Friday, August 31, 2018

Stewardia (also spelled Stuartia)

The Stewardia (also spelled Stuartia) is a small genus of only 8-20 species of flowering plants in the Theaceae family. They are closely related to the Camellia. They are mostly native to the Eastern portions of Asia including China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Vietnam Myanmar, and Thailand. There are two species native to Southeast North America, from Virginia and Kentucky to the North and Florida through Louisiana in the South. The Stewardia varieties range in size from shrubs to small trees. As trees they can reach heights of 10-65 feet (Asian Varieties) and 10-30 feet (American Varieties).

Image Citation: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

One of the most recognizable features is by far their beautiful bark. The smooth bark can range in color from orange, yellow, or brown and peels in fine flakes revealing more depth of colors underneath.The Stewardia are mainly deciduous with a few members being considered evergreen, these are sometimes even categorized into an even smaller genus known as Hartia. The leaves are simply shape and arranged alternately. The leaf edges are serrated and the upper surface is usually glossy. The leaves range in size from 3-14 cm long.

The second most identifiable feature of the Stewardia is the showy flowers. The flowers are large ranging in size from 3-11cm diameter. Each flower is made up of 5-8 petals. Flowering generally occurs in the mid to late summer depending on the region. The flowers are white in color with orange centers, the flowers coloring greatly compliments the bright green leaves.

Image Citation: Cynthia Taylor, Elachee Nature Science Center, Bugwood.org

The genus was named by Carolus Linnaeus in 1753 to honor John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. The name Stuart was transcribed incorrectly and instead spelled Stewart, leading to the spelling Stewardia. Many publications have used both versions of the spelling with the "Stewardia" version being the most universal, the Stuardia spelling was used more frequently in the 19th century.

The Stewardia requires full to partial sunlight. It prefers wet soil and is not tolerant to drought. It is a slow grower and makes for a beautiful specimen tree it offers year round interest. The recommended hardiness zones are 5-7( or 5-8 depending on variety).

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Alder trees -Alnus

Alder trees -Alnus  are a very small group of trees and shrub, made up of only 30 varieties most of which are native to the Northern temperate areas. Ten of which are native specifically to North America half of these can be grown as either shrubs or trees. As a whole, Alders rarely grown to over 70 feet tall. They are relatively fast growers and are short lived not recorded to live very often beyond 100 years.

Image Citation: Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Alders are considered part of the larger Birch family since they are very similar in habit and appearance, however there are two things that set them apart from Birch trees. The first is the fruit of the Alder not only resembles a small cone, but when ripe it becomes hard and woody very much like a cone. The second is that the roots of the Alder grow nodules that house nitrifying bacteria which enables these trees to grow well in bare or poor soils that lack the nitrates the plants need to survive. When the leaves of the trees fall each year and decay they enrich the soil, this enables other tree species to eventually grow in these once uninhabitable areas as well.. Red and Gray Alders are commonly planted along the edges of newly constructed roads and in quarry spoils for this very reason. In its native growth range, the Alder is commonly seen as one of the first signs of new growth in previously burned or logged forests. They are also usefully grown along the banks of rivers and ponds as their root systems will extend down into the water creating a stronger bank and helping with erosion control.

Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

The Alders wood is durable in water, it is hard and dense in quality. The wood is also used to make charcoal for gunpowder. It has been used for both bank and canal construction.

It is recorded in Welsch Mythology that the Alder fought in the great "Battle of Trees" against the dark spirits of the underworld. When cut the wood of the Alder turns from white to red which is said to signify the tree is bleeding.
Native Americans not only made tools and utensils from the Alders wood but they also extracted and used the red dye from it's wood as well. Twigs, leaf buds, leaves and catkins (both male and female) all have medicinal purposes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Mockernut Hickory (Bullnut, Hognut, White Hickory or Whiteheart Hickory - Depending on the region it is located in) - Carya tomentosa

Mockernut Hickory - Carya tomentosa is also called the Bullnut, Hognut, Mockernut, White Hickory or Whiteheart Hickory (Depending on the region it is located in).  The Mockernut Hickory is a large deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 100 feet in ideal conditions.  It is native to the United States and can be found growing from Massachusetts and New York in the North, west to southern Michigan and Northern Illinois, south to eastern Texas and east to northern Florida.  Mockernut Hickory is considered to be a tough tree and can take abuse, it's timber is used for tool handles.  


Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The main trunk of the Mockernut Hickory is free of branches before spreading into a thick oblong shaped crown.  Tha bark is a mousy gray in color with very tight interlocking flat or slightly rounded ridges that appear to be almost laced together over the crevices.  The bark pattern gives the trunk the illusion of being wrapped in tight netting.  The leaves are alternate, compound and 8-12 inches long with 5-9 leaflets each that are a deep green in color.  In the fall the leaves change to a bright yellow, yellow-brown and finally brown before falling to make room for next seasons new growth.  The leaflet bottoms and leaf stalks are covered with fuzzy hairs and the edges are finely - coarsely toothed.  When crushed the leaflets release a strong odor.  The nuts have very small fruit cavities and are clothed in thick round or pear shaped husks with indented seams.  The nuts are a favorite meal for squirrels. 



Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org


Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org



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Monday, August 27, 2018

Inkwood / Butterbough - Exothea paniculata

The Inkwood - Exothea paniculata also called Butterbough is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of up to 50 feet in height. It is most easily identified by it's compound leaves with 4 leaflets. It grows in an erect, upright form with a single trunk and narrowly rounded crown.


(Photo By: Michelle M. Smith, 2018 - In habitat, Ned Glenn Nature Preserve, Florida)

When young the bark is bright, reddish-brown becoming dark gray and fissured with age. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with an even number of leaflets, 2-6 in number but usually 4. Each leaflet is elliptic or oblong in shape with a rounded tip and slight notching. The upper surface of the leaves are lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower is a paler green. The flowers are unisex and white with the male and female occurring on separate plants. The flowers contain 5 petals, 5 sepals and generally 8 stamen and occur from late winter to early spring. The fruit is a fleshy berry that is red when young becoming purple or almost black when mature. Fruit reaches maturity annually in Summer.

The Inkwood is native to only the the very southernmost portion of Florida and the Florida Keys. It prefers hammocks and shell mounds. It is a member of the Exothea genus whihc contains only 3 species all but 1 are native to the Carribean, the Inkwood is the only member native to the United States.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Leyland Cypress - Cypressus x leylandii

The Leyland Cypress - Cypressus x leylandii is usually in tree form and can be planted as both a specimen and in mass plantings as a living fence or screen.  The Leyland Cypress originated from cultivation as a hybrid between the Alaska Yellow Cedar (C.nootkatensis D.Don) and the Monterey Cypress (C.macrocarpa Hartw.) and is a member of the Cupressaceae or Cypress family. 

Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The Leyland Cypress is one of the most popular and diverse ornamental conifers, with a huge variability in it's size, appearance and uses.  The Leyland Cypress can grow as much as 50 ft in a 15 year period and is considered to be a very fast growing speciman.

Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The bark is fibrous in texture and gray in color.  The leaves are scalelike ranging in size from 1.5-2.5 mm long, lacking conspicuous glands, waxy underneath with white X shaped marks on the stomata. The Seed Cone in many cultivars is sterile, the seed cone when present are globose and 1.5-2 cm in diameter slightly waxy and composed of 4 pairs of woody scales.  
Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Cupressaceae or Cypress' in general are monoecious or diocious and either deciduous or evergreen.  Many Genera within the family contain only one single species.  The Cupressaceae or Cypress family was once more wide spread and contained many more members.
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Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Whitebeams (Including - Common Whitebeam -Sorbus aria / Himalayan - Sorbus cuspidata / Finnish Whitebeam -Sorbus thuringiaca)

