Friday, November 29, 2019

Santa Maria - Calophyllum antillanum

Santa Maria - Calophyllum antillanum, is most easily recognized by the combination of oval leaves  with numerous closely set parallel veins and deeply pitted, diamond-patterned bark.  It is an evergreen tree, salt tolerant tree that originated in the West Indies but has become naturalized in South Florida.  This plant is considered to be invasive to mangrove forests and inland hammocks.  It is similar to the Alexandrian Laurel which is also naturalized in Florida but is distinguished by it's bisexual flowers with 200-300 stamens and fruit that is 2.5 - 4 cm long.  It is a member of the Clusianceae / Garcinia Family.



Photo Citation: Michael Reck [<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calophyllum_antillanum_(Palo_Mar%C3%ADa)_picture_1.png">from Wikimedia Commons</a>

The Santa Maria grows in an erect fashion, generally with a single trunk occasionally with multiple low branches.  The bark is dark gray or nearly black, deeply ridged or furrowed.  The leaves are simple, opposite, thick, elliptic or oval in shape with a rounded (occasionally notched) tip.  The 5-8 cm long leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color with numerous visible veins that are located very close to one another.  The fruit occurs as a rounded drupe that is 2-2.5 cm long and yellow or brown at maturity.  The flower is uni-sexual averaging 2.5 cm in diameter, fragrant with four white lobes and 40-50 stamens each.  

The wood of the Santa Maria is used in tropics (not in the United States), the heartwood varies from yellow-pink to red-brown in color, the sapwood is lighter in color.  The grain interlocks and has gravity ranges from .51 to .57.  The wood is considered to be easy to work with and is considered above average when rated for shaping and sanding but not for turning and boring.  Santa Maria wood can be used for general construction, flooring, furniture, cabinet making, poles, cross ties and handles.   


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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis

The Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis is most easily identified by the small stature in combination with it's twisted petioles, some leaves that are tri-lobed almost resembling a turkey footprint and dry sandy habitat.  It is a small deciduous that grows in a typically upright fashion with a narrow crown.  It is native to deep, well drained sandy ridges and sunny hammocks.  The trees growth range is limited to only Virginia to Louisiana and Florida. The Turkey Oak covers over 9-10 million acres of land in Florida. It is very similar in appearance to the Southern Red Oak.


Image Citation: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org

The bark is dark gray to nearly black in color with vertical ridges.  The leaves are alternate and simply shaped, broadly elliptic, with 3-7 lobes each.  Upper surface lustrous yellow-green, hairless, lower surface varies from pale green to a rust color.  In the fall the leaves become scarlet-red or almost brown in color.  Named for some of the tri-lobed leaves that resemble a Turkey foot.  


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

The Turkey Oak is not commercially grown as it is not important because of it's size, but it is close grained, hard and heavy.  It is recommended for hardiness zones 6-9.  The wood is considered excellent fuel and is used very widely as firewood.  The bark and twigs contain valuable materials for tanning leather. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Common Hackberry - celtis occidentalis

The Common Hackberry - celtis occidentalis, is a deciduous tree or sometimes large shrub.  It grows primarily in an erect upright fashion with a single trunk and low branching, rounded, broad crown.  The branching habit of the Hackberry can range from slender and horizontal to zig-zag or irregular.  It is native to stream banks, flood plains, wooded hillsides and often found in areas that are moist from 0-1800 m.  In the North they can be found from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Maine, in the South from North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, West through Wyoming, Colorado, Arkansas, Northern Oklahoma and Northern Texas.  

