Friday, March 29, 2019

Pin Oak - Quercus palustrisszx

The Pin Oak - Quercus palustris is a large deciduous tree that has been recorded as present in the United States since at least 1770.   It is most commonly planted along highways, parking lots, open spaces as well as in ornamental in landscapes as a specimen tree.  The Pin Oak generally has a single erect trunk,  and thin pin like twigs.  It's lower branches if left natural can often sweep the ground,  the middle branches grow in a more horizontal fashion, while the uppers are horizontal then ascending in the upper crown.  The Pin Oak when mature has an almost symmetrical, conical or cylindrical appearance.

Image Citation: David Stephens,

A rapid grower, Pin Oak is one of the fastest growing Oaks.  This species can grow on average 12-15 feet in a window of just 5-7 years.  In the Spring the foliage is a dark green color, shifting to russet-bronze and red in the Autumn.  The leaves  are alternate, have 5-7 deep narrow primary lobes, each containing a few bristle like teeth/tips.  They are a lustrous dark yellowy green on the surface, changing to a bright scarlet red in the Fall.  The bark is Grayish brown with small ridges, that over time become more furrowed.  The twigs are slender and a lustrous reddish brown color.  The terminal buds are also a reddish brown color ranging from 2-5 mm long, egg shaped, and pointed on the tip.  The fruit is an acorn, with a shallow cup that is 3-6 mm deep which encloses only about 1/4 of the nut.

Image Citation: Richard Webb,

It grows well in zones 4-9 and is one of the most commonly used native Oaks for landscape purposes. This tree tolerates wet soils and prefers moist rich soil, but does have a sensitivity to high PH. The flowers are similar to those on a Red Oak, acorns that are nearly round and brown when ripe.  The Pin Oak is readily available at most nurseries and would make a beautiful sturdy addition to any landscape.  It is found native in lowland woods, river bottomlands, swamp margins, poorly drained uplands, normally found naturally between 500-1000 meters, also widely planted as a street and yard tree above 1000 meters.  Generally found from Massachusetts and New York in the North, Virginia, small portions of North Carolina and Tennessee in the South on West through Kansas and Oklahoma.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

More Tree Facts on our website :  or follow our blog

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mahaleb Cherry - Prunus Mahaleb

The Mahaleb Cherry - Prunus Mahaleb, is the only Cherry that grows in the Eastern portion of North America with primarily rounded or circular leaves.  It is a small deciduous tree that only reaches heights of 25-35 feet tall.  It was originally introduced from Eurasia and has become naturalized along roadsides, fields and vacant lots from 0-1000 m.  Found in the Eastern portion of the United States from Massachusetts, New York and Ontario in the North, South through North Carolina and and Oklahoma.  It is also found established in scattered areas in the West.  

Image Citation: Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration,

The leaves are alternate, simply shape, oval to nearly circular in shape, the base rounded and tip pinched to a sharp point.  The upper leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower is paler and hairy at the mid-vein. The flower averages 18 mm in diameter with 5 petals, white in color, circular in shape.  The fruit is black or red-black in color, a rounded drupe that averages 8 mm in diameter.  

Image Citation: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Melaleuca, Melaleuca quinquenervia (Invasive Species)

Melaleuca, Melaleuca quinquenervia, is most easily recognized by the combination of whitish peeling bark, white bottle brush shaped inflorescence and narrow 5 veined leaves. It is an evergreen tree that reaches heights of between 50-90 feet tall.  Generally growing in an erect form with a single trunk and narrow crown that is often open and irregularly branched.  It is well established in hammocks, pine lands, disturbed woodlands and along roadsides mostly in Southern Florida and sparsely in Southeastern Louisiana. This variety originated in Australia and Melanesia.  