There are multiple varieties of Whitebeams that are used in various settings most of which have simply shaped slightly rounded and broad leaves. Whitebeams are Old World trees native to the Northern Parts of the Eurasian landmass, from the British Isle to Japan.  The Common Whitebeam -Sorbus aria - also called the Chess-Apple is native to southern England and parts of Central Europe.The Lutescens which is used as a street tree because of it's tight egg shaped crown. The Majestica which is mainly found in France and has larger leaves. The Himalayan - Sorbus cuspidata is a vigorous tall growing tree, with thicker and longer leaves with shallow toothing and slight lobing.  The Wilfred Fox(a hybrid of the common and the Himalayan) this variety is strictly upright and does not have red fruit as the others do. The Finnish Whitebeam -Sorbus thuringiaca  (unknown origin) also a hybrid has a very different appearance then all of the other Whitebeams, it's leaves are not simply shaped they are instead deeply lobed or pinnate with 1-2 separate leaflets at the base of each leaf.  


Image Citation: Zelimir Borzan, University of Zagreb, Bugwood.org

Whitebeams are moderate sized trees, growing as tall as 60+ feet.  They withstand the harsh conditions of street type locations in European city suburbs.  The leaves are generally simply shaped, rounded and broad (except on the Finnish, theses are deeply loped) Green above and silver below.   The fruits appears in bunches of small berries, depending on the variety the berries are red, orange or sometimes brown.  The flowers are generally small and white in color, bisexual and usually arranged in large, branched corymbs, except on the Himalayan their flowers are larger and have a strong scent similar to the Hawthorn.  Flowers on the Whitebeams are smaller in size and number then the Mountain Ash, the berries also occur in lesser numbers.



Image Citation: Robert Vid├ęki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org

Whitebeams are not commonly found growing in the United States as they are not native to our area.  When found they are primarily planted in park settings or as specimen trees but never growing wild.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Post Oak - Quercus stellata

The Post Oak - Quercus stellata is a deciduous tree that is 32 - 65 feet tall. It grows in an upright erect fashion with generally a single trunk. The crown grows in a rounded form, spreading and ascending, openly branched with a somewhat gnarled appearance. It is native and typically occurs in dry, upland, sandy or gravelly woods, or in dry, mixed deciduous forests from 0-1500 m. The Post Oak can be found from Massachusetts to Iowa in the North and Florida and Texas in the South.  The Post Oak has a very high wildlife value, it's acorns provide high energy winter food for Wild Turkey, Whitetail Deer, Squirrels and other small woodland rodents.  The trunk cavities provide good nesting sites for birds and small mammals. The leaves, buds and acorns are however toxic to cattle, sheep and goats.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The Post Oak is most easily identified by its cross shaped leaves with rectangular lobes.  The leaves are alternate, simple and vary in size, they are U shaped or tapered at the bases.  The upper leaf surfaces are lustrous, dark green and have the texture of a fine grained sand paper.  The fruit is an acorn with a cup ranging in size from 7-18 mm deep, this cup encases 1/3 - 2/3 of the nut.  The acorns are generally a light brown in color and are egg shaped or rounded.  The bark is grayish in color, dull, irregularly furrowed and moderately scaly.  The buds are a reddish brown in color and egg shaped or rounded.  

Image Citation: Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org
Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org

The Post Oak can be planted anywhere in hardiness zones 6-9 (about half of the United States), though it is not Native to all of these areas.  The branches of the trees begin to droop with age and will require pruning/elevation to maintain clearance for traffic and pedestrians below.  The Post Oak will require minimal pruning in order to develop a strong structure. It prefers full sun, and has a high tolerance to drought and various soil conditions. The wood is often marketed as White Oak when sold as firewood.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Loquat - Eriobotrya japonica

The Loquat - Eriobotrya japonica is most easily recognized by the combination of large coarsely toothed, heavily veined, dark green leaves and large flowering panicles with yellow or orange fruit. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 9-20 feet high on average. The crown is dense, rounded and somewhat vase shaped. The Eriobotrya is a small genus of only 30 species of evergreen shrubs or trees that are native to mostly Asia.

Image Citation: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

The bark is brownish gray, smooth and somewhat hairy. The leaves are alternate, simply toothed, stiff, leathery, obovate or elliptical, with coarsely toothed margins and parallel veins. The upper leaf surface is lustrous, dark green, hairless, with a paler lower surface. The flowers are 10-15 mm in diameter with 5 petals in an oval or circular form. The flowers are a creamy white color with a sweet fragrance, borne in conspicuous branches and hairy terminal panicles. The flowers appear is late Autumn to early Winter. The fruit is a yellow, orange or whitish pome, that is pear shaped or oblong with 1-2 large seeds. The fruit matures in Spring to early Summer.

