Thursday, December 31, 2020

Pondcypress - Taxidium ascendens

 The Pondcypress - Taxidium ascendens is a very large deciduous tree that can reach heights of over 100 feet and live to be over 500 years old.  It is most commonly found growing in very moist areas, swamps or even shallow ponds.  When growing in water the tree forms knee like structures around the base of the tree, this unique rooting habit makes the tree able to withstands high winds.  The wood of the mature Pondcypress is highly prized for it's rot and termite resistant properties.  When young the tree grows in a conical shape, with age it will begin losing it's lower limbs and the trunk will become deeply fluted.  


Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org


Pondcypress leaves are in the form of 1/4 inch long needles that are lime green in color and loosely woven around thin soft center twigs that curve slightly out from the main branches.  In the fall the lime green leaves change in color, first to yellow and then to a red-brown before falling off.  To the untrained eye the Pondcypress may appear to be a dead evergreen tree during this time, this is not the case as the Pondcypress is deciduous in nature (meaning it loses it's leaves each fall/winter).  The fruit balls of the Pondcypress are rounded in shape, rough on the surface and silver gray in color.  The fruit balls appear in the Summer and in the Fall open to release their seeds before falling off.  During the Winter season the Pondcypress and Baldcypress appear almost identical and can be easily confused for one another. 


Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org


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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Broadleaf Mistletoe - Phoradendron spp.

 Broadleaf Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) is an evergreen plant that is parasitic in nature, it grows freely on a variety of large landscape trees. Some deciduous host trees of broadleaf mistletoe include Apple, Ash, Birch, Boxelder, Cottonwood, Locust, Maple, Oaks Walnut and Zelkova to name a few. Conifers are not found to often be host of the Broadleaf variety, but can host the dwarf varieties.


Mistletoe plants often develop in rounded form and can reach upwards of two feet in diameter. The plants develop small whitish colored berries that are sticky to the touch. Mistletoe plants are leafy and evergreen becoming most visible in the winter when the deciduous host trees have dropped their leaves. The plants are either female (berry producers) or male (pollen producing only). Many birds feed on the berries and excrete the living seeds which stick to any branch they land on. Older and large trees are often the first to be infested because birds prefer to perch on higher limbs. The down side of this is a heavy build up of mistletoe is most likely to occur in these same larger trees as the birds enjoy feeding on the berries of the mature Mistletoe plants. Often times growths in the upper branches will drop seeds to the lower sections below, spreading the growth even more. Dwarf Mistletoe does not spread in the same way as Broadleaf, instead it's seeds are forcibly discharged from the fruit, dispersing up to 40 feet away.




Image Citations (Photos 1 & 2): Paul A. Mistretta, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Once a seed is in place the seed will germinate, during this time it will begin to grow through the bark of the tree and into the tree's water conducting tissues. Within the tissues, structures similar to roots form, they are called haustoria. Haustoria will spread as the parasitic bush grows and spread. Young growths are slow growing and may take years before they bloom for the first time, their succulent stems become woody over time at the base of each growth. Even if an entire visible growth is removed from it's host plant, it will often resprout directly from the haustoria that is embedded into the host. On the other hand dwarf mistletoe is not woody when mature and is segmented with small scale-like leaves.

Mistletoe can be harmful to a tree that is already weakened but generally does not harm normal, healthy trees. It is possible for individual limbs and branches from healthy trees to become weak or die back. In instances of heavy infestation the entire tree may be stunted, weakened or killed if there are other factors such as disease or drought.

The most effective way to control mistletoe is to remove the infested branches, this will eliminate the haustoria which will prevent re-sprouting. Infested branches must be cut at least 1-2 feet from the base of attachment to be sure you are removing all of the haustoria from the inner tissues of the host. In cases of heavy infestation it may be recommended to remove the entire tree as you can not safely remove more then a portion of the trees crown without causing severe damage or death to the tree itself. If you are not able to prune the tree to eliminate the growth, completely removing the visible mistletoe growth annually will often help limit the spread as only mature growths can produce seeds.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

White Pines - Pinus strobus

 White Pines - Pinus strobus are a large growing evergreen with blue-green needles that are generally 2 1/2-5 inches long.  The needles grow very densely on the branches.  Pines are different from other conifers/evergreens, their needles grow in sheathed groups of 2,3 or 5.  It is a tall tree with straight gray-brown trunk and horizontal growing branches.  The cones are small and slender rarely growing longer then 3-6 inches.  White Pines can live on average 200-250 years although there are a few recorded to be over 400 years old.  Growing about 3 feet per year between the ages of 15-45, but at a slower rate in the juvenille and mature stages before and after that point-they can reach heights well over 150 feet tall, one record holder came in at 207 feet (The Boogerman Pine).  