Image Citation (In Bloom): Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

Melaleuca quinquenervia is considered to be one of Florida's top three invasive species.  It covers thousands of hectares in tropical and subtropical regions.  Eradication efforts have been largely unsuccessful due to it's aggressive growth and rapid establishment.  It has even reestablished itself after forest fires that have wiped out all other growth.

Image Citation (Melaleuca Infestation):Randy Westbrooks, Invasive Plant Control, Inc.,

The leaves of the Melaleuca are alternate, simply shaped, slightly thickened and stiff.  When crushed the leaves have a resinous odor when crushed, narrowly elliptic, or oblanceolate with a evenly tapered base and tip.  The flower is bisexual with 5 tiny sepals and petals, white in color and circular shaped 2-3 mm broad, filaments are white.  They are produced closely together, sometimes interuppted, internodal clusters 5-15 cm long, giving the appearance of a bottle brush. The fruit which occurs almost year round is a roundish or square capsule that is stalkless and crowded encircling the stem between leaf nodes, seeds are brown.

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Camphortree - Cinnamomum camphora

Camphortree - Cinnamomum camphora, is a small to mid sized evergreen that can reach heights of up to 60 feet tall.  It grows in an erect form generally with a single short trunk, sometimes producing several secondary trunks from the base.  The tree generally has a dense crown that grows in an oval form, with lustrous often low spreading branches that become more or less ascending with time.  Native to Asia, it is now naturalized on disturbed sites, vacant lots, roadsides, upland woodlands, and fence lines from Southeastern North Carolina, South through Georgia and Florida and West through Eastern Texas.  There are over 200 species of Cinnamomum recorded, most of which are native to India, China and Japan.  

Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

The leaves of the Camphortree are alternate, simple in shape, and somewhat leathery at maturity.  The leaves and bark give off a camphor like aroma when crushed.  The bark is dark cinnamon brown to dark steel in color and becomes deeply furrowed with age.  The flowers are bisexual and tiny in size 1-2  mm in diameter, with 6 green-white or creamy tepals occurring in the Spring annually.  The fruit is a lustrous black drupe 8-9 mm in diameter and born in a cup like receptacle, maturing in Autumn to Winter annually.

Image Citation: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Monday, March 25, 2019

Biltmore Ash - Fraxinus Biltmoreana

The Biltmore Ash - Fraxinus Biltmoreana, is a small tree that is very common from elevations between 700 and 2500 m, in the areas surrounding Biltmore (the area in which it is named for), Panther Creek, Station Cove, Tamassee Knob, Brevard Fault Zone of North Carolina, Savage Gulf and Fall Creek Falls in the Cumberland Plateau, Wadakoe Mountain in South Carolina.  Most areas in which the Biltmore Ash are found have exceptionally productive second growth hardwood forests, but are generally drier then mixed mesophytic forests containing Hickories instead of Buckeye or Basswood.  

 Photo 1 Underside of leaves
Photo 2 Close up of bark detail
Photo 3 Canopy from below

Photo Citations (Photos 1, 2 & 3) : JK Marlow, Location: Bluewall Preserve - Greenville County - South Carolina,

Very closely related to White Ash in which it's growth range overlaps, although it's leaves and twigs are densely coated with fine hairs.  The seedlings are smooth until four or five years old, after which the young growth is pubescent.  The leaflets are tapering and narrow, but become thick and leathery and occasionally velvet like in the hottest an driest regions of it's growth zone.  The fruit body is plump and essentially round in shape, with wings extending no more than 1/3 of the way down the seed body.  The lumber is used locally for ax handles and wagons.