Image Citation: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

The Loquat was originally introduced from East Asia and is now found on disturbed sites from South Florida to South Louisiana, and cultivated into the southern portion of North Carolina. The Loquat is considered to be somewhat invasive in some portions of Florida.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Persimmon Tree-Diospyros virginiana

The Persimmon Tree-Diospyros virginiana is a small to medium sized deciduous tree. The female flowers are white and sweetly scented growing in almost a bell shape singly at the base of the leaves. Males flowers look similar, however they grow in cluster of 2 or 3 on separate trees. The persimmon grows many habitats, roadsides, old fields, and forest clearings.


The fruit is round orange to purple brown, stalkless, soft and juicy when ripe. When not ripe the fruit is extremely astringent, and horrible to the taste. Introduced species of persimmons with larger fruit are also commonly cultivated. The Texas Persimmon has black fruit that stains the hands and mouth when handled.


Image Citation: R.G. Steadman, Bugwood.org

Persimmon fruit is renowned for it's health benefits. The fruits are very high in vitamins B & C. They boost your immune system, improve iron absorption and have twice the dietary fiber of Apples.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Common Apple - Malus pumila

Common Apple - Malus pumila - Trees are small deciduous trees in the Rosaceae family with a single erect trunk and low hanging branches that often reach the ground. Sometimes also called Paradise Apple, this is the Apple of commerce. Numerous cultivars have been selected from this genus for taste, size, shape and color. Fruits of wild plants are often of lesser quality then those that are tended to in orchards. Other varieties of Apples and Crab Apples have smaller fruit and thorny twigs.

Image Citation: Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Bugwood.org

The fragrant flowers are white with a hint of pink or sometimes all pink. Flower have 5 petals and appear with the new leaves in mid - late Spring. The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, oval or elliptic with a bluntly pointed tip. The upper leaf surface is a deep green hairy when young, becoming hairless with age. The fruit is round or slightly ellipsoid pome, green when young becoming red with maturity. The fruit matures in Summer to Early Fall annually.

Image Citation: H.J. Larsen, Bugwood.org

Growing commonly in forest clearings, near streams in the Eastern United States (but not very far to the North or Gulf Coast region). Ornamental varieties are grown throughout the majority of the United States. It is believed that the Common Apple was originally introduced from Asia or Europe but has naturalized in many areas within it's hardiness zones.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Pumpkin Ash - Fraxinus profunda

Pumpkin Ash - Fraxinus profunda - The combination of buttressed trunk base, large pinnately compound leaves with 7-9 dark green leaflets and samara fruit make this species easily identifiable. Pumpkin Ash is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of 35-90 feet tall, growing in an erect form with a single straight or crooked trunk. It is native to swamps, old lake beds, freshwater tidal wetlands, floodplains and wet woodlands along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers from Michigan south through Louisiana and along the Eastern seaboard from New Jersey south through Florida. The Pumpkin Ash is often times confused with the Water Ashes in the Carolina Ash family.

Image Citation: https://stwilliamsnursery.com/plantdirectory/pumpkin-ash/#sthash.TWiXo7l6.dpbs : St Williams Nursery & Ecology Center, St.Williams, ON, Canada

Leaves are opposite, pinnately compounded with blades 20-45 cm long, rachis 8/15 cm long, 7-9 leaflets ovate in shape, narrowly oblong or elliptic. The upper leaflet surface is dark green and hairless, the lower surface is hairy. In the fall, the foliage turns bronze to reddish purple before falling off to make way for the next years foliage.  The bark is light gray with interlacing ridges. The swollen or "pumpkin" like trunk base is visibly apparent on some trees, especially those growing in deep swamp areas in the Southern growth range. The fruit is in the form of a samara 4-7 cm long and up to 14 mm broad. The fruit range in shape from narrowly linear to elliptic, with a wing arising from the base of the seed body. The fruit matures in early Autumn.