The White Pine has a very wide growth range from the North Eastern United States through Southeastern Canada, this is the only five needled Pine that grows East of the Rocky Mountains.  Another five needled Pine found in the United States is the Sugar Pine, this is only found in the West. Thought to have originally covered most of the Eastern United States, there are only 1% of the original old growth forests remaining, after the extensive logging operations that occured in the early 20th century.  It is found in the neartic temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome of Eastern North America.  Prefering well drained/sandy soils and humid climate, it also performs well in boggy areas and rocky highlands.  This tree towers over most others including many broadleaf hardwoods and provides food and shelter to many small mammals and numerous forest birds.



   




Image Citations (Photo 1 & 2): Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Red Spruce - Picea rubens

 The Red Spruce - Picea rubens is a small-mid sized tree that can reach 50-80 feet tall. Red Spruce is a long lived tree that can live to be well over 400 years old. Red Spruce can be found growing from Canada in the North through North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia in the South. The branches on the Red Spruce are close in proximity to one another, growing straight out from the trunk and gently sweeping upward near the ends. The wood of Red Spruce is light in color and weight, straight grained, and resilient. This type of lumber is used for making paper, construction lumber, and stringed musical instruments.



Image Citation: Keith Kanoti, Maine Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Red Spruce is moneocious, with male and female flower buds occurring on the same tree but different branches, each year in May. The pendant male flowers are bright red while the female flowers are erect and bright green in color with a hint of purple. The seeds are small and winged, borne in cones. Cones mature from about mid-September to early October, the autumn following flowering. Cones are 1.3 - 1.5 in long, light red-brown, with rigid, rounded scales that are slightly toothed on the edges. Cones are receptive to pollen only when fully open, a condition which lasts briefly for only a few days. The needles are easily identified, they are shiny yellow-green on all sides and point out in all directions very much like porcupine quills. The needles are stiff 3/8 - 5/8 inch long, sharply pointed, four sided and awe shaped.


Image Citation: Georgette Smith, Canadian Forest Service, Bugwood.org

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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.  It is a native northern Cypress with scale like leaves, flattened twigs that are grouped in fan shaped sprays with bilaterally symmetric cones.  Found mostly on limestone - derived soils, in swamp areas, riparian areas on cliff and 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: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org


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: Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org

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 one of the longest lived trees in Eastern North America, it can live up to 1890 years.


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

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.



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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Atlantic White Cedar - Chamaecyparis thyoides

 The Atlantic White Cedar - Chamaecyparis thyoides is a small cedar with irregular rounded cones.  It is also known regionally as the Post Cedar or the Swamp Cedar.  It is a member of the Cupressaceae (Cypress) Family.  A monoecious evergreen tree that grows to up to 120 feet tall on rare occasions but averages 40-60 feet tall.  It generally appears with a single straight trunk and spire shaped crown.  The tree mostly occurs in bogs and swamps or in highly acidic soils, they also form pure stands within forests dominated by other species.  It appears naturally along the Atlantic coastal plain from Maine to South Carolina and along the Gulf Coast Plain from Florida to Mississippi. 




Image Citations (Photos 1-3): Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The bark is flaky at first becoming a red-brown with age, often furrowing into long spirals with thin peeling strips.  The branches become fan shaped sprays with age that are flattened.   The leaves are scale like and slightly overlapping often with a small rounded resin gland, the stomata form a white X on the lower surface.  The seeds appear in cones, they are rounded but generally not symmetrical.  When mature the cones are relatively small only 4-9 mm wide and long.  They are either bluish-purple to reddish-brown, glaucous, not very resinous and made up of 6-8 woody scales. The cones mature and open within 1 year, within the cones the seeds occur 1-2 per scale and are 2-3 mm long with a narrow wing.  It is monoecious, but the staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on separate shoots.  The flowers appear in the summer but are so small they often are unnoticed by the untrained eye, they remain on the tree untill late fall or early winter.





