, light brown cones that have already fallen. There is a Norway Spruce between the parking circle and the quad. Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris), a shorter non-native pine, has also begun dropping cones. There are a few Scotch Pines at the train station; they have two long, sharp needles per cluster, contrasting the nearby White Pine (Pinus strobus), which has five needles per cluster. White Pines have not yet begun producing cones.
Perhaps the greatest effect of these flowers is the allergies caused by the pollen. The worst culprits are cedars, birches, and oaks, which have all begun releasing pollen. Luckily, most CA’s trees are other species, though they too can cause allergies. Wearing a mask and staying indoors in the morning and evening can reduce your exposure to pollen so you can still get outside and enjoy the beauty of trees in bloom!