Best suited for hardiness zones 5-9, Pumpkin Ash prefers moist to slightly dry soil. It grows well in deep, loamy soil and swamp areas.  Birds and small mammals feed readily on the seeds produced by this tree. It also provides cover and habitat for birds and other wildlife. The larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer feed destructively and can kill this species. Flies and caterpillars also will feed on the foliage.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Avocado - Persea americana

The Avocado - Persea americana - tree is a very desirable ornamental, native only to the subtropical areas of Mexico and Central America. The growing conditions must be It's fruit is often included on the seemingly growing list of "super foods", it is very high in vitamin K & B and also contains C, D & Potassium. High Avocado intake was shown in one study to lower blood cholesterol levels.




With an average height of just 65 feet, it is a medium sized grower. When planted in pots it is necessary to re-pot quite often as they quickly outgrow small areas. The leaves are an elongated oval shape, deep green in color with a slight sheen on the top. The fruits are either pear or egg shaped with green skin that can range from mid green to almost a black-green and pale green inside. Avocado skin, bark and pits are harmful to many animals and have been recorded to cause severe reactions to dogs, cats, cattle and rabbits. The meat of the Avocado is smooth in texture and is often compared to butter in flavor. It is very often used in Vegetarian cuisine as a meat substitute because of it's high fat content. It is also commonly used in California Rolls, Guacamole, Sandwiches, Salads, Soups and Sauces. Commercially in the United States, Haas Avocados are the most known/marketed type even thought there are dozen of other cultivars grown worldwide.

Image Citations (Photos 1-3): Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

Avocado fruits are climacteric, meaning they mature on the tree but don't ripen until taken off. They will only ripen if mature, so if picked early the ripening process will not occur. The Banana is another fruit in the climacteric category. Most Avocado crops produce the best crops bi-annually with poor yields in the off or in between years. Once off of the tree the fruit will ripen within a two week period, if left on the tree to long the fruit will eventually fall off on it's own. Avocados can be grown from seed, although it will take the new plantings 4-6 years to mature and bear fruit. Indoors you can also grow Avocados from the pits in water, holding them near the surface with toothpicks, once the stem reaches an inch or two you can transfer it to soil.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Water Oak - Quercus nigra

The Water Oak - Quercus nigra, is a Red Oak with great tendency to hybridise with not only other Red Oaks but also WIllow Oaks. It is a medium to large deciduous tree. Native from Delware to mid-Florida and through Texas, North through Arkansas and up the Mississippi Valley into Tennessee. Very few are found planted in the Western United States. It grows often wild along small streams or wetland areas where lack of water is not an issue, but can also be found in drier more arid soils as well. It is classified as a bottom-land forest cover by the Society of American Foresters. It prunes itself slowly, developing a straight, slender main trunk. Growing quickly in favorable soils, it can add 6-12 inches in a single year. At maximum height it can reach 125 feet tall.


The leaves of the Water Oak vary in both size and shape on the same tree, some rounded with ends resembling spoons, some like small Blackjack Oak leaves, and others being more deeply lobed. In color they are a blue-green during the Spring and Summer, changing to a Yellow-Orange-Red in the Fall. The Acorns are round with shallow cups and mature around September of the second year. The bark is finely fissured and a pale to dark grey in color with rough plates.



Water Oak is monoecious, meaning the staminate flowers are found in hanging catkins and pistillate flowers are in few flowered, short stalked clusters but on the same tree. They develop shortly before or around the same time as the new leaves. Staminate flowers are produced near the tip of the previous year's growth, while pistillate flowers are produced in the junction of the current year's growth.

Image Citations (Photos 1,2 & 3): Amy Gilliss, Arundel Tree Service
(Location: Chincoteague Island National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague, Virginia) 


Friday, August 10, 2018

Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor

The Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor is an attractive deciduous shade tree. Even though it is named Swamp White Oak and is similar to the White Oaks, it is actually a member of the Chestnut Oak family. It has beautiful fall coloring that ranges from Orange, Gold and Yellow in mid-Autumn. With a broad open crown, rounded form and a short trunk it makes for a sturdy medium sized shade tree. It is considered one of the easiest Oaks to transplant and is tolerant to salt, drought, heat and poor drainage. It has good visual interest in Mid Winter, Early Summer and Fall.


