Colleen and Erin Marlatt

About Colleen and Erin Marlatt

A kousa dogwood is dedicated to Colleen P. Marlatt and Erin P. Marlatt, two University of Maryland students that passed away due to the tornado that hit Prince George’s and Howard Counties on September 24, 2001. Colleen Marlatt, at the time a senior environmental science and communications major, and Erin Marlatt, a sophomore sociology major, were on their way home from the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute where their father, Patrick Marlatt, worked, when the tornado picked up their car. The two sisters were known to be best friends, so much that their mother, Patricia Marlatt, remarked “...Colleen would have never left Erin. … It's a blessing that the two of them are together.”1 Colleen and Erin are buried in the Saint Louis Parish Cemetery in Clarksville, Howard County, MD. The Colleen and Erin Marlatt Scholarship Fund was set up in their memory in 2002, which supports the high school and college education of the children of Catholic school teachers and administrators.2

About the Kousa Dogwood

The tree planted in memory of Colleen and Erin Marlatt is located between La Plata Beach and Cumberland Hall. It is a kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa), a small, deciduous flowering tree. Although it is currently only 1.8 inches in diameter and 7.0 feet tall, it can grow up to 30 feet tall. The kousa dogwood has a native range in Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan and features a characteristic brown and tan camouflage pattern on its trunk of exfoliating bark. It flowers from May to June, with four white, pointed petal-like bracts, which are modified leaves that are commonly referred to as the flower portion. However, the true flower is small and yellowish-green and housed in the center of the bracts.3 The kousa dogwood produces pinkish-red fruit - you may be lucky to see some songbirds around the tree in the summer that are attracted to the fruit! The tree grows in a rounded shape with dark green, oval-shaped leaves that turn beautiful shades of purple and scarlet in the fall.4

 

Written by Joanna Barton, Memorial Tree Intern

 

  1. https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2001-09-26-0109260160-story.html
  2. https://www.colleenanderin.org/
  3. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=j910
  4. https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=830