Spokane’s city council celebrated Earth Day on April 22 by choosing the city’s official tree. Any guesses?
No, not the Red Alder. They grow like weeds west of the Cascades and would be more apt as Seattle's official tree. (And the City of Seattle arborist told me Seattle does not have an official tree.)
The Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir also are common, but on the soggy side of the state.
Spokane's tree isn't the Western Hemlock, either – that’s the official State Tree of Washington.
So what is it? It’s really not hard to guess: the Ponderosa Pine is now the official tree in Spokane, where they’re plentiful.
Northwest residents know Spokane as the Lilac City, famous for its official flower. Other towns known for their flowers include the Rose City, Portland; Puyallup (daffodils); Mt. Vernon (tulips); and Wenatchee (apple blossoms – not a flower, but renowned blooms nonetheless).
But we're talking trees here. And Spokane chose the hearty, native conifer that thrives east of the Cascades, tolerates drought, and requires little maintenance.
The only snag is that the Ponderosa Pine also is known by several other names, including Western Yellow Pine, Bull Pine, and Blackjack Pine.
But kudos to Spokane for honoring its dominant tree.
Okay, Seattle, you now have one year to designate your own official tree on Earth Day 2015.