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Friday, March 22, 2019

Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica

The Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica - is a small to mid sized, scruffy tree that is found growing in dry areas and generally doe not reach heights of more then 15-50 feet tall. The tree develops an irregular shaped open crown full of crooked branches. Blackjack Oak is one of only a few Red Oaks that manufacture and store the substance called tyloses.  Tylose seals it's vessels and makes the wood watertight.  The Blackjack Oak remains small in size and is often considered to have knotty wood which prevents it from having any value as a commercially produced lumber.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The leaves of the Blackjack Oak are tough and leathery, triangular in shape, 4-8 inches long and wide with three shallow and broad tipped lobes near the end of each rounded base.  The bark is dark gray to almost black in color with some silver flaking on the surface, very rough on the surface with deep irregular fissures.  There are one or two acorns on short stalks with reddish to brown colored caps in the shape of a top.  The nut is elliptical 1/2 - 3/4 inches in diamter with a stout point.  

Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University,

Blackjack Oak is native to the United States and can be found growing from Iowa east through New Jersey and New York, South through Florida and west to Texas and north to Nebraska.  It is almost always found growing on dry, sandy or clay soil. 

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog at

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sassafras - Sassafras albidum

The Sassafras - Sassafras albidum is a member of the Laurel family. Having only three varieties, two of which are native to China and Taiwan, and the other is native to the Eastern portion of the United States. Spreading by suckers growing from the roots, in it's natural habitat it is commonly found growing along the woods edge and fields or as the under story of a forest.

Image Citation: (Photo 1) USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station Archive, USDA Forest Service, SRS, & (Photo 2) The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens, 

The fruit from the Sassafras is blue in color when mature starting at clear and red when young. Growing from red stems the fruit grow in an almost ornamental pattern. The fruit/berries are a favorite of small birds such as Finches in the Spring and Summer. Like the Amercian Holly, the Sassafras is dioecious, meaning the pistallate and staminate flowers mostly grow on different trees.

Image Citation: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry Archive,

The Sassafras tree has a unique scent that is recognizable even before the tree is in view, the oil that produces the scent is in the roots, the leaves and even the bark of the tree. Teas can be made by steeping the roots of the tree-Native American are recorded to have used this tea to treat many ailments. The oil was also used as the flavoring for traditional Root Beer prior to it's use being banned by the FDA in 1960 because of the Safrole found in the oil was thought to be a possible carcinogen. This banned was reversed partially in 1994 but new restrictions were put into place to be sure that the Safrole was removed prior to human consumption . File Powder, is a spicy herb made from dried and ground leaves. It was traditionally used by Native Americans in the South, and was adopted into Creole cuisine in Louisiana as a very commonly used ingredient.

Image Citations (Left & Right Photos): Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan,

The foliage of the Sassafras is very unique having as many as three varying type of leaves. The leaves can vary from single lobes, double lobed or mitten shaped to triple lobed. They are green in color during the growing season and in the fall put on a very beautiful show. The leaves will vary in color in the fall from Yellow, Orange, Scarlet and Crimson.

More Cool Tree Facts or

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Texas Red Oak - Quercus texana

Texas Red Oak - Quercus texana, (also called the Nutall Oak) is a medium to large tree that grows to reach heights of 115 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter.  The Texas Red Oak has a swollen base and spreading, horizontal, slightly drooping branches.  Texas Red Oak is commercially important in the floodplain areas of the Mississippi River, where it is harvested as Red Oak.  Wildlife rely on the acorns of this species as a reliable source of food.  Due to it's strength, ability to grow well in poor soil and nice appearance it is becoming a popular shade tree.  It is native to floodplains, bottom land woods areas, and wet clay soils from 0-200 m.  It is restricted in range mainly around the Mississippi River drainage basin from Alabama west through Eastern Texas, north to Southeastern Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Image Citation: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University,

The bark of young trees is light brown in color, thin and tight with slightly raised squiggly shaped plates that cup up at the edges.  When sunlight reflects on this trees bark it reflects narrow silver streaks.  The branches are noticeably long, straight and slender with the lowest ones slightly drooping down towards the ground.  The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate, elliptic or obovate, with a wide angled or flattened base, with 6-11 lobes, all lobes are sharp pointed and bristle tipped.  The fruit is in the form of an acorn with a cup that is 10-16 mm deep, the outer surface is hairless or finely hairy. The cup of the acorn encloses 1/3-1/2 of the nut, the nut itself is broadly egg shaped or ellipsoid.  