Image Citation: T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org 


The leaves are lobed and have an almost two toned appearance, during the early growing season they are a dark green on top and a silvery white on the underside becoming green all over by the summer months. The leaves grow alternately and are coarsely toothed/lobed with variable margins. The bark is a pale grey with networks of thick coarse blackish grey ridges, becoming a dark grey when mature. The acorns are 1 inch long and enclosed in a warty cap, this cap often remains attached to the stalk once the fruit is ripe and falls from the tree.


Image Citations (Above Photos Left: Leaves & Right: Acorns) : Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org 


It is recommended for zones 4-8 and is available at limited nurseries in it's growth zone. Be wary of soils with high pH as this tree does show signs of chlorosis (yellowing) with high pH.


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

London Planetree- plantanus x acerfolia

The London Planetree- plantanus x acerfolia - is a hybrid of the Sycamore and the Oriental Plane. London Planetree are large deciduous trees that reach heights of 65-100 feet when mature.  It is one of the most commonly planted street trees in the United States because of it's high tolerance to both polluted air and limited rooting areas.  It possesses a very strong hybrid vigor and grows well in almost all locations, but is not very tolerant to extremely low temperatures.  It has a fairly long life expectancy and in many cases "outgrows" it's location by lifting sidewalks and other surrounding obstacles.  Thought to have been originally grown in Spain during the very early 17th century.  It is recorded in both France and Spain around 1650, and in England from 1680.


The leaves are very similar in shape to the Maple with a tri-lobed appearance.  They are a bright green color when young and are coated with very tiny hairs which disappear by the Summer season.  In the fall the leaves slowly turn to a bright yellow color before falling off.  The bark is almost identical to the Sycamore in appearance, smooth Silver Grey that sheds to show a warm brown shade underneath.  The bark makes for a nice point of interest even in the winter when the leaves are all gone.  The lumber is known as Lacewood and has a very unique and decorative pattern when cut, it is light in color with dark red-brown flecks throughout.  The flowers are borne in one to three dense spherical florescence on a pendulous stem, with male and female flowers occurring on separate stems. The fruit matures in about 6 months, to just under a half inch in diameter, and is made up of a dense spherical cluster of achenes with numerous stiff hairs.  The fruit cluster breaks up slowly over the winter to release the numerous 2–3 mm seeds, this allows for great seed disbursement.

Image Citation (Photos 1-3): Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona, Bugwood.org

One of the diseases that has known to significantly effect London Planetrees is Cankerstain.  Thousands of London Planetree have died from Cankerstain in the Eastern United States since the early 1930's.  Cankerstain is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata.  The fungus enters the trunk or branches through weakened areas such as injuries, or saw cuts and moves inward from there.  Once infected death of the entire tree usually occurs within a year or two.  Diseased trees should be removed and destroyed as soon as diagnosed to prevent spread. The London Planetree is also succeptable to Lacebug, Plum Borer and Anthracnose to name a few.
London Planetrees are often pruned using a technique called pollarding.   A pollarded tree has a very noticeably different appearance than an unpruned tree, it will appear much shorter with stunted, clubbed branches.   Pollarding requires frequent maintenance (the process must usually be repeated annually), it creates a distinctive shape that is often sought after in plazas, parks, main streets, and other urban areas where overall size and appearance is of great concern.

London Planetree can be found at most local nurseries and is recommended 3A to 10B.  It is very important to plan ahead before planting a London Planetree, take into consideration how big it will be at maturity- 65-100 feet tall in very large!  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora

The Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora - is a medium sized evergreen tree.  It is also called the Bull Bay, Big Laurel, Evergreen Magnolia or Large Flower Magnolia.  The native range of the Southern Magnolia goes from North Carolina south down the Atlantic Coast and through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Central Texas.  Averaging 60-80 feet tall in ideal locations, they usually reach maturity at 80-120 years.  It typically grows in an oval pyramidal shape.

Image Citations (Photo 1 & 2): T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Featuring leathery leaves 5–10" in length, with a lustrous dark green top and soft, rusty underside.  The large White fragrant flowers appear April-June and are almost perfect in form.  The fleshy cone shaped fruit mature in late fall.  The fruit are 5-8 inches long and attract a wide range of wildlife including Squirrels, Rabbits and Birds. 

Image Citation (Photo 3): Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org

Recommended for zones 6-10 this variety can be grown as far North as Maine and is found planted over most of the country with the exception of the North-Central Region.   Air-layering, stem cuttings and grafting are all successful means of propagation.  It can be found at most nurseries in it's growth range.  It is best planted as a landscape tree versus a street tree as the leaf, flower and fruit debris are often considered messy.  



The name Magnolia honors French Botanist Pierre Magnol, who was so impressed with the tree he transplanted one near his home in Europe over 300 years ago.  One of these trees grows on the White House grounds, it was transplanted by President Andrew Jackson from his home in Nashville, Tennessee.  This tree was transplanted to honor his late wife Rachel's memory. 



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Monday, August 6, 2018

Black Locust - Robinia pseudoacacia

The Black Locust - Robinia pseudoacacia,  is most easily recognized by the combination of hanging clusters of creamy white flowers, pinnate leaves subtended by a pair of sharp pointed spines and coarse ridged or furrowed blackish or deep brown bark.  


Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Black Locust is established in the moist woods, stream margins, river bottoms and Mountains in most of the United States, the Southern most portions of Canada and some parts of Europe.  Believed to have a native range from the Southern Appalachian to the Ozark Mountains.  Similar in appearance to the Clammy Locust and Bristly Locust, with their only difference being flower colors of pink to rose-purple. 


Image Citation: Norbert Frank, University of West Hungary, Bugwood.org

The Black Locust is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of 75 feet tall in ideal conditions. Generally forming a single straight trunk, open irregular crown and ascending branches.  Occasionally taking on a spreading form when grown out in the open. The bark is dark in color ranging from gray to dark gray-brown or dark brown to black, with coarse ridges or deep furrows.  The leaves are alternate, pinnate, with blades ranging from 20-36 cm long and 4-12 cm broad.  The petiole averages about 3 cm long and is subtended by a pair of sharp pointed spines (thorns).  Leaflets occur in numbers of 7-25 generally in odd numbers, thin and elliptic in shape with a rounded or bluntly wedge shaped base, and tipped with small teeth.  The leaf surfaces are medium green to yellow green.  Flowers are bisexual, fragrant and white to creamy white in color with small dull yellow patch on each.  The Calyx is 6-9 mm long, corolla is 1.5-2.5 cm long, produced from the leaf axils in an elongate drooping raceme.  The flowers occur in Spring to early Summer annually.  The fruit is an oblong, flat legume 5-10 cm long and about 1 cm broad.  Fruit matures in late Summer to early Summer annually.

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Common Buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis

Common Buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis is most easily recognized by the simple, whorled or opposite leaves and creamy white globe like heads on it's tubular flowers.  It is a deciduous shrub or small tree that ranges in height from 9-45 feet on average.  This variety grows in an erect upright fashion with a single main trunk, open crown and vase shape.  It is native to The United States and can be found growing in all but 10 states (those 10 are Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota).  It is primarily found in swamps, wetland depression, stream banks, lake and pond margins from the East to the West coast.


Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

The bark is smooth when young becoming rigid and furrowed with age.  The leaves are simple, whorled or opposite, lanceolate or elliptic with a wedge shaped base.  The upper surface is lustrous and dark green, the lower surface is paler with conspicuous veins.  The flowers are bisexual, creamy white and tubular, produced in large numbers in globular, pendant or ball like heads 2-4 cm in diameter. The fruit is a capsule like shape 5-8 mm long,  maturing in Summer to early Autumn.  


Troy Evans, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bugwood.org


The Common Buttonbush is vegetatively similar to the Georgia Fever Tree (Pinckneya bracteata), both are found in wetland areas.  They are best distinguished from one another by the differences in flower and fruit.