Most easily recognized by the combination of alternate, simply shaped leaves that are 3-14 cm long and coarsely toothed and the hard rounded single stoned drupe.  The bark is light brown ans silvery gray, divided into narrow ridges with corky wart like growths.  The leaves are alternate, simple, thin, leathery and either broadly ovate, ovate-lanceolate or triangular in shape.  The leaf tips are usually abruptly pointed and the edges are coarsely toothed from mid-blade to the tip.  The upper leaf surface is light green or blue-green and the lower is a paler green.  The flower is greenish in color and tiny, 5 sepals and absent of petals, found in the Spring growing solitary on the axils of the upper leaves.  The fruit is an ellipsoid or rounded single stoned orange-red or purple drupe, with a cream colored stone, maturing in the Fall and shriveling but persisting through winter.



T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org


The Hackberry is recommended for hardiness zones 3-9 and is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental.  On average the Hackberry reaches heights of 40-60 feet tall and the same broad, maximum recorded heights are upwards of 115 feet tall.  It is a fast grower and can gain 12-24 inches in height per year.  Hackberry fruit is a popular food for Winter Birds including the Cedar Waxwing, Mockingbird and Robin.  The tree also is very attractive to many butterfly species including, Comma, Hackberry, Mourning Cloak, Tawny Emperor, Question Mark, and American Snout.





Monday, November 25, 2019

Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana

Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana is most easily identified by the combination of bi-color bud scales and broad elliptic leaves with sharply toothed margins.  It is a deciduous shrub or tree that reaches heights of 15-30 feet tall with a narrow irregular crown and an erect or leaning form.  Native to open woods, and roadsides on rich or moist soils from 0-2600 m.  Found from Canada in the North to Georgia in the South, continuing on to the West Coast but absent from the Southeastern coastal plains.  Similar in appearance to the Black Cherry and Pin Cherry but can be distinguished by leaf size and shape.  

Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Chokecherry is smooth, dark brown in color when young becoming black and fissured with age.  The leaves are alternate, simple, thin (almost papery), obvate, oblong or oval, sharply toothed, dark green upper surface, lower surface paler in color.  The leaves become yellow in the fall.  The flowers are 8-12 mm in diameter, 5 petals, 15-20 stamens, occuring in mid Spring to early Summer.  The fruit is a rounded juicy drupe that is 6-10 mm in diameter maturing late Summer to early Summer.  
Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

The Chokecherry is recommended for hardiness zones 2-7. Chokecherry is also commonly called Virginia bird cherry.  Although common in the wild in many parts of the U. S., this species is infrequently sold in commerce.  However, certain cultivars, such as the purple-leaved Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’, have become popular landscape plants.

Image Citation: Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org

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Friday, November 22, 2019

European Spindletree - Euonymus europaeus

European Spindletree - Euonymus europaeus, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 12-35 feet tall with a rounded crown.  The leaves have toothed margins and blades 2-9 cm long, it is dull green and hairless.  The ovate leaves turn a yellow green or red - purple in Autumn.  It is very similar to Hamilton's Spindletree but the leaves are very different in size.  Originally from Europe, cultivated and naturalized in the Eastern portion of the United States, Quebec, and Ontario.  

Image Citation: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Great Laurel - Rhododendron maximum

The Great Laurel - Rhododendron maximum is also commonly known as the Rosebay Rhododendron. The Great Laurel is most easily recognized by the mostly white flowers and evergreen leaves with wedge shaped base.  It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 35 feet.  It is native to low woods areas, stream banks, forest and low slopes from 0-1900 m from Nova Scotia through Maine in the North, South to Georgia, West to Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.  


Image Citation: Richard Gardner, UMES, Bugwood.org

The leaves of the Great Laurel are alternate, simple, narrow or broadly elliptic, the base is wedge shaped and tip pointed and a lustrous green in color.  The flower is Corolla white and often has a pink tinge with green or yellow spots.  The petals are united and cup like below, spreading and overlapping above, occurring in Spring to early Summer.  The fruit occurs in late Summer to early Autumn and is an elongated capsule 8-20 mm long, glandular hairy.

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

Great Laurel can be found at larger nurseries and is recommended for hardiness zones 3-7.  The leaves are poisonous, if ingested they can cause convulsions and can lead to a coma. This plant has a thicket forming habit and when grown in mass planting or the ideal locations it can become impenetrable.



