Make the acquaintance of over 400 species representing 150 genera and sixty families—27,000-plus individual trees growing on central campus. The Encyclopedia of Trees, Shrubs, and Vines is based on Ron Bracewell’s Trees of Stanford and Environs.
Prominent among campus tree enthusiasts was William Russel Dudley, 1849–1911, Stanford’s first professor of botany. Dudley was instrumental in the establishment of Big Basin State Park and Pinnacles National Monument, an advocate for sustainable forestry practices, and a director of the Sierra Club. One of his many interests was California’s coniferous forests, an arboreal wonder of the world for their diversity and grandeur. A fitting memorial to Prof. Dudley is the century-old Santa Lucia Fir growing between Lou Henry Hoover Building and Serra Mall, in the remnant Encina Garden. Dudley made many trips to remote regions of the Santa Lucia Mountains to study and collect specimens of this beautiful and enigmatic tree. Stanford’s Dudley Herbarium has been integrated into the collection of the California Academy of Sciences. Read more about Professor Dudley and Stanford’s rich botanical heritage.
Senator Stanford’s preference was that no healthy oak tree be cut down on the farm, and thousands of native California oaks have been planted from the 1880s up to the present. Today, portions of the campus tree canopy are dominated by coast live oak, the most numerous tree on Stanford University lands. Valley, blue, and black oaks can also be found on central campus, the Academic Preserve, and Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. There has been loss of diversity from the original tree and shrub plantings of the 1880s and 1890s, which is well-documented for conifers. Over the past quarter century there has also been a loss of eucalypt species, from over 125 species present in the early 1970s to fifty-one today. Stanford has had in the past one of the most diverse collections of eucalypts in California and still has some mature specimens of very rare and unique trees. The superb restoration of the Arizona Garden—and its ongoing care and enhancement directed by garden coordinator Christy Smith—emphasizes the potential for a broader restoration of the remaining, intact Arboretum region.
This website honors Ron and Helen Bracewell and the groundskeepers, botanists, university planners and architects, and community volunteers who have contributed over the past century to Leland Stanford’s vision of growing an arboretum at his Palo Alto farm.
Trees.stanford.edu, a SULAIR and Stanford Historical Society digital initiative, was created in 2005 by John Rawlings and originally developed through the support of the Stanford Historical Society and Stanford Grounds Services. It is currently curated and maintained by Sairus Patel and John Rawlings (contact us).
Entries have not been systematically reviewed by botanists or arborists. See sidebar note on right on the update of this site.
This site will be mobile-friendly by the end of 2016!
Recent Tree Walks:
Savoring Stanford’s Trees: A Campus Contemplative Walk
Explore some of campus’s most diverse plant species in and around the main quad, as part of Contemplation by Design Summit week. Open to all. Register for Nov 5 at 10 am, Nov 5 at 1 pm, or Nov 6 at 1 pm. Separate walks led concurrently by Herb Fong and Sairus Patel.
Past Tree Walk Highlight:
Oaks at Stanford: A Review of the Past & Glimpse of the Future with Dave Muffly
June 11, 2016. Join expert arborist and oak specialist Dave Muffly in the Stanford Arboretum as we explore a decade of experimentation with new oak species at Stanford. A variety of new oak species and hybrids have been planted, such as chestnut-leaved oak, Mt. Tabor’s oak, and Palestine oak. They grow alongside native trees both mature and recently planted. This juxtaposition provides a powerful introduction to one of the hottest topics in biosciences today, the question of whether to incorporate climate change adaptivity into our landscape choices. Presented by Canopy.
Pacific Horticulture cover story:
Party with Trees: The dramatic and marvelous trees of Stanford by Devaki Bhaya
“It was serendipity. I bought Trees of Stanford by Ron Bracewell from a used bookstore...”
The Stanford Daily: Classy Classes: Party with Trees in Bio29N (26 Feb 2015)
BIO 29N: “Party with Trees!” Winter 2014–2015 Course website
Past Event Highlight:
Trees of Stanford: A Walk through Time
Oct 10, 2015. Panel discussion with celebrated tree experts:
- Herb Fong Stanford Grounds guru for over 36 years.
- Matt Ritter Author of “A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us.”
- Dave Muffly Senior Arborist for Apple.
Moderated by Sairus Patel. Guided tree walks afterwards. Co-presented by Canopy and the Stanford Historical Society.
We have a new Site Updates page so that you can follow the content and design changes happening on this site. Check back for progress reports. We welcome your feedback and your help in updating the tree locations (contact us).