The Atlantic White Cedar has become a very popular ornamental, with over thirty cultivars on the market today. The climate throughout most of the range of Atlantic White Cedar is classed as humid but varies widely in all other aspects. It is recommended for hardiness zones 3a-8b.  Average annual precipitation needed is 40 to 64 in and is best distributed throughout the year. The frost-free season required for optimum growth is 140 to 305 days. Temperature extremes range from -36° F during Maine's winter to highs of over 100° F during the Summer seasons in the Southern range.  It is often times confused with other similar appearance trees such as the Arborvitae (Thuja occidentolis) which also has branches forming fan like sprays and the Port Oxford Cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) an ornamental found commonly in the East.  The wood is very light and decay resistant but has not been logged heavily since the 20th century. 

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Slash Pine - Pinus elliottii

 The Slash Pine - Pinus elliottii is a tall, straight, deciduous tree that can reach heights of 60-100 feet on average.  Growing in an upright fashion, Slash Pine generally does not have lower limbs along the trunk but has a dense rounded crown.  It is native to the United States mainly in the South from South Eastern-South Carolina, throughout all of Florida, and along the Gulf Coast through Louisiana.  The Slash Pine is a rapid grower with a desirable form and natural resistance to southern Pine beetles, because of this it is widely planted along the coastal plain for timber production. 



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

The trunk of the Slash Pine is mainly limb free, covered with large, flat, purple-brown bark plates and topped by a dense rounded crown with dark green needles.  The needles are dark green, lustrous, stiff and 6-10 inches long in bundles of two or three.  The needles grow in clusters near the ends of otherwise bare orange-brown branches that resemble brooms.  The seeds are winged and borne in cones that range from 5-8 inches long and grow tilted back towards the trunks. 


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



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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Common Whitebeam - Sorbus

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



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

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



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

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

Friday, December 18, 2020

Maple Leaf Oak - Quercus acerfolia

 The Maple Leaf Oak - Quercus acerfolia is a very unique member of the Oak - Quercus Species, Red Oak- Fagaceae family . This particular tree is very rare and can only be found growing wildly in a few upland forest areas in the Ouachita mountains located in West/Central Arkansas. The leaves are Maple like in shape and are broader then they are long, which is unusual for an Oak tree. The Maple Leaf Oak also has a very tiny growth range, made up of only a few counties in Eastern and Central Arkansas. It prefers dry slopes and ridges between 500-800 m and is deciduous in habit. As a member of the Red Oak- Fagaceae family, it also is relatively small reaching maximum heights of only 50 feet tall (which is large in comparison with many other families but not the Oaks).   







The Maple Leaf Oak earned it's name because of the unique leaf shape, they are broadly elliptic to round and shaped like a Maple leaf. The blades f the leaves are 7-14 cm long and 10-15 cm broad.  The yellowish green foliage appears in April, changing to a lovely Red in the Fall. The flowers are insignificant in size and are yellow green in color.  The fruit is an acorn (like other Oaks) 4-7 mm deep, enclosing less than 1/3 of the egg shaped nut. The grayish bark is smooth in early years, but acquires dark ridging on the trunk with maturity.  



Recommended for hardiness zones 5-8 Maple Leaf Oak is considered to be easily grown, drought tolerant and have minimal problems (though like most other Oaks it is susceptible to damage by many insects).  Maple Leaf Oak is closely related to the Shumard Oak - Quercus Shumardii and was for a long time thought to be a variant of that species, in that case it is referred to as Quercus Shumardii var. acerfolia.  Originally recorded in 1926 by Palmer, it was not until recent years that the tree was given it's own full species status because of the difference in not only the leaves but the acorn morphology.   It is ideally planted as a specimen tree or focal point in any garden residential or commercially. Due to it's rarity however, it may be hard to find on the commercial market.


Image Citations (photos 1, 2 & 3):  Missouri Botanical Gardens:  https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/FullImageDisplay.aspx?documentid=4307


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Wednesday, December 16, 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, Bugwood.org 

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 not palatable 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, Bugwood.org

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 beetle 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.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

West Indian Almond - Terminalia catappa

 The West Indian Almond - Terminalia catappa, is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of around 75 feet.  It grows in an erect form, generally with a single straight trunk sometimes becoming wider at the base with age.  It is easily identified in the Fall because of the large whorled leaves that become a bright crimson color in the fall.  Originally introduced from he West Indies but is cultivated and has become naturalized in hammocks and coastal areas of South Florida and the Florida Keys.  It is similar to Wild Almond (Terminalia arjuna), which is also naturalized in Southern Florida but the leaves are more or less oblong or oval rather then distinctively obvate.