Image Citation: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University,

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Monday, March 18, 2019

Golden Dewdrops - Duranta erecta

The Golden Dewdrops - Duranta erecta, are most easily identified by their brilliant sky blue colored flowers and bright yellow fruit.  They originated in the West Indies but have been naturalized from South Florida to East/Central Texas.  In the United States they are found primarily on disturbed sites, pine lands, and hammocks from 0-100 m.  An evergreen shrub, occasional vine or rarely a small tree they reach heights of only 20 feet.

Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

The unique sky blue flowers are about 1cm in diameter, with 5 petals each, borne in an elongated raceme ranging in size from 5-15 cm long.  The flowers occur year round.  The fruit is a round yellow drupe that matures year round an averages about 1.5 cm in diameter.   The leaves are opposite, simple, elliptic or egg shaped, tapered to a short point at the tip.  The bark is simple and gray when young, becoming fissured and rough with age.

The Golden Dewdrops is a member of the Vervain (Verbenaceae) family that includes roughly 35 genera and 1000 unique species found in only topical and sub tropical regions.  This family includes many colorful ornamentals and recent research shows this family is closely related to the Lamiaceae (mints & teak are in this family).

Meet more trees on our website  or follow our blog

Friday, March 15, 2019

Pacific Yew - Taxus breifolia

The Pacific Yew - Taxus breifolia - is an extremely slow grower that sometimes rots from the inside, making it hard to determine the age by counting growth rings. The trunk often appears twisted and asymmetrical when left to grow in open areas but when growing in the tight confines of a thick forest it has little option but to grow straight. This conifer is native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States, from the southern portions of Alaska in the North through the Northern portions of California in the South. To the untrained eye it can easily be mistaken for a baby Hemlock , the best way to tell the difference between a Hemlock and a Yew is to look at the underside of the needles, Hemlock will be silvery in color and Yew will be a yellowish-green. The California Torreya also resembles the Pacific Yew, though it has longer needles and has seed coverings that are more plumlike and streaked in purple.

Image Citation: Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service (retired),

The fleshy coral colored fruit is frequently eaten by birds even though it contains a poisonous seed. The seeds simply passes through their bodies intact so it does not harm them. The fruit has a sweet mucilaginous pulp that surrounds the seed. The bark is thin, scaly and brown to reddish-purple in color. The bark scales off in thin irregular patches. The flowers are pale yellow (male) and appear in axils of scales on short branches.

Meet more trees on our website: or follow us on our blog

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Downy Hawthorn - Crataegus mollis

The Downy Hawthorn - Crataegus mollis - is a relatively small tree or large shrub that reaches 25-35 feet at maturity.  It generally grows in a single trunk but can also grow in a multi trunk or shrub form.  Because of the dense branching structure and thorns, Downy Hawthorn and other hawthorns provide great nesting habitat for the Yellow-Breasted Chat, Brown Thrasher, and other small birds. They also provide excellent protective covering for birds and other wildlife during the summer.  The pollen & nectar attracts various bees, flies and beetles.  Other insects such as caterpillars and moths feed on the foliage, flowers and wood of the Downy Hawthorn.

The trunk bark is roughly textured, shallowly furrowed and a grey-brown in color.  The branch bark is smoother, and slightly lighter in color.  Young branches are non-woody and green.  The root system is woody and branching in habit, and it spreads by reseeding itself.  The leaves are simple, oval in shape and shallowly clefted with 3-5 lobes along the edges.  The leaves are generally bluntly pointed rather then rounded.  The margins are serrated or double serrated and the leaf bases are slightly cordate to truncate. Upper leaf surfaces are medium to yellow green in color while the lowers are pale green and pubescent.