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fraser Magnolia - Magnolia fraseri

The Fraser Magnolia - Magnolia fraseri is most easily identified by the combination of gray colored trunk, leaves that are eared near the base and hairless buds and twigs. It is also referred to in some areas as the Mountain Magnolia.  Native to rich woods and cove forests from 300-1520 m, this species is confined mostly to the Southern Appalachians, found in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Georgia. It is similar in appearance to the Pyramid Magnolia and is often only distinguished by the native range and habitat.

Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The Fraser Magnolia is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of about 80 feet tall. It grows in an upright and erect form with either a single or multiple trunks, the crown is spreading, irregular and most often high branching. The bark is gray to gray-brown in color and smooth or just slightly roughened, sometimes it is compared to concrete in appearance. The leaves are produced in whorl like clusters near each branch tip, they are simply shaped, ovate or nearly spatulate (spoon shaped). The leaves are broadest near the tip becoming more narrow closer to the base which is eared. The upper leaf surface is green and hairless, while the lower is paler in color. The entire leaf becomes a coppery brown at maturity. The flower is creamy white in color, 16-22 cm in diameter, fragrant and showy usually with 9 tepals each occurring in late Spring annually. The fruit is in a cone like form, shaped like a small cucumber, ranging in size from 6-13 cm long. Fruit is green when young, changing to pink when mature. Once mature each fruit splits to reveal bright red seeds that are 7-10 mm long. Fruit matures in late Summer or early Fall each year.

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

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Edible Fig - Ficus carica

The Edible Fig - Ficus carica, is a deciduous large shrub or tree that reaches heights of 10-32 feet tall.  It grows in and erect upright fashion with multiple trunks and a spreading crown.  Introduced originally from Asia it has been naturalized from Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.  This is the only Fig growing in the United States with lobed or palmate leaves.

Image Citation: Lesley Ingram, Bugwood.org

The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, ovate or circular, with 3-5 broad lobes, flattened base and bluntly pointed and toothed tip.  The upper leaf surface is dark or medium green in color, the lower is paler in color, both are rough to the touch.  The fruit is a hairy pear shaped, leathery Fig that is green, yellow, reddish brown in color and 3-8 cm long and matures in the Fall each year.  The bark is gray-brown in color, smooth or slightly textured.  

Image Citation: David Karp, Bugwood.org

Fig plants are considered to be easily propagated through many different methods.  The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans with fossil evidence being found as far back as 9400-9200 BC, predating wheat, barley and legumes.  Fig plants can be found at specialty nurseries and but not readily available at smaller local nurseries.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Wild Tamarind- Tamarindus indica

The Wild Tamarind- Tamarindus indicais most easily recognized by the combination of twigs and branches that are zig-zag, whitish bark, flat pods and white inflorescence.  It is an evergreen or semi-deciduous tree that reaches heights of 30-65 feet tall on average.  It is native to Hammocks, coastal Pinelands and disturbed woodland sites in South Florida.  Even though it is native to Florida it is considered to grow with a weedy habit often encroaching onto coastal pinelands.  


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

The leaves are alternate, bi-pinnate, with blades up to 5 cm long and 13 cm broad, each leaf is made up of 8-30 pairs of leaflets per segment.  The upper leaf surface is a yellow-green color while the lower is paler.  The branches often zigzag and do not grow in a uniform upright or spreading fashion.  The flowers are tiny, tubular with 5 petals and 5 sepals each fused at the base, the head is shaped like a pin cushion and is 1.5-2 cm in diameter.  The fruit is a flat legume that often becomes twisted, it lacks visible seed compartments and becomes black with maturity.  The fruit occurs in Autumn but remains attached to the tree throughout most of the year. 

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Friday, November 15, 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, Bugwood.org

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 Vid├ęki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lilac Chasetree - Vitex agnus-castus

The Lilac Chasetree - Vitex agnus-castus was originally introduced from Eurasia but has naturalized through the South and Middle to South Eastern United States.  It is found from Southeastern Pennsylvania and Kentucky in the North to Florida and Texas on West through California in the West.  It is distinguished by the combination of palmately compound, 5 parted leaves, and lavender flowers.   It is a deciduous strongly aromatic shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 10-25 feet on average and grows in an erect form.  Generally a single trunk but sometimes found with multiple stems, a rounded crown that is dense in shape.

 Image Citation:  Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The bark is reddish brown or brown in color, smooth when young becoming finely fissured and scaly with age.  The leaves are opposite, palmately compound, with 3-9 leaflet but usually 5, lanceolate tapering to a sharp tip.  The upper leaf surface is dull green in color and hairless moderately lustrous, the lower surface is grayish green in color.  The flowers are about 1 cm long,  5 petals, lavender, blue or white in color.  The flowers are born in erect terminal clusters that are 12-18 cm long.  The flowers occur in the Summer before the fruit which appears in late summer to early fall. The fruit is round, dry, hard drupe that contains a 4 parted stone.  
 
Image Citation:  Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The Vitex - Chasetrees are a family of more then 250 species distributed in mostly tropical or subtropical regions of the world.  Several are grown as ornamental and other are used for lumber production.  Only 4 of the Vitex have naturalized in the East.  There are both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.



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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Burning bush - Euonymus alatus

This one is a common sight this time of year, with lovely red fire like coloring the Burning bush - Euonymus alatus is a well loved addition to many fall landscapes.

Image Citation: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Recognized by the combination of opposite leaves, paired purple fruits, bushy form and winged stems. The Burning Bush is a deciduous shrub or rarely small tree that can reach heights of up to 14 feet tall, though usually grown in shrub form. Naturally it grows mainly in a bushy form with multiple trunks and a broad crown. Burning bush was introduced to the United States but has become established in areas from New Hampshire to Ontario in the North, Missouri and Oklahoma in the West, and Georgia in the South. This variety is even considered to be invasive in the Southeast.

Image Citation: Richard Gardner, UMES, Bugwood.org

The bark is light gray at first becoming dark gray with age. The leaves are opposite, simple in shape, thin, elliptic, wedge shaped at the base, and medium to dark green in color. In the fall the leaves turn a beautiful crimson or purple-red in color. From a distance many say it appears to be burning, hence the common name "Burning bush". The flowers are green-yellow in color and approximately 9 mm in diameter with 4 petals. The fruit is red-brown or purple in color and in the form of a 10-13 mm in diameter capsule. The fruit appears in late Autumn or early winter and has a bright red outer layer.

Image Citation: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

Burning bush can be found at most local nurseries and makes a lovely addition to any landscape. The Burning bush is recommended for hardiness zones 4-8. The Burning bush prefers full sun to full shade and can be planted in a variety of soil types including sand, loam and clay. It prefers moist, well drained soils and does not adapt well to poorly drained locations.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The benefits of freshly ground wood chips!

Ever wonder how freshly ground wood chips can benefit your gardens at home.  Check out this documentary on the benefits of using wood chips in your organic gardens.  Not only to they help provide you with improved soil conditions but they help conserve water.   


We offer free local wood chip delivery year round when working in your area, call our office today to be added to our delivery list. We service Anne Arundel, Howard, and Southwestern Baltimore Counties in Maryland.

410-439-1900 - Arundel Tree Service

Monday, November 11, 2019

Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium

The Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium is a small evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 10-30 feet tall. The Sour Orange has been naturalized in Florida, Georgia and Texas, but originated in southeastern Asia and South Sea Islands (Fiji, Samoa, and Guam). Sour Orange is grown in orchards settings only in the Orient/various other parts of the world where its special products are of commercial importance, including southern Europe and some offshore islands of North Africa, the Middle East, Madras, India, West Tropical Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Paraguay.

Image Citation:  NCSC Herbarium, Citrus ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

The leaves of the Sour Orange are simply shaped ovate or elliptic, lustrous and deep green in color. The flowers are small, white in color and usually have 4 or 5 petals. The fruit is orange in color, round in shape with a thick almost leathery rind. Inside of the fruit is several separate sections or cells, each having at least a single seed. The fruit is fragrant, however it is generally too sour to be eaten on it's own. The primary use of Sour Orange is for the production of marmalade. The fruits are largely exported to England and Scotland for making marmalade.

Image Citation: NCSC Herbarium, Citrus ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

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Friday, November 8, 2019

American Beech - Fagus grandifolia

The American Beech - Fagus grandifolia can be most easily identified by the combination of smooth gray to almost blue gray bark, coarsely toothed leaves and elongated torpedo shaped buds. It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of near 100 feet if given the right location and ideal growing conditions. Generally growing in an erect upright fashion with a single main trunk and broad open crown. Native to rich woodlands, moist slopes and deciduous forests the American Beech can be found growing from New Brunswick and Ontario in the North South through Texas and Florida between 0-1250 m. It is believed that the best specimens are found growing in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys where growing conditions are ideal.

Image Citation (Beech from below): David Stephens, Bugwood.org

Image Citation (Trunk of Mature Beech): Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

Image Citation (Close up of Leaves): Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

Even without leaves the bark of the American Beech sets it aside and makes it easy to identify, smooth in texture and gray to almost blue gray in color it is a stark contrast to the Oak and Pines generally found growing nearby. With age this smooth bark tends to darken and develop cankers or molten in appearance. The leaves are equally interesting, simply shaped ovate or elliptic they are coarsely toothed on the edges. The upper leaf surface is lustrous and dark green in color, while the lower surface is paler and hairy. In the fall the leaves begin to shift from green to yellow, then a lustrous brown and finally a pale brown before falling and making room for new leaves in the Spring. The flowers are tiny, the males are borne in a globular head at the end of a silky stalk, the female are inconspicuous borne singly or in pairs. The fruit is a bristly 4 compartment capsule that usually contains 2 angled or ridged nuts (occasionally 1 or 3).

Image Citation (close up of bark): Wendy VanDyk Evans, Bugwood.org

Image Citation (Fall Foliage):T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

The American Beech is readily available at most nurseries within hardiness zones 4-9, it is a slow grower and can be planted as both a shade tree and an ornamental. Full sun is ideal for the American Beech - meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. Be sure when planted that there is ample space available as when full grown the American Beech can reach heights of 100 feet tall with a spread of 40-50 feet. Beechnuts are frequently eaten by birds and small mammals, they serve as an important food for both chipmunks and squirrels.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

West Indian Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni

The West Indian Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni, is best recognized by the fissured brown bark, leaves with curved leaflets and large fruit capsule.  It is a evergreen or semi deciduous tree that reaches heights of 50-85 feet and grows in an erect fashion with a broad crown.  It is native to subtropical hammocks, commonly grown in private gardens, along roadsides and in highway medians in South Florida.  The Swietenia is a small genus of only 3 species distributed in tropical West Africa and tropical America.  


Image Citation:  By I, J.M.Garg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2602302

The bark of the West Indian Mahogany is brownish and smooth when young, becoming reddish brown and fissured at maturity.  The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, absent of a terminal leaflet, with blades of 6-8 cms long and 4-8 leaflets (rarely as many of 20), usually recurved and asymmetric at the base.  The upper leaf surfaces are a lustrous green, while the underside is a more yellow-green or brown-green.  The flowers are uni sexual, 5-7 mm in diameter, 5 sepals, 5 petals and are orange-yellow or green-yellow in color.  Male and female flowers both appear on the the same tree, the male have long non functional pistils, the females short pistils, 10 stamens with filaments fused into a tube surrounding the pistil.  The fruit are a large egg shaped brown capsule that ranges in size from 6-13 cm long, each fruit splits into 5 parts that release numerous flat winged seeds.  Both the fruit and flowers occur/appear year round.  


Image Citation: By I, J.M.Garg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2602298


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Catawba Rosebay - Rhododendron catawbiense

Catawba Rosebay - Rhododendron catawbiense is distinguished by it's large pink flowers and evergreen leaves with bases that are rounded. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 9-22 feet tall. It grows in a shrubby fashion, often branches closest to the ground. It is native to Mountain slopes, ridges, balds from 500-2000 rarely at lower altitudes. Found from Virginia and West Virginia south to North Georgia, west to Kentucky and northeast Alabama.

Image Citation: Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

The bark of the Catawba Rosebay is smooth when young, becoming furrowed and shredding with age. The leaves are alternate, simple, narrowly broad and elliptic. In extreme cold or drought the leaves often curl under. The upper leaf surface is a dark lustrous green in color, while the lower surface is a paler green. The flowers are considered to to be a Corrolla Pink in color and are in a broad bell shape that can reach up to 6 cm in diameter. The petals and sepals number 5 each with 10 stamens, flowers occur in early Summer annually. The fruit is a linear or oblong capsule that is covered with red-brown hairs, the fruit occurs on erect stalks and mature between late Summer and early Fall.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tree Destinations - The Major Oak (English Oak/Quercus robur) Sherwood Forest, Edwinstowne, Nottinghamshire, England

There is a very unique English Oak (Quercus Robur) growing in Sherwood Forest near the small village of Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, England which is rumored to be where Robin Hood and his men would hide out, in it's hollow trunk sections. It is called the Major Oak and is estimated to be between 800 - 1000 years old. In 2014 it was even crowned "England's Tree of the Year", because of this honor it will represent England in the running for the "European Tree of the Year" against entries from both Wales and Scotland.
Image Citation: www.RobinofSherwood.org

Major Oak was not always the name this tree was called. It has also been recorded as the Queen Oak, and the Cockpen Tree. The current name "Major Oak", originated from Major Hayman Rooke's very popular book about the ancient Oaks of Sherwood Forest that was printed in 1790.

Estimated to weigh around 23 tons, it has a diameter of over 33 feet and a crown spread of more than 92 feet - it is also claimed to be the largest Oak tree in all of England.  The Major Oak has been protected under a conservation status since the early 1900's. When visiting the tree today you will find a fence surrounding the base of the tree which serves as protection for it's roots and trunk from foot traffic. During the Edwardian period there were chains used to help brace and support the branches and lead sheets around the trunk, these were replaced in the 1970's by wooden supports, which were later replaced by the steel support rods that remain in place today.

From the Sherwood Forest Visitor Center you are only a short a 10-15 minute walk from the Majestic Major Oak. The visitor center is open daily (the hours vary seasonally) and allows you to explore not just the Major Oak but the 450 acre forest that is home to an estimated 900+ veteran Oak trees. If that is not enough to draw you in there is also an Annual Robin Hood Festival in August that celebrates the Legendary Home of Robin Hood and his Men.

To learn about other Destination Trees visit our website www.ArundelTreeService.com or our blog www.MeetATree.com



Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum

The Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum  is a large conical shaped deciduous tree with a domed top.  Though it is thought by many to have the appearance of an evergreen most times of the year.  Sadly people who are not familiar with this variety of tree will think the tree is dead when the leaves fall off and may rush to remove it.  Generally found growing wild in swamp areas and flooding river plains.  They are native to much of the Mid to South Eastern United States and planted widely as an ornamental.  


Trees growing along the Chesapeake and other tidal areas flare it at the trunks towards the base and make the trunks look almost disproportionate.  Trees growing in brackish lagoon areas tend to grow "knees" which can grow as far away as 20 yards from the tree.   It can take 50 years for a tree to grow "knees", these knees contain spongy wood tissues and are believed to provide roots oxygen.


The leaves are flat, soft, and delicate and approximately 1/2 inch long.  They leaves are bright/light green when young and darken with age.  They grow alternately on side shoots which are shed completely when the leaves drop in the fall.  The male flowers grow in the form of 4 inch catkins while the females are small rounded cones which grow more often then not on different trees.  


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Image Citation : Amy Gilliss - Arundel Tree Service (Specimen located in Cape Saint Claire, Maryland)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Sparkleberry - Vaccinium arboreum

The Sparkleberry - Vaccinium arboreum, is best recognized by the combination of reddish bark, bell shaped flowers and lustrous green leaves with a tiny point on the tip. It is an evergreen in most locations or late deciduous in colder climates. It grows in an upright fashion small bush or tree form. It is native to North America, dry sandy woodlands, thickets and clearings.  It is widespread on the East Coast of North America, found from Ontario in the North and Florida in the South, West through Kansas and Eastern Texas.  

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

The bark is reddish brown to molted gray in color that often peels in plates or sheets.  The leaves are alternate simply shaped and firm in texture, the upper surfaces are lustrous and dark green in color.   The flowers are white in color, usually around 4 mm long and cup shaped.  The flowers occur in the Spring Season.  The fruit is a black berry that is dry in texture and 5-9 mm in diameter occurring in late Summer to early Autumn.  


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Friday, November 1, 2019

Eugenia (Stoppers) - Eugenia

The genus Eugenia  (Stoppers) - Eugenia is made up of approximately 1000 species distributed throughout the tropics worldwide.  Only six species occur in North America.  Four of these species are considered to be native and 5 are found only in the far South-Eastern portion of the United States.  The five species found in North America are Eugenia axillaris, Eugenia foetida, Eugenia confusa, Eugenia uniflora, and Eugenia rhombea.  The Eugenia/Stoppers are evergreen shrubs or trees with opposite, simply shaped, leathery leaves.  The flowers are generally bisexual with 4 petals and 4 sepals each, they can be found clustered or individually depending on the species.  The fruit is in the form of a rounded berry with either 1 or 2 seeds, the top of each berry appears to have a crown shape from the remains of the calyx. 

Image Citation (Eugenia brasiliensis fruit) Cesar Calderon, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

The White Stopper - Eugenis axillaris, is most easily identified by the combination of opposite leaves with an acute tip and dotted underside, short fruit  and flower stalks.  It is native to the coastal hammocks from North Carolina through the Florida Keys.  The White Stopper is considered to be the most common Stopper in Florida.

The Boxleaf Stopper - Eugenis foetida, is most easily identified by the combination of opposite, oblanceolate or obvate leaves with rounded tips and tapering bases.  It is native to the sub tropical hammocks, pinelands or where lime stone is present in Southern Florida.  This species is found on a widespread basis in the tropics and actually reaches much larger sizes outside of the United States.  I is one of the more commonly found Stoppers in Florida, but not as widespread as the White Stopper.

The Redberry Stopper - Eugenia confusa, is most easily identified by the combination of bright red fruit and opposite, long-pointed leaves with drooping tips.  It is native to sub tropical hammocks and is considered a endangered species in Southern Florida due to it's rarity.  It is more commonly found growing in the West Indies where it is also native.

The Red Stopper - Eugenia rhombea, is most eaily identified by the combination of dull green opposite leaves and red to orange berries that become black when mature.  It is native to hammocks in Southern Florida and the Keys, where it is also considered an endagered species due to it's rarity and limited numbers.  

The Surinam Cherry - Eugenia uniflora, is most easily identified by the combination of short petioles, ribbed red fruit and opposite leaves under 7 cm in length.  It is not native but introduced into the hammocks of South Florida.  This species is considered to be invasive in habit and is listed as an invasive species throughout Southern Florida.

Image Citation (Surinam Cherry):Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

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