Image Citation: Florida Division of Plant Industry , Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

The West Indian Almond has branches borne in whorls that are often drooping.  The bark is smooth and a steely gray when young, becoming scaled with age.  The leaves are alternate, crowded near branch tips in an almost umbrella like form.  The leaves are simple, leathery in texture, narrowing to a short point with margins along the entire leaf.  The upper leaf surface is dark green in color with obvious veining, becoming crimson in the fall.  The flowers are bisexual and unisexual, borne in an elongated spike from the leaf axis, occurring in the early summer each year.  Flowers are absent of petals, having 5 sepals and are green-white in color.  The fruit is a flattened, fleshy, almond shaped drupe, green when young becoming yellow and then finally red or blackish-green when ripe.  The fruit reaches sizes of 5 cm long and matures between late Fall to early Winter.


Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org



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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Dwarf / 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, Bugwood.org

The bark of the Winged Sumac is smooth, brown or reddish brown with numerous visable 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, Bugwood.org

Friday, December 11, 2020

Deciduous Holly (Ilex decidua) or Possumhaw Holly

 The Deciduous Holly (Ilex decidua) or Possumhaw Holly as it is more commonly known is a deciduous Holly tree that reaches heights of only 30 feet tall and grows in an ascending, erect or leaning fashion with a single or multiple trunks.  In open grown specimens the crowns are cylindrical in form and densely foliaged, while in forest grown specimens branches are few. The Possumhaw is native to the Eastern United States from Maryland in the north to Southern Florida in the South, West through Kansas and central Texas.  Most often located between 0-360 m in moist and wet woodlands, floodplains, bottoms, and occasionally dry uplands.  It is similar in appearance to the Carolina Holly but can be distinguished by elliptic rather than oblanceolate leaves.  










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

The leaves of the Possumhaw Holly are alternate most often occurring in closely set clusters on short shoots which leads them to appear to be whorled or opposite, they are distinctly widest towards the tip with a long tapering base.  The upper leaf surfaces are dark green, margins are not visible, edges are bluntly toothed, each tooth tipped with a tiny gland. The twigs are greenish in color when young, becoming greenish brown and then gray at maturity.  The bark is grayish or gray-brown in color, smooth when young becoming slightly rougher with age.  The flowers are greenish white in color with 4-6 petals each, occurring in the Spring each year.  The fruit is a round multi-stone drupe ranging in size from 4-9mm in diameter, varying in color from red to yellow or orange, occurring in the Fall and persisting into Winter.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda

 The Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda -  is a large evergreen tree that can reach heights of 80-100 feet in height.   It is commonly found growing in the Western United States and Canada but is native to the Southeastern United States from Central Florida on North.  It grows in a straight tall fashion with a short spread crown.  It is most commonly found from floodplains and roadsides to well drained hillsides.  Its trunk diameter can reach a very large 6+ feet and it is considered to be a very important timber tree.  The lumber is used for construction, interior finishing, craft wood, paper/pulp production, railroad ties and pilings. The name Loblolly comes from the southern term for the moist hollows or depressions that this particular tree is partial to.



Image Citation:  David Stephens, Bugwood.org

The needles are stiff and sharp tipped, pale green in in clusters of three.  The needles are generally six to nine inches long and yellow-green in color and grow in an almost tufted appearance near the edges of the branches.  The bark is cinnamon colored and appears in scaly plates.  The cones are three-six inches long, reddish brown in color and egg shaped.   The seeds are about 1 inch in size, black-brown in color and rhomboidal winged.  The flowers are monoecious and yellow in color, they appear between May-June depending on the region.  



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


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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda

 The Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda -  is a large evergreen tree that can reach heights of 80-100 feet in height.   It is commonly found growing in the Western United States and Canada but is native to the Southeastern United States from Central Florida on North.  It grows in a straight tall fashion with a short spread crown.  It is most commonly found from floodplains and roadsides to well drained hillsides.  Its trunk diameter can reach a very large 6+ feet and it is considered to be a very important timber tree.  The lumber is used for construction, interior finishing, craft wood, paper/pulp production, railroad ties and pilings. The name Loblolly comes from the southern term for the moist hollows or depressions that this particular tree is partial to.



