Japanese Umbrella Tree Graces Arboretum Grounds

Visitors to the Pleasant Hills Arboretum will be pleased to know that we now have another ancient and rare tree growing in the Pleasant Hills Arboretum.  


Several years ago, Becky Peterson, our longtime Pleasant Hills Arboretum board treasurer, shared her wish to have a Japanese umbrella tree planted in the Pleasant Hills Arboretum.  She personally had one growing on her property and so enjoyed the unique nature of this tree that she wanted to share this species with her community.  

Last year, Becky passed away.  Remembering her wish, the Arboretum Board purchased a Japanese umbrella tree to plant in her honor with appreciation for all the contributions she had made to our local Pleasant Hills Community.  She had served faithfully for years on the Arboretum, Library, and Garden Club boards.  

The new young tree is located near and to the right of the Arboretum parking lot.  From a distance, it looks like a small evergreen tree, but up close one can see the unusual features that make it such an interesting and attractive tree.  Instead of needles, it has somewhat flattened leaf-like stems called cladodes that are neither leaves nor needles, yet provide it with the photosynthetic function needed to produce food to help keep it flourishing.  In time, we will have the opportunity to admire its unusual looking cones which will form on its branches. This evergreen species is believed to date back to prehistoric times.

While visiting, you are welcome to eat your sack lunch on our newly purchased picnic bench which is positioned not far from this young memorial tree.  Bring an umbrella if it looks like rain, because this sweet Japanese umbrella tree is too small to keep you dry!

Submitted by Paul Beck
Pleasant Hills Arboretum Board Member
June 25, 2015