White flowers are produced on short spur twigs, they are 1-3 inches across and generally flat headed.  The blooming period is short lasting only about two weeks during the late Spring.  The flowers have a foul often pungent odor.  Fertile flowers are replaced by small apple-like fruits that become ¾-1" across at maturity during late summer. Young fruits are light green and pubescent, while mature fruit are yellowish red to scarlet and hairless.  The fruits each have 4-5 chunky seeds.  

Photo Citations (Photos - 1, 2 & 3) Richard Webb,

Meet More Trees or our blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Portia - Thespesia populnea

The Portia - Thespesia populnea, is an evergreen shrub or small bushy tree that reaches heights of 10-30 feet tall.  Growing in in an erect form with either a single or multiple trunks and low branching habit.  It was introduced to the United States, but is native to Old and New world tropic locations, it has escaped cultivation and established itself on disturbed sites, coastal hammocks and beaches in South Florida.  In South Florida this species is considered to be invasive as it has a very weedy tendancy.  Thespesia is a genus of about 17  species that are distributed only in the tropical parts of Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Australia.  

Image Citation: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service,

The leaves of the Portia are alternate, simple, ovate, with a heart shaped base and long pointed tip.  The flowers are Corrolla yellow with a red or maroon base inside of the bloom.  Flowers are bell shaped about 8 cm in diameter with a staminal column about 2.5 cm long, occuring year round. The fruit that also occurs year round, is flattened or rounded in the form of a leathery capsule.  When young the fruit is yellow, becoming black when mature, the seeds are brown and hairy.  The bark is smooth brown with gray mollting.

Image Citation: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International,

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Laurel Oak (aka Darlington Oak) - Quercus hemisphaerica

The Laurel Oak (Darlington Oak) - Quercus hemisphaerica, is a large semi-evergreen that can reach upwards of 80 feet tall.  Due to it's semi-evergreen nature the tree slowly loses leaves throughout the winter months but still has some green leaves remaining in the Spring season when the new leaves begin to appear.  The Laurel Oak is most often planted as an ornamental tree.  Naturally the Laurel Oak is found growing in waterways and bottom lands where the ground remains moist .  Although it prefers wet areas, it can still preform well in dry soils.  Naturally the Laurel Oak is found growing along the Coastal Plain from Southeastern Virginia up the Mississippi River floodplain to Kentucky. 

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Even in the Winter season, the leaves are the fastest way to identify the tree.  The leaves are narrow and long, 2-4 inches long and 1/2 to 1 inch wide and may be rounded or tapered before flaring out gently along the length of the blade.  The rough bark pattern becomes smoother on the upper trunk and along the major limbs.  Unlike most Oaks the leaves of the Laurel Oak easily break when bent.  The acorn is 1/2 inch long and almost perfectly rounded, 1/4 of the nut is enclosed by a saucer shaped cup.  Acorns take two full years to mature.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Very similar to the Diamondleaf Oak, although the leaves differ on the lower surfaces, vein axils and habitat.  The Bluejack Oak is another similar species however their leaves have a blue or gray tint.  

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Monday, March 11, 2019

Japanese Pagoda Tree - Styphnolobium japonicum

Japanese Pagoda Tree - Styphnolobium japonicum, is recognized by the combination of  pinnate leaves, white or yellow to white flowers and yellow to brown, necklace like legume.  It is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of about 60-65 feet tall. Growing in an erect form with a single trunk and broad crown.  It was introduced from Asia and is cultivated and now naturalized from Pennsylvania and Ohio in the North to North Carolina in the South. 

Image Citation: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,

The Styphnolobium or Necklacepods is a small genus, made up of only 7 species of shrubs and trees.  The leaves are always alternate and pinnately compound and the flowers bisexual.  The fruit is a very distinct beadlike legume and the seeds are toxic.  The species in this genus have been commonly grouped with the Sophora, unlike the Sophora species, they lack the ability the fix atmospheric nitrogen.  

