More Than Shade Trees at the Crater of Diamonds

By Waymon Cox


Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park! Most people who have visited the park recognize the search area as an open field with plowed rows about every five feet. Trees scattered throughout the field provide shade from the summer heat, but many of these also enhance the experiences of park visitors in other ways. 

One of the park’s most memorable and unique trees stands just north of the central pathway in the search area. Its thick, twisted trunk and thorny branches have been a familiar sight here for generations. The large, yellow-green, citrus-like fruits it produces in late summer give this tree one of its many names, the Osage-orange (Maclura pomifera). Its leaves are long and oval-shaped, turning bright yellow in fall. Its wood is rot-resistant and prized for use as tool handles and fence posts. For years, park visitors have sat in the shade of this tree while searching for diamonds. It has also served as a setting for many wedding engagements at the park.


Along the West Drain of the search area, visitors often seek shade beneath American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.) trees. This tree is easily identified by its broad, toothed leaves and grayish-brown mottled bark, which breaks away easily from older trees. Sycamore is commonly planted as a shade tree, and its wood is often used to make butchers’ blocks and boxes. On quiet summer days, you can hear this tree’s crispy, long-stalked leaves as they rustle in the wind.

In addition to providing shade and heralding a late summer breeze, trees also create a more colorful park experience. One that really stands out this time of year is the mimosa, or silktree (Albizia julibrissin). This popular shade tree usually grows 30-40 feet tall, with a short trunk, long branches, and fern-like leaves. Each summer it is covered with showy pink, silky flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Several mimosas grow behind the historic mineshaft building on north side of the search area, providing a colorful backdrop for visitors to this area.


According to park diamond hunting rules and regulations, guests must dig at least 15 feet from the base of any tree or shrub in the search area. By protecting the park’s trees, you can help maintain these areas of natural shade and improve the diamond searching experience for all visitors.


Search area last plowed: August 13, 2021

Most recent significant rainfall: August 17, 2021

Diamond finds for the week of August 15, 2021 (100 points = 1 carat):

August 18 – Steven Fisher, Phoenix, AZ, 14 pt. white; Adam Hardin, Murfreesboro, AR, 17 pt. white

August 19 – Annie Campbell, Baytown, TX, 13 pt. yellow

August 20 – Ken Simpson, DeQuincy, LA, 6 pt. white; Allison-McKinniss, Benton, AR, 28 pt. white

Previous articleJackie Lee Shockley
Next articleJoint Operations Center Update on COVID-19 in the Texarkana Area