Art Cronquist's Tree: Japanese Wingnut

By Nicole Tarnowsky

Jun 13 2019

Recently walking on the NYBG grounds on a lovely spring day just north of the lilac collection, I noticed a tree I had never paid much attention to before. It had beautiful inflorescences, flowers dangling down like fancy earrings, each one bright green and with interesting wings. I stepped in to take a closer look and noticed a plaque at the base of the tree. It is a Japanese Wingnut, and had been dedicated to Arthur Cronquist in 1990. 

It is no wonder that the Garden dedicated a tree to one of our most beloved curators to work here, Arthur Cronquist's legacy is large. At 6 feet 6 inches, his presence was felt figuratively and literally, in the herbarium and the entire botanical community. I've heard many stories about Cronquist's larger than life personality, how he would sing and whistle constantly, bringing smiles to everyone around him. He was an excellent teacher, often holding court for impromptu botany discussions while his students sat riveted around him. His contributions to the botanical community are also large. Along with Henry Gleason, Cronquist wrote the Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, used by generations of botany students to learn the local flora. He revised the entire botanical system of classification, much of our filing system in the herbarium is still based on the Cronquist System. 

Check out more info about this tree in the Garden Navigator.

A Closer Look