Ratcliff, Calliope “Poppy”

About Calliope Ratcliff

A cedar is dedicated to Calliope “Poppy” Ratcliff, who was the Executive Secretary to the founding Dean of the School of Architecture. She then served as one of his successors from 1965 to around 1980. In the words of Professor Ralph Bennett, a close friend and coworker of Ms. Ratcliff, “In a day when administration was lean, and the School was new, she was central to the lives of everyone in the School and greatly loved.” Ms. Ratcliff currently lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband Bob.1

About the Cedar of Lebanon

The tree dedicated to Calliope “Poppy” Ratcliff is located on the eastern side of the Architecture building, towards Van Munching Hall. It is a Turkish cedar, a subspecies of the cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani var. stenocoma) and an evergreen conifer with a characteristic massive trunk, flattened top and branches that spread out broadly.2 This tree so far only has a trunk diameter of 3.0 inches and a crown radius (radius of the foliage and branches) of 3.1 feet. This is because Cedars of Lebanon are slow-growing, they may only reach 20 feet in height in the first 20 years of growth, but later grow to be 40-60 feet.2 This specific cedar is only 14.0 feet tall. The tree has short, dark-green needles and open branches. It is non-flowering and instead has upright cones,3 and the lower branches remain on the trees as it ages, to the point where they often touch the ground. The Cedar of Lebanon is native to Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, and is featured on the center of the Lebanese flag.2 The Turkish cedar subspecies, however, is specifically native to southwest Turkey. It is tolerant of many soil types and drought.3

Unfortunately, this tree has suffered due soil compaction in the area and had to be removed. 

Written by Joanna Barton


  1. Personal correspondence with Professor Ralph Bennett, a friend of Ms. Poppy Ratcliff’s
  2. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b431
  3. https://conservationgardenpark.org/plants/830/turkish-cedar/