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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Elderberries - Sambucus

The Elderberries - Sambucus are a small genus made up of only 10 species of which only 2 are commonly found in North America the American Elderberry- Sambucus nigra and the Red Elderberry- Sambucus racemosa, a third Danewort/Dwarf Elderberry- Sambucus ebulus is reported to be naturalized in the Northeast portions of the United States. They are deciduous shrubs, small trees or herbs with very soft wood and conspicuous pith.

Image Citation: (Common Elderberry) Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

The leaves are opposite and compound usually pinnate but occasionally bi-pinnate. The leaflets are lanceolate or ovate with distinctly toothed margins. The flowers are small, white or cream in color and generally made up 3-5 petals and 5 stamens. When crushed the flowers produce a sweet yet rancid odor. The fruit is a fleshy round berry like drupe, red or black in color depending on the species, these berries generally occur in bunches.

Image Citation: (Elderberry Flowers)  Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The Elderberries are mostly found in moist to wet areas, roadsides, ditches, wetland and woodland margins at elevations ranging from 3-3000 m. It is a dominant under story species in riparian woodlands where it persists despite the competition from other species, it does not however grow well in closed story forests. American Elderberries are found from the central portion of the US (Wisconsin to Texas) all the way to the East Coast and as far North as Nova Scotia. The Red Elderberries are found in a more limited area on either coast of the US, from Alaska in the North and Northern California in the South on the Pacific Coast, Sporadically from Northern Idaho to Arizona and New Mexico in the central portion of the country, and from Wisconsin to Nova Scotia in the North East and West Virginia, Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic/South.

Image Citation: (Red Elderberry) Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org

American Elderberry is best distinguished by the black fruit, whereas the Red Elderberry has red fruit. Similar species include Box Elder and Ash, which have similar leaves however neither have fleshy fruits as the Elderberries do. The fleshy fruit is edible and has been used by various cultures including Native Americans, Spaniards, Cahuillas, French, Austrians, and Germans for many different purposes. The berries can be used to make wine, jams, jelly, syrup and pies. When dried they can be cooked down to form a sauce (sometimes called sauco by the Cahuillas) that does not require any type of sweetening. The flowers are sometimes added to batters, eaten raw, added to teas, or even fried for a sweet snack. The twigs can be used to tap Maple trees for Syrup collection, basket weaving, flute and clapper stick making, tinder and even homemade squirt guns (when hollowed out).

Image Citation: (Dwarf Elderberry) Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org

Many Elderberries are planted for their ornamental value offering visual interest with both the flowers and the berries, others are planted for the wildlife value as they attract birds, small mammals, rodents, deer and butterflies. They are very a productive, adaptable and easy to establish species. Elderberries also are a very useful ground cover for stabilizing stream banks and other sites that are prone to erosion. Elderberries grow best from seed and are most often sown in the Fall season, cutting from this species are not very successful. This species is recommended for hardiness zones 3-8 and can be found at many nurseries for planting in your own garden.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Zelkova

The Zelkova -  is a deciduous tree in the Elm family that is native to Europe and Southeast Asia.  It is susceptible to Dutch Elm disease but most often survives it, this is one of the main reason why it is considered to be a replacement for the Elm tree.   With a vase shape and the ability to grow 90-100 feet tall with a 60-80 foot spread.  It has a moderate growth rate and thrives best in full sun locations.  


The leaves are 1 1/2 to 4 inches long, green when young and turning a brilliant orange to burnt umber in the fall.  This varities crown grows naturally in a vase shape very similar to that of the Elm.   The leaves are a simple shape with serrated edges.  There are not obvious flowers on this tree they are very small and inconspicuous.


The Zelkova grows in a variety of soils but prefers moist deep loams.  Established specimens are highly drought resistance.  This tree makes for an ideal street tree as they thrive even in pits that were they soil is restricted.  It also has a high disease and salt resistance.  


Image Citations: Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulturist, Bugwood.org


This tree thrives in zones 5-8 and is readily available from most local nurseries.  It will make for a sturdy addition to any landscape.