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Penn State Arboretum Plant & Tree Superlatives

Yesterday, we celebrated Earth Day by braving the cold weather and taking a trip to one of the best, brightest, and most peaceful spots on campus — the Arboretum. Can you imagine spending this important occasion anywhere else?

From the vibrant flowers to the green grass to some unique trees and plants, it didn’t take long to be reminded how beautiful and special Mother Nature truly is.

Naturally, in between admiring these different views, we set out to rank some of our favorite plants and trees with various superlatives.

Best Overall Plant

This one takes the crown simply because its warm, yellow hues absolutely scream summer. This is exactly the kind of eye candy everyone in State College needs right now after two days of gloomy, cold weather that forced many to bring out the winter coats.

Worst Overall Plant: The Late Large-Flowered Clematis

Let me start off by saying that I don’t actually like this category because I feel like everything in the Arboretum is beautiful and has something to offer. But since we already ranked the best plant in the Arboretum, it’s only right if we also singled out the worst.

Now, since we’re using the scale of the yellow flowers above, I think it’s somewhat fair to say that the Clematis plant isn’t nearly as appealing. It looks like a pile of (delightful) twigs to me.

The John Harrar Award For Using Height To Your Advantage

These tall trees are hard to miss. Since they tower over the rest of the gardens, you won’t have any trouble finding them regardless of where you choose to walk, sit, or relax in the Arboretum. As such, it’s hard to imagine this space at Penn State without these tall, lanky trees swaying back and forth in sync on a windy day. They are an Arboretum staple.

The Willard Preacher Award For Being A Little Rough Around The Edges: Persian Fritillaries

Much like Penn State’s beloved preacher, these Persian Fritillaries look harmless but could probably pack a punch if you poke the proverbial bear. This plant probably won’t tell you you’re going to hell, though. Probably.

Most Likely To Draw A Cafe 210 West-Like Crowd On A Sunny Day

This one speaks for itself. Look at those tulips.

The Penn State Squirrels Award For Being Absolutely Everywhere

This plant almost uncomfortably seems to be spreading out in every direction. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more it sent chills down my spine because it reminded me of how ruthless the squirrels are at Penn State.

The Beaver Stadium Turf Award For Being Perfectly Green

Just one more reason why we can’t wait to get back in the best stadium on Earth.

Most Unique

The Freshmen-Wearing-A-Lanyard Award For Standing Out

If you’re part of the Class of 2024, we can swap out the lanyard part with a reference to the infamous twerk circle. No, we’ll never let you live that one down.

The Socially Distanced Award For Being 6 Feet Apart

Practicing pandemic-era safety before it was cool.

The Anna Camden Award For Rocking Pink Highlights

The HERE Award For Blocking A Damn Good View

The Matt DiSanto Post-Quarantine Award For Desperately Needing A Haircut

Our managing editor hasn’t cut his hair in almost 15 months and still blames it on the pandemic. This tree is arguably more put-together than he is.

The Pollock Testing Center Award For Making You Cry: Ornamental Onion

We’ve all been there.

Most Colorful


Happy (belated) Earth Day, Penn State! Make sure to keep taking care of Mother Earth so future generations can enjoy the Arboretum, too.

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About the Author

Rory Pelella

Rory is a senior from Binghamton, New York majoring in Spanish and journalism. She's been bleeding blue and white ever since her older siblings decided to create a family dynasty in Happy Valley in 2006. So, as you can imagine, she loves absolutely everything Penn State (especially the Cheese Shoppe downtown). She's also a die-hard Yankees, Knicks, and Giants fan (it's brutal), and would do anything for a good old fashioned New York slice. Feel free to email her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @rorypelella.

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