Image Citation:  David Stephens, Bugwood.org

The needles are stiff and sharp tipped, pale green in in clusters of three.  The needles are generally six to nine inches long and yellow-green in color and grow in an almost tufted appearance near the edges of the branches.  The bark is cinnamon colored and appears in scaly plates.  The cones are three-six inches long, reddish brown in color and egg shaped.   The seeds are about 1 inch in size, black-brown in color and rhomboidal winged.  The flowers are monoecious and yellow in color, they appear between May-June depending on the region.  



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


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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Quickstick - Gliricidia sepium (also called Kakawati)

 The Quickstick - Gliricidia sepium (also called Kakawati), is most easily identified by the combination of pinkish flowers, large blackish colored fruit and oddly number pinnate leaves. It is a small deciduous tree or shrub that reaches heights of only 32 feet tall, generally growing in an erect form with a single upright trunk. Originally introduced from Mexico and Central/Southern America it has been cultivated and established in Southern Florida, especially in Key West.





Image Citation: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org

The leaves of the Quickstick are alternate, pinnate, leaflets are in odd numbers between 7-15, ovate, elliptic or lanceolate in shape with a dull green upper surface that is a dull green in color. The flowers are bisexual, white or pink in color 1.5-2.2 cm long, inflorescence is a raceme occurring at the branch tips. Similar in appearance to the Black Locust, however the Black Locust has white flowers and smaller fruit, their ranges do not overlap so you will not see both in one area.



Friday, December 4, 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, Bugwood.org

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, Bugwood.org

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga Canadensis

 The Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga Canadensis is a very unique evergreen/conifer, this is because it's terminal leader often droops instead of giving the tree a typical pointed top like most in the Pine family. It's natural range begins to the North in Nova Scotia and continues South through Wisconsin and Minnesota, throughout the Alleghany Mountains and South through Georgia and Alabama. It is native to every state along the East Coast with the exception of only Florida in the far South. It is very common in the Mountains of Pennsylvania and Ohio, it is the only Hemlock variety that is native to Ohio. It's hardiness zone is 4-7. In the Southern range it is found only where there is moist air, rocky ridges, valleys, ravines lakeshores and hillsides. In the Northern range it is found in a wider variety of locations including on low rolling hills and even glacial ridges. It most commonly grows in mixed stand settings along with White Pine, Red Oak, Sugar Maple, American Beech, White Ash, and Yellow Birch.




Image Citation: Paul Bolstad, University of Minnesota, Bugwood.org

In Eastern North America the Eastern & Carolina Hemlocks are greatly threatened by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Trees infested with Hemlock Woolly Adelgid can be easily identified by visable egg sacs, which resemble small tufts of cotton clinging to the underside of hemlock branches. Once infested trees generally become a grayish-green instead of there rich healthy green color. This pest feeds on the phloem sap of tender hemlock shoots, and may also inject a toxin while feeding. The resulting desiccation causes the tree to lose needles and not produce new growth. In the northern portion of the Hemlock's range, death typically occurs four to ten years after the initial infestation. Trees that survive the direct effects of the infection are usually weakened and may die from secondary causes. This pest has been identified as active in 11 states within the Hemlocks growth range causing major concern for the future of these majestic trees.



Image Citation: USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station , USDA Forest Service, SRS, Bugwood.org

The Eastern Hemlock does not begin to produce cones until about the age of 15. The brown cones are relatively small only 1/2-1 inch in length and usually not more then a 1/2 inch wide. Once the cones begin production they come in high volume and for many many years, some specimen have been found producing cones even at 450+ years old. Seed viability is generally low, even though there are a large number of cones produced. The Hemlocks seed is easily damaged by drying. They regenerate best on exposed decomposing layers under 70-80% crown cover, in rotten logs or stumps or mounds where the temperature is warmest among the forest floor.



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

The Eastern Hemlock grows in an upright primarily conical fashion with long branches that often droop at the ends. At full maturity they can average 100 feet tall but have been found growing as tall as 170+ feet. The bark is brown, scaly and fissured . The bark was once used commonly as a source of tannin or the leather industry. The needles are evergreen and flat, usually 5-25 mm long and set on each branch with peg like projection.

The wood is not of a high enough quality furniture making. It is used for light framing material, boxes, crates and even pulping. It is not considered an important timber tree in today's market. Commercial stands have been greatly reduced by prior harvesting and lack of replanting.

The Eastern Hemlock can be used as a specimen tree, planted in groups for screening, or even trained/sheared over time into formal evergreen hedgerows. It is tolerant of full shade and has a natural open growth habit.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora

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





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

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


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

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

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