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Arbor Day quiz: What is America's national tree?

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Rich Pedroncelli/AP

(Read caption) Arbor Day: A visitor passes a blooming dogwood tree in Capitol Park Sacramento, Calif., April 14.

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Happy Arbor Day! The last Friday in April is when the United States celebrates trees. So, in the name of all things living and wooden, we ask you this question: Do you know what America’s National Tree is?

Did you even know America had a National Tree species?

It’s the oak. Congress gave oaks the US top tree status in 2004, via a vote. So it’s official, the law of the land – just like health-care reform.

Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R) of Virginia and Sen. Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska were the main sponsors of the oak bill. Why them? At the time, Representative Goodlatte was chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Senator Nelson is from the state where Arbor Day got its start.

“The oak tree will now be as much a symbol of America as Thanksgiving Day, Old Glory, the 'Star Spangled Banner,' and the bald eagle,” Nelson said at the time the bill passed.

Hmmm. We’ve seen flags and eagles featured at Super Bowl halftimes, but nary an oak. Have you ever seen a marching band carrying oaks in a July 4 parade? Neither have we.


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