Image Citation: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,

The bark of the Japanese Pagoda Tree is gray-brown and ridged with elongated vertical furrows.  The leaves are alternate and pinnate, the blades are 15-25 cm long and about 11 cm broad.  The leaflets are 7-17 in number alternate and opposite.  The flowers are bisexual and either Corrolla White or Yellow White in color and about 1 cm long each.  The fruit is hairless and yellow-green to light brown in color and in the form of 8-20 cm long legumes with seed compartments that mature in Autumn and persist into Winter.  

Meet more trees on our website  or follow our blog

Friday, March 8, 2019

Cherrybark Oak - Quercus pagoda

Cherrybark Oak - Quercus pagoda, is most easily recognized by the combination of leaves with 5-11 marginal lobes and hairy lower surface, large buds and bark that is very similar to that of a Black Cherry.  It is a deciduous tree, potentially reaches heights of 60-80 feet tall.   Growing in an erect upright fashion with a single trunk which is generally clear of branches on the trunk.  The Cherrybark Oak prefers a bottomland, floodplain forest, lower slopes, river beds and other areas that are subject to periodic flooding.  The Overcup Oak is another Oak that is commonly found growing in the same habitat areas, however they are not very similar in appearance having very different leaves and acorns.  

Image Citation: Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service,

The leaves of Cherrybark Oak are alternate, simple, ovate or elliptic to nearly obvate.  The upper leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color hairy when immature.  The lower leaf surface is paler and densely hairy and soft to the touch.  The fruit is in the form of an acorn with a cup that is 3-7 mm deep, brown in color, rounded and striped.  This is one of the largest and fastest growing of all the Southern Oaks.  

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Oysterwood - Gymnanthes lucida

Oysterwood - Gymnanthes lucida (also called the Crabwood), is the only tree native to Florida whos leaves have an eared base.  It grows in an erect form with a single trunk and narrow crown.  It is found in Hammocks in the Florida Keys and Southern Florida only.  A member of the very small genus Gymnanthes which is made up of only 12 species a distributed in the American tropics, Oysterwood is the only member found in North America.  It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches height of only about 30 feet tall.  

Image Citation: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service,

The bark of the Oysterwood is smooth, sometimes finely fissured, and gray-brown in color. The leaves are alternate, simple, leathery, elliptic with a distinct ear shape at the base.  The flowers are unisexual, with male and female on the same tree.  Flowers are mostly absent of petals and sepals.  Male flowers occur in elongated racemes reaches up to 5 cm long, but remaining shorter then the leaves.  Female flowers are solitary at the tip of a long stalk that arises from the base of the male raceme.  Flowers occur between Summer and Winter annually.  The fruit is rounded, 3 part with a dark brown capsule that reaches up to 12mm in diameter.  

Meet more trees and shrubs on our website or follow our blog

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Southern Red Oak

The Southern Red Oak is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of around 100 feet but sometimes much larger.  It grows in an erect, single trunk with initially a narrow crown that spreads with age.  It is most easily recognized by it's U shaped based and extended sickle or strap like terminal lobe.  It is native to the dry, sandy upland woods, pine lands and sandy loam soils from Delaware to Southern Missouri in the North and Northern Florida, Oklahoma and Eastern Texas in the South.  
Image Citation:  Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The Southern Red Oaks leaves are alternate, simple, mostly ovate, with a rounded base, and 3-6 bristle tipped lobes, the terminal lobe generally being the longest.  The upper surface is lustrous and dark green in color, the lower surface is a grayish or rusty color.  In the fall the leaves turn brown to yellow in color.  The fruit is an acorn with a shallow cup that encloses less then 1/3 of the acorn, the nut is an orange brown in color generally 1-1.5 cm long.  The bark is dark gray in color mixing in with black with age, it is deeply furrowed, ridged, rough and scaly with blocked plates.
Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The Southern Red Oak is often confused for the Cherrybark Oak and the Turkey Oak, neither have the Southern Red Oaks signature U shaped leaf base.  The leaves of the Post Oak have a similar U shaped base, but the branches and lower leaf surfaces are visably different covered with a stellate grayish pubescence.  The Southern Red Oak is one of the more common Southern Red Oaks and is often found growing wild in pastures, woodlands and along roadsides in the native range.  It is not very tolerant to drought or low rainfall periods, the leaves when drought stressed turn brown in large patches.  It is most commonly found growing in combination with Loblolly, Longleaf and Virginia Pines, Black, Blackjack and Post Oaks, Gums, and Hickories.  

