MU debuts new tree species

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COLUMBIA- The University of Missouri celebrated 175 years Thursday by debuting a rare tree called the Buck's Unlimited Oak on campus.

The oak became the last of 175 trees planted as part of Mizzou's 175th anniversary celebration.

The event at Peace Park began with speeches about the benefits of tree planting for the university and how it will help the university grow. The speeches were followed by the unveiling of a plaque and a ceremonial mulching of the tree.

The tree is unique because it is able to begin producing acorns after only five years  of growth. This acorn production would take about 15 years longer to occur in similar trees.

The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri developed this species of tree and licensed it to Forrest Keeling Nursery of Elsberry.

Department Director Shibu Jose said the university decided to use tree planting to celebrate the 175th anniversary because trees best represent the university.

"Trees symbolize life, and growth and potential to grow and although we have finished 175 years, it is an exciting time for growth, for us, for this campus, and this tree, I believe, represents what we have accomplished as a university and what it can, as its potential," he said.

A spokesman for the university said even though this tree completed the 175 to celebrate the anniversary, it does not mark the end of new trees during the current planting season.