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Dunedin Looks to Undo History, Replace Official City Tree

City leaders are repealing Dunedin's official tree of 45 years Thursday to make new designations for the city's tree, bird and flower.

The southern magnolia tree is Dunedin's next city symbol.

So are the osprey and magnolia flower.

Commissioners are repealing Dunedin's official tree of 45 years at Thursday's public meeting to make new designations for the city's official tree, bird and flower.

They're replacing the bauhinia tree after it received criticism in recent years for being a non-native species.

The bauhinia tree was designated the official flowering tree in 1968. It was a citizen group's recommendation as part of a city initiative meant to enhance Dunedin's reputation as a "city of beautiful trees," city records indicate. 

In recent years, the city's volunteer Environmental Quality Committee questioned the bauhinia's official designation because it is not native to Florida.

The flowering tree, recognized by its colorful five-petaled bloom in a variety of colors, including red, pink, purple, orange and yellow, is widely planted in Florida and in many other southern states. It has more than 200 known species, one of which is an exotic invasive, city documents say.

The native southern magnolia was chosen as a suitable replacement for its prevalence throughout Dunedin and its durability, city documents say.

Southern magnolias are evergreens known for their large, fragrant white flower and ability to sustain high winds, salty environments and droughts, city documents say. The trees grow between 60 and 80 feet high and usually bloom in April around Dunedin.

The environmental committee also suggested two other city designations: the magnolia as the official flower and osprey as the official bird.

Community and advisory groups throughout Dunedin support the designations, the city reports. The Bay Bouquet Garden Club suggested the Black Eyed Susan as the only variation.

Residents can attend at Dunedin City Hall or watch the meeting live beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on Dunedin TV (Channel 615 for Bright House customers or Channel 15 for Knology and Verizon customers).

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Jennifer Auletta Lumm April 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Just wondering why the orange tree or orange blossom wasn't chosen. Nothing against magnolia but doesn't the orange tree represent us a little more historically speaking?
Lori April 17, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Agreed Jennifer...But leave it up to Dunedin to make a dumb decision...again
Courtenay Jackson April 17, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Magnolia is too deep south southern to represent the cultural and botanical diversity of Dunedin.
Jennifer Auletta Lumm April 17, 2013 at 08:14 PM
That's right Courtney, we are not the "Deep South" we are the Orange Belt and should be represented accordingly. I'm thinking this will be a meeting worth attending tonight.

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