Celebrating a Year of Magnificent Trees

Purdue University Press spoke with author Carroll D. Ritter about the one-year anniversary (in March) of his book, Magnificent Trees of Indiana, a beautiful and engaging gift for nature and tree-lovers any day of the year, as well as an inspiring way to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day.

Q: Could you give a brief description of your book?

Magnificent Trees of Indiana features our grand champion trees, remaining old-growth woods parcels, trees of exceptional beauty, and uses of trees for people.

Q: What is the goal of your book? What motivated you to write it?

The book is intended to provide a readable and enjoyable look at some of our largest specimens of many species, while weaving in biological interrelationships, trees of unusual or unique character, and how trees benefit the needs of people. The motivation to write this book came from a lifelong appreciation of the values and beauty of trees.

Q: What are some experiences you’ve had because of your book?

Meeting with so many folks across Indiana who love their champion trees was amazing. In fact, travels to gather photos for these marvelous specimens took me across the entire state and provided a look at the landscape diversity that is often not appreciated.

Q: Is there anything you wish you could add to your book or that you would do differently now?

Probably the only changes I would make at this time would be adding any additional specimens that weren’t originally included. Certain old trees that were record holders had just died or were in their last years.

Q: Is there anything that shocked or surprised you while working on this project?

It didn’t really surprise me so much, but readers were surprised by the trees they never knew about at all, especially some of the many diverse oak species, like cherrybark, swamp chestnut, and others. Many readers didn’t know much about hybrids or unusual trees. Overall, we hope that many things were learned from the book. While it wasn’t intended to be another tree identification guide, it added a new good read about the wonders of our Indiana trees.

You can get 30% off Magnificent Trees of Indiana and any other Purdue University Press book by ordering from our website and using the code PURDUE30 at checkout.