The purple blooms of this champion royal paulownia tree emerge each spring outside an Indiana high school where it continually grows and inspires. Native to China, the tree was planted in Midwest America in 1926 to commemorate both the completion of Reitz Memorial High School, a catholic school, and to honor the community's first priest. Each year, graduating classes take their class photo beneath this tree's stately limbs.
Over the years, this tree has gotten by with a little help from its friends at Davey, who ensured it lived on thanks to cables and braces after storm damage in the 1990s.
For 75 years, American Forests has identified the country’s largest native trees in order to preserve them and educate the public about their importance. To celebrate, and mark Davey’s 25th year partnering with American Forests, the 2015 National Big Tree Program Calendar features special champion trees from across the country, including Reitz Memorial High School's champion royal paulownia.