Meet more trees on our website of follow our blog

Monday, March 4, 2019

Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis

Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis is monoecious evergreen tree that generally reaches heights of 40-50 feet tall, although it has the potential to grow much taller in ideal conditions.  It is a native northern Cypress with scale like leaves, and flattened twigs that are grouped in fan shaped sprays with bilaterally symmetric cones.  Found mostly on limestone derived soils, in swampy areas, riparian areas, and on cliff /talus from 0-900 m.  It is common from Ontario and New Brunswick in the north, south through the Appalachians of North Carolina and Tennessee.  It is also commonly called Northern White Cedar, American Arborvitae, Eastern Arborvitae, or Cedar Blanc.

Image Citation: (Foliage) Paul Wray, Iowa State University,

The bark of the Arborvitae is Red-Brown in color and becomes gray with age.  The bark is thin and fibrous becoming fissured and forming long strips with age.  The pollen cones are 1-2 mm long reddish in color. The seed cones are ovoid 9-14 mm long, green maturing to brown with 2 pairs of woody, fertile scales, each one is longer then it is wide.  The leaves are scale like, flattened 1-4 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, pointed and dull yellow-green on the upper and lower surface with visible glands and lateral leaves near twig tips.

Image Citation:  (Bark) Paul Wray, Iowa State University,

It is written that in 1536 an extract from the foliage of the Arborvitae saved the lives of Jacques Cartier and his crew who were suffering from scurvy during their second discovery voyage to Canada,  they in turn named the tree Arborvitae which is Latin for "tree of life".  They brought the tree home with them to Europe, making it the first North American tree to be introduced to Europe.   Since that time, there have been more then 120 cultivars discovered and named.  This sheer number makes it one of the most popular trees in horticulture today.  Arborvitae is also one of the longest lived trees in Eastern North America, it has been documented to live up to 1890 years.

Image Citation: (Row planting) Jason Sharman, Vitalitree,

Arborvitae is a very common planting in both residential and commercial settings.  It is recommended for hardiness zones 3-7 and holds it foliage year round.  This tree adapts very well to both shearing and shaping and naturally grows in a pyramidal shape.  It is often used as a natural fencing or planted in rows to create a hedgerow/screening effect.

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Friday, March 1, 2019

Water Tupelo - Nyssa aquatica

The Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), is best identified by it's combination of wetland habitat and and large very long stalked leaves. They can reach heights upwards of 100 feet tall and are deciduous in their native range. The Water Tupelo grows in a erect and upright form with usually only one single trunk.

Image Citation: Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service,

The bark of the Water Tupelo is grey and color and young twigs appear to have more of a reddish tone. The leaves are alternate, simple and ovate or oblong, wedge shaped or even heart shaped in some cases. The male and female flowers generally occur on separate trees and appear in compact clusters in the Spring. The fruit is oblong and dark blue to purple in color, borne singly on a conspicuous stalk, it matures in late Summer to early Fall.

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The Water Tupelo is native to river swamps, floodplains, and lake margins from Virginia south to Northern Florida, West through Illinois and Southeast through Missouri, Arkansas and Eastern Texas.  The most similar species to the Water Tupelo is the Ogeechee Tupelo (Nyssa ogeche).

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog .