Thursday, April 30, 2020

Georgia Plume - Elliottia racemosa

The Georgia Plume - Elliottia racemosa, is most easily recognized by the large plume like inflorescence of white flowers that appears in late June each year. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 6 - 36 feet tall, growing in an erect fashion with a single trunk and narrow crown. It is native though rare in only a few locations in Georgia. Elliottia is a small genus of 4 species, two of which are endemic to Japan and 2 to North America, one of which is a Western shrub.

Image Citation: James Henderson, Golden Delight Honey,

The bark of the Georgia Plume is gray and furrowed when young, becoming blocky and similar to that o the Sourwood when mature.  The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate, oblong or narrowly elliptic with a tapered base and abruptly pointed tip.  The upper leaf surface is dark green and hairless, the lower surface is paler and sparsely haired.  The flower is bi-sexual about 2 cm long with 4 petals, white in color produced in showy terminal racemes or panicles.  The fruit is a four lobed brown or blackish colored capsule that is approximately 1 cm in diameter maturing each Autumn and persisting into the Winter each year.

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Paw Paw - Asimina triloba

The Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) is a small deciduous fruit bearing tree that is native to North America.  They grow wild in much of the eastern and midwestern portions of the country, but not in the extreme North, West or South.   

Image Citation (Photos 1 & 2): Rob Routledge, Sault College, 

The leaves are green in the growing season and an elongated oval shape ranging in size from 10-12 inches long.  In the fall the leaves change to a rusty yellow in color.  When crushed the leaves have a strong unique odor, often compared to that of a bell pepper.  The leaves contain toxic annonaceous acetogenins, making them impalatable to most insects. The one exception is the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.  

The flowers have 3 prominent triangular shaped green, brown or purple outer petals.  The flowers are insect pollinated, but fruit production is often limited by the small number of pollinators that are actually attracted to flowers very faint scent.  
Image Citation (Photo 3): Wendy VanDyk Evans,

The fruit is a green-brown in color and a curved cylindrical shape - the shape of the fruit is very similar to a fat lima bean.  The trees produce an almost tropical fruit with vanilla or banana/mango flavors. When ripe, the fruit’s soft flesh is very creamy in texture. The large seeds are easy to remove, making the pawpaw an excellent pick for fresh eating.  The short shelf life makes it an uncommon find in most market areas.   Fresh fruits of the Paw Paw are generally eaten raw, either chilled or at room temperature. However, they can be kept only 2–3 days at room temperature, or about a week if refrigerated.  

Many animals and insects make use of the Paw Paw tree and it's fruit.  The flowers attract blowflies, carrion beetles, fruit flies, carrion flies and other bettle varieties.  The fruits of the Paw Paw are enjoyed by a variety of mammals, including raccoons, foxes, opossums, squirrels, and black bears. Larvae of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, feed exclusively on young leaves of Paw Paw.  Chemicals in the Paw Paw leaves offer protection from predation throughout the butterfly's life remaining in their systems and making them unpalatable to predators.  Whitetail deer do not feed on the Paw Paw.

Meet More Trees at  or on our blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sawtooth Oak - Quercus acutissima

The Sawtooth Oak - Quercus acutissima is most easily recognized by it's fringed acorn cup and narrow leave with bristle tipped teeth, resembling the teeth of a saw. It is a fast growing, deciduous shade tree that can reach heights of 30- 70 feet tall. Sawtooth Oak grows in an erect fashion with a single trunk and dense rounded crown. Originally introduced from Asia, generally found in planned landscapes and is reported to be naturalized in scattered areas from Pennsylvania South to North Carolina and Georgia, South to Louisiana. Sawtooth Oak is primarily planted for wildlife cover and food due to it's abundant fruit and fast growth habit. This species is sometimes used for urban and highway beautification as it is tolerant of soil compaction, air pollution, and drought.  Though it is considered naturalized in our area it is not very common to see a mature tree other then in a established landscape setting where planted.

Image Citations (Photos 1 & 2): Richard Gardner, UMES,

Named for it's unique leaf edges, the Sawtooth Oak is a beautiful tree. The green leaves are alternate, simple, oblong or obvate, 12-16 pairs of sharp bristle tipped teeth, parallel veins and a lustrous upper surface and dull pale underside. The leaves add to the visual interest by beginning a brilliant yellow to golden yellow color in the Spring, turning dark lustrous green in summer and yellow to golden brown in the fall. The bark is dark gray in color with light gray scales that become deeply furrowed with age. The fruit is in the form of an acorn, the cup encloses 1/3 - 2/3 of the 1-2.5 cm nut. The acorn rim is adorned with long spreading hairlike scales that form a distinctive fringe.

Recommended for hardiness zones 5-9, the Sawtooth Oak can be found at most larger nurseries within those zones. Sawtooth Oak is also considered to be easily transplanted and hardy making it a wise choice for any landscape with room for a large spreading shade tree. It is similar to the Chinquapin Oak Castanea pumila in appearance, distinguished primarily by the difference in fruit.

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Monday, April 27, 2020

September Elm - Ulmus serotina

September Elm - Ulmus serotina, is most easily recognized by the combination of alternate simple, double toothed leaves, mature branches with corky wings and Autumn flowering and fruiting.  It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 65 feet tall, it grows in an erect form with a single trunk and spreading crown.  It is native to the limestone bluffs, bottomlands and hillsides of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Illinois but is rare even within it's native growth range.  The September Elm can hybridize with the Cedar Elm though the offspring are difficult to assign to species.  
Image Citation: By K6tmk6 - Originally uploaded on 2010-07-04 as File:Ulmus Serotina2.JPG by K6tmk6., Public Domain,

The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, with an abruptly pointed short point.  The upper leaf surface is a yellow-green color, hairless, with parallel veins and distinctively forked margins.  The lower leaf surface is a yellowish gold color with soft hairs.  The flowers have 5-6 sepals and occur from Summer to Autumn each year.  The fruit is ovoid to elliptic with 1 seed, light brown samara, 1 - 1 1/2 cm long with a notched apex, maturing in Autumn.  

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Friday, April 24, 2020

Carolina Cherrylaurel or Laurelcherry - Prunus caroliniana

The Carolina Cherrylaurel or Laurelcherry - Prunus caroliniana, is a small tree or very large shrub that seldom reaches heights of more then 40 feet tall.  It is semi-evergreen and can be found growing as a single specimen or in clumps or thickets.  The Carolina Cherrylaurel is most often planted in ornamental hedges or as a small specimen/focal tree.  It can be found growing throughout most of the South from North Carolina to Texas.  It is most common around the coastal plains, where it forms very dense thickets.

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The fastest way to identify this tree when the leaves are present is to crush the leaves which will emit a very distinct cherry fragrance, when no leaves are present the other identifying features include the smooth gray bark with long raised lines or lenticels in a square/mosaic pattern.  The leaves are alternate and simple in form 2 - 4 1/2 inches long by 3/4 - 1 1/2 inches wide.  Leaves are generally long oval and tapered with points at each end, blades are dark green and glossy with a pale green underside.  The leaf edges are usually smooth but occasionally are toothed. Containing prussic acid the leaves can be fatal to livestock if eaten in large quantities.  The fruit is in small clusters of stalked, round fruit that generally remains hanging on the tree all winter.  The fruits are eaten by birds and other small mammals.  The bark is dark gray in color and if often found decorated with lines of holes from Yellow Bellied Sap Suckers (Sphyrapicus varius).  The flowers are small only 5mm in diameter with 5 petals, creamy white in color, occuring in early - mid Spring. 

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

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Winged Sumac - Rhus copallinum

Winged Sumac - Rhus copallinum is a sumac that is most easily recognized by it's alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 4+ mm winged rachis.  It is a small deciduous shrub or small slender tree that reaches heights of only 30-35 feet tall.  Generally growing in an erect upright fashion it can have single or multiple trunks and is often thicket forming from the production of numerous root suckers.  It is native to the North America and can be found growing throughout the Eastern seaboard from Canada and Maine in the North south throughout Florida, west through eastern Nebraska and eastern Texas.  It is similar in appearance to the Prairie Sumac with the only difference being the rachis size.  

Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University,

The bark of the Winged Sumac is smooth, brown or reddish brown with numerous visible lenticles.  The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with blades ranging in size from 10-30 cm long, having conspicuous winged rachis, the wings each reaching sizes of over 4 mm each, with 9-23 leaflets.  The flowers are unisexual, with male or female typically occurring on separate trees, green-white in color, with 5 petals and sepals each abut 1 mm long.  The fruit is a hairy rounded red drupe 4-5 mm in diameters, occurring in late Summer to early Fall and remaining until Winter.

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Mountain Basswood - Tilia heterophylla

Mountain Basswood - Tilia heterophylla, is a large tree that has the ability to reach heights of upwards of 100 feet. It is easily identified as a Basswood by the soft, light gray-brown bark that is moderately thin with long, shallow, parallel, V shaped fissures and flat topped ridges. The bark of the Mountain Basswood appears to be compressed against the tree and is molded to the ridges and fissures in a pattern that does not have rough edges.  Young bark, located high in the tree smooth and light gray in color.  The leaves are rounded to an abrupt tip with a coarse sharp toothed margin. The lower leaf surfaces are white and woolly.  Occasionally in late Winter clusters of pea sized berries can be found dangling in a shape similar to spread fingers from the center of small, elbow shaped wings that are attached to twigs.  

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Mountain Basswood is a native species but is not commonly found even within it's natural growth zone.  It is a rare tree but can be found throughout the entire United States.  The Mountain Basswood can be distinguished from the American Basswood by looking at the leaves. 

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Dotted Lancepod - Lonchocarpus punctatus

Dotted Lancepod - Lonchocarpus punctatus, which is recognized by the combination of pinnate leaves and purple to white flowers and flattened and pointed legumes. It is a deciduous tree to evergreen shrub that reaches heights of only 60 feet tall. Growing primarily in an erect form with a single trunk and dense rounded crown. The Dotted Lancepod was introduced from South America and has escaped cultivation and has become established in Southern Florida. The genus Lonchocarpus only includes about 150 species which are distributed in tropical or subtropical regions of America, Africa and Australia the Dotted Lancepod (Lonchocarpus punctatus) is the only species that has been successfully introduced and established in North America.

Image Citation:  Pancrat (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The leaves of the Dotted Lancepod are alternate, pinnate with blades reaching up to 16 cm long and 12 cm long. The leaflets occur in 2-8 pairs on each leaf in an opposite form, oval or oblong. The upper leaf surface is a medium to dark green while the lower surface is a paler green. The flowers are bisexual, pink, purple or white in color and 10-15 mm long the petals are upright and finely haired. The flower produce conspicuous axillary racemes about 9 cm long with stalks ranging from 2-3 cm long. The flowers occur year round. The fruit is a flattened brown legume that can reach lengths of 15 cm long, tapering to a point at both ends, usually enclosing only a single seed, sometimes several, more or less flat in form.  

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

Monday, April 20, 2020

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,

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,

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,

Meet more trees on our Website or follow our blog

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Witness to Tragedy April 19th, 1995 - Oklahoma City's "Survivor Tree" - An American Elm

The Survivor Tree of Oklahoma City is an American Elm that is approximately 90 years old, located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. Amazingly it survived the bomb attack on the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, 23 years ago today. This bombing was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil before September 11, 2001, the bombing killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Before the bombing, the tree provided the only shade in the building’s parking lot. It is said that people would arrive early to work just to be able to park under the cooling shade of the tree’s branches. After the bombing, the tree was partially cut down to recover pieces of evidence embedded in it from the force of the devastating bomb. Investigators were successful in recovering evidence from the tree’s trunk and branches.  Even after the destruction of the bombing and the destruction during the recovery efforts the tree lived on, a testament to what it means to survive.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum was created to honor “those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever” by the 1995 bombing. Hundreds of community citizens, surviving family members who lost loved ones, survivors, and even rescue workers came together to write the mission statement for the memorial. It was decided that “one of the components of the Memorial must be the Survivor Tree located on the south half of the Journal Record Building block.” The Memorial design was unveiled in 1996 with prominence put on the remarkable Elm that had survived so very much. With this, the Survivor Tree has become a symbol of human resilience. Today, as a tribute to renewal and rebirth, the inscription around the tree reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us."  The tree is a part of the museum, the museum grounds also include a reflecting pool and memorial markers honoring each of the 168 lives lost during the tragedy.

Seedlings from the Survivor Tree are currently growing in Nurseries throughout the state.  Each year Nurserymen are given hundreds of seeds by the Facilities and Grounds Crew to continue it's legacy.

Located at 620 N Harvey Ave, Oklahoma City, OK You can visit this "WITNESS TO TRAGEDY, SYMBOL OF STRENGTH"

To Learn more visit:

Friday, April 17, 2020

Lone Cypress - A Monterey Cypress

The Lone Cypress - A Monterey Cypress is often said to be the most photographed tree in The United States. Estimated to be over 250 Years old the tree is located within the grounds of The Pebble Beach Resort in California - Arguably one of the most expensive and beautiful Golf Courses in the US. The tree has been injured over the years by fire, winds and storms but remains held in place by an intricate system of support cables.  The Monterey Cypress only grows naturally in a two areas of Monterey County, Del Monte Forest and Point Lobos Natural Reserve-but is planted widely as an ornamental.

Image Citation: "Lone Cypress" by Sharashish - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia -

You do have to pay to see The Lone Cypress in person by entering the scenic "17 mile drive", but don't worry it is just $10 a car!  This 17 mile scenic route includes some of the most beautiful coastline in California and runs between the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Cypress Point Golf Course through the gated community of Pebble Beach.  Also along this scenic route is Bird Rock, Spanish Bay, Spy Glass Hill, Point Joe and the 5300 acre Del Monte Forest.  
Image Citation : Pebble Beach Golf Course-Public-Wikipedia Page 

This tree is so famous it has been featured in The LA Times - Postcards from the west series-

This link will take you to an interactive map of "17 Mile Drive"

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Chapman Oak - Quercus chapmanii

Chapman Oak - Quercus chapmanii, is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree that reach heights of up to 40 feet tall but usually only average about 30 feet.  A member of the Fagaceae family, in the Genus Quercus. The crown of the Chapman Oak is most often spreading with contorted branches and oblong leaves with wavy margins.  It is considered to have a xeric habit, meaning it does not require excessive or constant amounts of water to grow or favors a drought habitat.  The Chapman Oak prefers Sandy dunes and pinelands and can be found growing from 0-100 m along coastal zones from The Carolinas Georgia and Florida (reported to be also established in Kansas) 

Image Citation: Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia,

In appearance the Chapman Oak is similar to most other Oaks.  The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, oblong or obovate, thick and leathery with wavy margins on the entire leaf,  a dark green upper surface and paler dull lower surface.  The fruit is in the form of an acorn with a shallow cup and deep nut, knobby scales and gray-yellow color.  The bark is brown, scaly and flaking, similar to many White Oaks.  The flower occurring in late winter or early spring is small in size and white-tan in color.  Recommended for hardiness zones 8-10b, the Chapman Oak prefers full sun to partial shade and alkaline or acidic soil.  Small mammals, butterflies and birds all feed on and/or use the Chapman Oak as shelter.

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Heart's A Bustin' - Euonymus americanus

The Heart's A Bustin' - Euonymus americanus  is most commonly recognized by the opposite, sessile finely toothed dark green leaves and white flowers arising from the leaf axils.  It is usually found in multi-stemmed shrub form but rarely in small tree form.  It is also known as the Strawberry Bush or Bursting Heart.

The leaf margins are finely toothed with blades around 4 cm long and 2 cm broad.  The flowers are creamy white with petals in fours and generally white in color.  The fruit is a rounded knobby capsule that splits at maturity to reveal several red coated seeds.  The fruit of the Hearts a Bustin matures in the fall.  
Image Citation: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,

Heart's A Bustin is native to the Eastern and Southern portions of the United States.  The Northern range begins in the West from Southern Illinois, through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Long Island and the Southernmost portions New York in the East.  Southern range is from Texas in the West, through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in the East.  It is most commonly found growing in moist woodlands, and flood plains from 0-500 m.

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Chalk Maple - Acer leucoderme

The Chalk Maple - Acer leucoderme, is most easily distinguished by it's small size and relatively small squarish-lobed leaves that are green beneath.  It is a deciduous small tree or large shrub that reaches heights of only 40 feet tall on average.   It grows in an erect form generally with a single upright trunk, occasionally a multiple trunk but always with an open spreading crown.  It is native to well drained upland woods, stream terraces, calcereous woodlands from 10-300 m, generally restricted to the Piedmont and sparingly in the coastal plains of North Carolina and Virginia on South through Florida, west to eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma.  It is very similar to the Southern Sugar Maple and overlaps in range.

Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia,

The bark is smooth gray in color, the twigs are red-brown in color, lustrous, smooth and hairless.  The leaves are opposite, simple, thin and as broad as they are long.  The upper leaf surface is a lustrous yellow-green, the lower is a more even green.  The leaves turn a beautiful Salmon, Orange, Yellow or Purple-Red color in the fall.  The Yellow-Green flower is tiny in size with 5 sepals occurring in Mid-Spring.  The fruit occurs in paired samaras 2.5-3 cm long, widely angled from the point of attachment.  

Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia,

Meet more trees at or follow our blog at

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sea Hibiscus - Talipariti tiliaceum

Sea Hibiscus - Talipariti tiliaceum, is most easily recognized by it's large circular leaves, spreading habit and showy flowers that become a deep red at the end of the day. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 15-20 feet tall. The trunk of the tree is short, crooked or contorted, with a low branching habit and broad crown.

Image Citation: Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service,

The leaves of the Sea Hibiscus are alternate, simple in shape and almost circular with a heart shaped base. The upper leaf surface is dark lustrous green, the lower a whitish gray. Each leaf blade is 10-30 cm long and 10-30 cm broad and stout. The flowers are Corolla 5-8 long yellow with a red throat early in the day, becoming completely red by the evening hours and dropping during the night hours. The flowers occur year round. The fruit is in the form of a five valved capsule 2 cm broad with numerous black-brown seeds.

Image Citation: Joy Viola, Northeastern University,

The Sea Hibiscus is native to tropical areas of Asia and is now naturalized along hammocks, roadsides and other disturbed sites in Southern Florida. Sea Hibiscus can be grown as an indoor/houseplant in zones outside of the tropical regions however care is considered to be tough due to lack of humidity in indoor areas.

Visit our website or follow our blog to meet more trees and shrubs or

Friday, April 10, 2020

Paper Mulberry - Broussonetia papyrifera

The Paper Mulberry - Broussonetia papyrifera, is a deciduous fast growing tree that reaches heights of only about 30-60 feet tall.  Paper Mulberry grows in an erect fashion with a single or multiple trunk, often producing root sprouts and branching low to the ground, the crown is broad and rounded.  Originally introduced from Asia in the mid 1700's  it is cultivated and established in the Eastern united States from Delaware to Southern Illinois on South from Florida to eastern Texas.

Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

The bark of the Paper Mulberry is smooth, tan in color and occasionally furrowed.  The twigs are brown with scattered, slightly raised lenticels and long spreading transparent hairs.  The leaves are alternate, opposite and whorled, simple, ovate, with a rounded base, and flattened heart shaped or broad wedge shape, toothed along edges.  Upper leaf surfaces are dark brown green in color becoming deep green with age.  The lower surface is hairy, velvety at maturity.  The flowers are unisex, tiny, with male and female produced on separate trees, female inflorence occur in a rounded cluster, the male are elongated cylindric catkin 3-8 cm long occurring in Spring.  The fruit matures in Summer and is rounded in a ball like cluster of fleshy calyces that are 2-3 cm in diameter, each calyx encloses a red or orange achene that visibly protrudes on ripe fruit.

Image Citation: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia,

Broussonetia is a genus of only 4 species all are from East Asia or the Pacific Islands.  Paper Mulberry is recommended for hardiness zones 4-8. Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Silktree / Mimosa - Albizia julibrissin

The Silktree - Albizia julibrissin is most commonly known as the Mimosa.  It is most easily recognized by the combination of bipinnate leaves and pinkish inflorescence.  It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 50 feet tall and generally has a single erect trunk that lead to several low large ascending branches with an umbrella like spreading crown.  

Image Citation: Lesley Ingram,

The bark is light grey in color and either smooth or slightly rough.  The leaves are alternate, bipinnate, with 5-15 evenly paired segments with 13-35 pairs per segment.  The upper surface of the leaves are a yellow green in color, with the under size is paler and lightly hairy.  The flowers on the Silktree are bisexual, radially symmetric and produced in a showy head that is 4-6 cm in diameter.  The center of each flower is surrounded by long filaments of pink and white which make up the showy portions of the inflorence.  The fruit is a flattened legume, yellow to brown in color about 15 cm long with evident flat seeds.  The fruit matures in late summer through Fall.

Image Citation: Lesley Ingram,
Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Originally from Asia, the Silktree (Mimosa) is now established across much of the Eastern United States from New York in the North through Florida in the South, West through Missouri and in portions of California.  It is considered to be invasive in many areas of the United States because of it's tolerance level and ability to grow in not very ideal locations.

Meet more trees on our Website or follow our blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Umbrella Magnolia - Magnolia tripetala

Umbrella Magnolia - Magnolia tripetala is a small that reaches heights of only 30-40 feet tall and not usually more then 1 foot in diameter. It is most easily identified by it's smooth, thin, gray leather like bark and crooked form. The bark is so thin that when pressed on with your fingernail it will leave a slight indent, this indent will recover once the pressure is released. Umbrella Magnolia is named for the open umbrella like positioning of the leaves within the canopy.

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

The leaves of the Umbrella Magnolia are 10-24 inches long and 5-10 inches wide. Each leaf has a pointed tip that slowly rounds/tapers back to the pointed base. The leaf edges are smooth, occasionally waving up and down along the length of each leaf. The flowers bloom in mid summer and are large in size, fragrant and showy. The fruit of the Umbrella Magnolia is egg shaped and rose colored, maturing in the fall and cracking open at it's many small vertical slits to release red berries.

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

Most often the Umbrella Magnolia is planted as an ornamental because of it's leaves and showy white flowers. It is found growing from Southern Pennsylvania and Indiana through Georgia and Mississippi in the South. Recommended for hardiness zones 5-8, it is most commonly found growing in moist woodland type soils, in full sun or partial shade. Umbrella Magnolias appreciate consistent/regular moisture throughout the year, and are considered to be intolerant of soil extremes.

Meet more trees on our website or follow our blog

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Green/Red Ash - Fraxinus Pennsylvannica

The Green/Red Ash - (Fraxinus Pennsylvannica) is a medium to large, deciduous tree that is native to Eastern/Central North America. This range begins in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Western Colorado in the North and continues through Texas in the Southwest and Northern Florida in the Southeast. It has slowly becoming naturalized in many parts of the Western United States and Central Europe. It grows in a Oval or Upright form.

Ash varieties are known to frequently cross or hybridize with one another sometimes causing much confusion with experts trying to positively identify a species. Botanists have recorded that Red and Green Ash were in fact two different species at one time but have completely hybridized to no longer have any unique or differentiating features. The Green/Red Ash are the most widely distributed of all of the American Ashes. Fraxinus Pennsylvanica is a member of the Oleaceae family which also includes Olive, Lilac, Jasmine and Forsythia - all of which are woody trees or shrubs.

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

When young the bark is smooth and gray, becoming thick and fissured with age. The pinnately compound leaves contain leaflets which range in number from five to eleven, but usually contain seven to nine. The underside of the leaves are hairy, which is a feature that is unique to only this species of Ash. Each leaflet ranges in size from 2-8 inches long and 1/2 - 3 inches wide. The leaves are green in color both above and below, changing to a golden yellow in the fall. Fall coloring usually begins to occur beginning in early September depending on the hardiness zone and weather patterns. Flowers appear in the Spring usually around the same time as the leaves, they occur in very compact panicles. The flowers are small and inconspicuous with no visable petals and are wind pollinated. The fruit or samara is 1-3 inches long, each contains a single seed with an attached elongated apical wing. Winter buds are velvety in texture and red-brown in color. Large annual seed crops provide a good food source for wildlife and birds such as Cardinals, Finches, and Wood Ducks.

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

Green/Red Ash numbers have been greatly impacted by the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. The Emerald Ash Borer is a small beetle that was introduced accidentally from Asia, these varieties of Ash trees have zero resistance to this pest which has led to devastating results. Prior to the introduction of Emerald Ash Borer, Green/ Red Ash were used extensively as an ornamental or street to replace many American Elms (which were almost completely lost between 1950-1960 from Dutch Elm Disease) this high volume of plantings actually facilitated the spread of the borer as they had plenty of trees to feed on and infest. Many cities have learned from the high volume of loss, not just the Elms but the Ash as well, most now replant lost or damaged trees with a variety of species to prevent such widespread damage/loss should another disease or insect pose a future risk.

