Last week I wrote about the UC Davis Arboretum. 15 minutes north of Davis is Woodland, named by Gertrude Freeman in 1861 for the “wooded country about”.
Two weeks ago we did the landmark trees bike tour that was part of the annual Stroll Through History. Each September Woodland offers tours about historic buildings and has open houses. This historic rich city started their architecture oriented tours in 1989.
The bike tour, a new addition to the event, began at 10 am at City Park on the corner of Oak and Walnut. This is when we got to meet the Paradox walnut and learned about Luther Burbank’s gift to the city on Arbor Day in 1925.
In the late nineteenth century Luther Burbank, the renowned horticulturist and botanist from Santa Rosa, began his controlled crosses between walnuts. The Paradox walnut is a cross between the northern California Black walnut and the Persian walnut. He named it Paradox “because of the extremely fast growth and other ‘anomalies.’” (https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publication/?seqNo115=301125)
In Burbank’s own words:
“As compared with seedlings of either the California or the Persian walnut, they manifested an enormously enhanced capacity for growth. Indeed they sprang forward at such a rate as presently to dwarf their pure breed relatives. The phenomenal growth of these hybrid trees continued year after year. The tree so far out-stripped all competitors in the matter of growth that it might fairly be said to represent a new type of vegetation. On this account, and in recognition of sundry other anomalies, I named them Paradox.” (http://www.lutherburbankonline.com/V2-C5.html) Burbank noted further the curious apple-like fragrance. The wood of the Paradox walnut is extremely hard and close grained, which is a further anomaly since it is such a fast growing tree.
In further research I learned that the Paradox walnut is now the most popular rootstock in California.
Do you know about any landmark trees in your area?
Stroll Through History
Woodland Tree Foundation
USDA Luther Burbank’s contributions to walnuts
Luther Burbank Online – The Royal Walnut