Blooms at Barnard: A Scavenger Hunt

I don’t know if you (and/or your allergies) have noticed, but a lot of things have been blooming on campus this week. A big part of being well is being in touch with your surroundings, and, for me at least, nerding out about all living things. So I’ve put together this little scavenger hunt, from easiest to hardest, of some of the usual suspects around campus.



As promised , easiest first. This confection of a tree is like cotton candy for your eyes. Our’s at Barnard is basically an unofficial mascot. Still haven’t found it? Hint: take out a library book.

Our magnolia is a Magnolia × soulangeana, or a saucer magnolia. It’s a hybrid from France, and the first tree bloomed in 1826. This article explains the history of Barnard’s magnolia.



These babies seem to have been recently planted at Barnard, and already they’re opening up super wide and stretching. Whoever planted these, mad props, cause I love this kind of tulip. It almost looks like a poppy.

Tulips have long been prized for their exceptional beauty. There was a time in Holland, known as tulip frenzy, when tulips were so valuable, they were used as a kind of currency. If you want to learn more about that, I recommend Michael Pollen’s Botany of Desire.



Look at that daffodil diversity shot! Kind of ironic, cause usually huge bunches of the same species of daffodil are planted all together. These flowers are named after Narcissus, that guy at Ovid wrote about in metamorphoses who was so freaking hot, when he caught a glimpse of himself in a brook, he couldn’t tear himself away. Poor guy, he starved to death and ultimately drowned in his own image. The gods took pity on him (probably cause he was so shmexy) and turned him into one of these pretty flowers!

Bradford Pear Tree (Semen Tree)


Here’s another one you might see around. I’m not sure if we have one on campus, but they’re definitely in Morningside Heights. Bradford pear trees make these darling little white flowers that seems to have whiskers poking out of them.

You may be asking yourself why I called it a semen tree. Well, according to some olfactory sensibilities, that’s what these trees reek of. Go figure.

Mountain Laurel


Now this one is a bonus–I’m not sure we have any of these. This is my guess of what some of those small flowering bushes are. If you find one, go spend a second with it because seriously, it’s gorgeous, what with those little delicate star-shaped flowers. But don’t get too close–every part of the plant is poisonous (if ingested, you can touch it).

Ok, now all you have to do is get outside and start hunting!



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