Meet More Trees on our website: or follow our blog

Monday, April 6, 2020

Fatwood is also known as Lightwood, Pine Knot, Rich Lighter or Fat Lighter

Fatwood is also known as Lightwood, Pine Knot, Rich Lighter or Fat Lighter originates from the heartwood of Pine trees (Coniferous tree sap).  Stumps and Tap root remaining after a tree has fallen or been removed is a good primary source of Fatwood.  The heartwood of Pines is impregnated with resins that make them rot resistant and hard.  In woods settings Fatwood can also be harvested from the limb intersections and can be used as a firestarter.  Most resinous Pines in the United States can produce Fatwood it is most commonly associated with Pinus palustris Longleaf Pine.

Terpene is one of the main components of Fatwood (Coniferous tree sap), it is a viscous liquid and a volatile hydrocarbon.  Terpene is highly flammable and is used for both kindling and as a fire starter, even in wet conditions it will burn and maintain a high enough heat to light even larger pieces of wood.  When using Fatwood to create tinder one would shave small curls and use them to light larger pieces of tinder, gradually working up to larger pieces of wood until a hot rolling fire is created.  It is recommended that Fatwood not be used for cooking as the pitch soaked wood produces an oily sooty smoke that can transfer to foods.

Worldwide there are 100-125 species that can be classified as resinous pine trees around the world.  Distributed around the world in various forms, some of those forms include Scots Pine, Siberian Dwarf Pine, Sumatran Pine, Jack Pine, Loblolly Pine and Caribbean Pine.  The area with the most naturally distributed diversity in the genus is between Mexico and California.  Fatwood can be found anywhere there is a pine tree or even an old pine stump, it is most concentrated and best preserved in stumps.

There are many uses for Fatwood and other resins outside of firestarting.  Fatwood is used industrially in the production of turpentine, when fatwood is cooked down in a fire kiln.  Steam that vaporizes from the cooking process and becomes a liquid, that liquid becomes turpentine.  Cutler's resin is used in the production of knife handles.  Resin is used as an ingredient in most nail polishes.  Turpentine and Pine Oil are used in many common household chemicals.

For more tree facts or to learn more about the trees in your area visit our website or follow our Meet A Tree Blog

Friday, April 3, 2020

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

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

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 cupule that usually contains 2 angled or ridged nuts (occasionally 1 or 3).

Image Citation (close up of bark): Wendy VanDyk Evans,
Image Citation (Fall Foliage):T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

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.

Meet More Trees on our website or follow our blog

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Eastern Redbud - Cercis canadensis

The Eastern Redbud - Cercis canadensis, is most easily recognized by the combination of Magenta flowers, flattened legumes and heart shaped leaves. It is a deciduous tree that ranges in height from 25-45 feet tall. Growing in an erect from with a single trunk, low branches and a rounded crown. It is native throughout the East from Ontario, New York and Massachusetts in the North and Central Florida to Texas in the South. It prefers moist or dry woodlands, sloped area and roadsides.

Image Citation: Carl Dennis, Auburn University,

The Eastern Redbud is easy to identify by it's flowers, leaves, legumes and bark. The bark is gray-brown in color and mostly smooth. The leaves are alternate, simple, unifoliolate, heart shaped or abruptly pointed. The leaves are dull in sheen, medium to dark green in color, hairless, and paler in color on the lower surfaces. The flowers are bi-sexual 10-12 mm long, 5 sepals, 5 petals, 10 stamens, light to dark pink or magenta in color appearing in Spring prior to the new leaves. The fruit is a flattened and oblong legume that is 6-10 cm long and appears in late Summer to Autumn.

Image Citation: Margaret Pooler,
Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University,

Cercis is a small genus of only 8 species, 2 of which are native to North America and most are often low branching. The Eastern Redbud is most often used as an ornamental and is often planted in combination with the Flowering Dogwood. The Eastern Redbud is recommended for hardiness zones 4-9. This tree is considered both a flowering tree and an ornamental tree and is planted for both reasons. It is typically planted for both its visual interest and beautiful showing of Spring flowers.
You can meet more trees on our website or follow our blog at or