Tel Aviv University campus lawns are legendary, but on the occasion of Tu B’Shvat, we thought we’d take a moment to celebrate our many trees.
They paint our campus in a variety of colors throughout the seasons, provide us with shade on hot sunny days and fill our souls with gladness. Our campus wouldn’t have been the same without them, and what better time than Tu B’Shvat to celebrate them? Below are some of the most interesting trees of Tel Aviv University. How many do you recognize?
The Root of the Matter
While most of the trees on campus boast broad, branched out branches, there is one tree that attracts attention for the opposite reason, namely its impressing branched-out roots. This fascinating fig tree (Ficus) ain’t planning on going anywhere – you can find it between the Dan David building and the Library of Exact Sciences, its roots extended with a radius of about five meters across the courtyard.
If you’ve ever visited the secret courtyard behind the building of the Faculty of Engineering during the hot summer months, you may have noticed that the green grass appears to be coverd in soft and airy snow. While it may not be real snow, it is fun to pretend that’s what the seeds from the white silk floss tree (Ceiba insignis) are. When the fruits of the tree ripen, they open up and a swollen crest bursts out – it looks just like a cotton ball – containing small brown seeds that are quickly spread everywhere.
At the beginning of summer, our campus is painted in a fiery red, thanks to the beautiful Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia), also known as ‘flamboyant tree’ or ‘peacock tree’. The trees are a delight to the eye for every passerby, and during this time of the year the lawn in front of the Gilman building becomes a favored destination for avid campus photographers, eager to document the breathtaking blossom from every possible angle.
Pretty in Pink
During spring, the courtyard between the Faculty of Exact Sciences and Dan David is painted pink and feels like a beautiful paradise, thanks to the spectacular flowers of the Bauhinia variegata. As the grass gets sprinkled with pink petals that slowly fall from the trees, the world looks really perfect for a moment, so we highly recommend you to bring your camera and come for a visit in April.
The Tree of Knowledge?
Strange-looking trees are growing in front of the George S. Wise Senate building, with large and impressive flowers and reddish fruits with an intriguing and tropical appearance. What’s the name of this strange tree, you ask? This is none other than a large-flowered magnolia tree, named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol. When its red seeds are exposed from its fruits, a small feathery tail is also revealed, allowing for flight and levitation, reminding us how ingenious and sophisticated nature is.
How many songs do you think have been written about the season of fall? While that was meant as a rhetorical question, if you google “songs about fall”, you’ll get an idea. How is it that, even as the leaves dry out at the end of their life cycle, they are nevertheless so beautiful and inspiring? Get a small taste of European fall on Tel Aviv University campus, as the chestnut trees put on a display in shades of orange and brown next to our law school and the memorial monument of the Dan David building.
The above mentioned trees are only a small selection of the trees of our campus. According to Ilan Sharon, Head of TAU’s Yard Gardening and Maintenance Department, several thousand trees grow here, including pines, almonds, groves, palms and more. And let there be no doubt: We love and appreciate them all.
What is your favorite tree on campus? Give it a big hug, document the moment and tag us on Instagram with hashtag #tau-campus.
Wishing those of you who celebrate a Tu B’Shvat Sameach!