Friday, December 31, 2021

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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Thursday, December 30, 2021

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


Friday, December 24, 2021

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 22, 2021

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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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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, December 6, 2021

Mountain (Fraser) Magnolia - Magnolia fraseri

  The Mountain (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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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

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. 

Eugenia (Stoppers) - Eugenia

  The genus Eugenia  (Stoppers) - Eugenia is made up of approximately 1000 species distributed throughout the tropical areas 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.  



Image Citation (Eugenia uniflora)
Juan Campá, MGAP, Bugwood.org

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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Monday, November 29, 2021

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.  




Image Citation:
Joseph LaForest, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

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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Monday, November 22, 2021

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 Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org


Thursday, November 18, 2021

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


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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Monday, November 15, 2021

Lilac Chastetree - Vitex agnus-castus

  The Lilac Chastetree - 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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Thursday, November 11, 2021

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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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

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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Monday, November 8, 2021

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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Thursday, November 4, 2021

Golden Dewdrops - Duranta erecta

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



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

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

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

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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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Thursday, October 28, 2021

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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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Lombardy Poplar - Populus nigra italica

  The Lombardy Poplar - Populus nigra "italica" - is an upright/erect form of the European Black Poplar.  This tree was originally spread by cuttings in the Po Valley of Italy and introduced in Britain in 1758, It's spread continued rapidly through Europe once introduced.   Today this tree can also be found in every state in the United States and throughout Southern Canada.  The roots of the Lombardy Poplar are considered to be invasive, they seek water sources (like drain pipes and ditches) and spread very much like Bamboo. Even when the tree is removed and the stump ground out the root system will remain and often resprout in another location nearby.  



Image Citation: Zelimir Borzan, University of Zagreb, Bugwood.org
Description: Branchlet with male catkins (a - f) and a closed terminal vegetative bud of a new leader (k). - 2. Branchlet with female catkins (g - i, l) and closed terminal vegetative bud (k). - 3. Branchlet with developed shoots and with ripe fruit-catkins (a, b). There are numerous seeds in a capsule. Stipules at n. - 4. Seedling with cotyledons and first ordinary leaves. - 5. Winter-branchlet. After Hempel & Wilhelm, 1889. Photos and explanations from the book: Zelimir Borzan. "Tree and Shrub Names in Latin, Croatian, English, and German, with synonyms", University of Zagreb, 2001.

 It has shown notable decline in some regions of North America due to pests and disease, most notably Borers, Cankers and Bacterial Wet wood.  Pest damage to the Lombardy Poplar is commonly seen in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Idaho and Montana-but is by far at it's worst in Texas.  With the exception of the areas most prone to pests this tree seems to thrive in North America, especially in the Southern Canadian range.  Professional Landscapers, Arborist and Tree Experts are not very quick to recommend planting of Lombardy Poplars because of their relatively short life span, on average only 15 years.  They do however offer a rapid growth rate, perfect for creating a privacy screen in a shorter amount of time then the much slower growing more long lasting Spruce or Arborvitae (for those of us who may be a bit impatient!).




Image Citation: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org 

With their upright nature the Lombardy Poplar tends to begin branching out close to the ground.  When mature they can reach average heights of  40-50 feet tall, but a spread of only 10-15 feet.  In the Spring and Summer their leaves are a crisp green changing to a golden yellow in the Fall. They are recommended to be planted in zones 3-9.
If you like the appearance of this tree but do not want to take on the high risk for the reward, the more pest resistant alternative is the European Aspen - Populus tremula "erecta" it has a similar appearance and growth habit.



  

Monday, October 25, 2021

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.




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

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.

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Friday, October 22, 2021

Pitch Pine - Pinus rigida

  The Pitch Pine - Pinus rigida is a 3 needle pine with random or adventitious branch habit and clustered cones.  The tree can grow either upright or with a crooked trunk, always with an irregularly shaped rounded crown.  Reaching heights upwards of 100 feet and 36 inches dbh (diameter at breast height) at maturity.  It is native to upland or lowland sites that may considered otherwise infertile, sandy dry or even boggy type soils are all suitable for the Pitch Pine.  It can be found at elevations ranging from 0-1400 m from Georgia in the South to Maine and Quebec in the North.  The Pitch Pine is the dominant tree in the Pine barren forest of New Jersey, however in the rest of it's growth region it is secondary to the Virginia (Scrub) Pine, Table Mountain Pine, Eastern White Pine, Atlantic White Cedar, and various types of Oak (depending on the region).



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

The Pitch Pine has the ability to resprout even when cut off at the base of the tree, this makes it extremely hardy and able to survive even after forest fires which can kill off anything green.  The wood of the Pitch Pine is considered to be decay resistant, this is due to the high resin content.  Pitch Pine lumber has been used in Ship Building, for Mine Props, as Railway ties and distilled to produce Pitch.  Pitch Pine is considered to be ecologically important in its native range as it is an important forest tree and the seeds are a foraging source for wildlife in the Winter.

The bark of the Pitch Pine is red-brown in color and deeply furrowed with long irregularly shaped, flat scaly ridges.  The needles are 5-10 cm long straight, stiff, sharp and a deep green to yellow green in color, occurring in bundles of 3 (rarely 5) that are held within a sheath that is 9-12 mm long.  The pollen cone in approximately 20 mm long and yellow in color, while the seed cone is often clustered 3-9 cm long and a light reddish brown color.  Cones on the Pitch Pine can remain on the tree for many years.


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

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

American Basswood - Tilia americana

  The American Basswood - Tilia americana, is most easily recognized by the combination of alternate, two ranked, and heart shaped leaves that are asymmetric at the base and the leafy bract subtending the flowers and fruit.  It is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of 60-100 feet tall that grows in an erect form with a single trunk.  The crown of the American Basswood is ovoid or rounded with numerous slender branches.  



Image Citation: Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org

The bark of the American Basswood is smooth and dark gray when young, becoming furrowed with vertical ridges.  The leaves are alternate, simple, 2 ranked, ovate, heart shaped and ovate at the base.  The upper surface of the leaves are a dark yellowish green, hairless with conspicuous veins, while the lower leaf surface is a paler green color and lightly haired.  The blades of the leaves are 12-15 cm long and 7-10 cm wide.  The flowers are yellowish white with 5 sepals, 5 petals and inflorescence.  The fruit is a rounded thick-shelled gray nut that is about 6 mm broad, maturing in Autumn.  


Image Citation: Wendy VanDyk Evans, Bugwood.org


The American Basswood is native to the rich and deciduous woods of North America, it is widespread in the East from New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in the North to Central Florida and Texas in the South.  

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Glossy Buckthorn - Frangula alnus

  The Glossy Buckthorn - Frangula alnus is a deciduous small tree or shrub that reaches heights of 20-25 feet.  Generally growing with multiple erect trunks in a shrubby form, with a stout crown.  Originally introduced from Europe about 200 years ago, Glossy Buckthorn has become established in weedy bogs, and other wetland areas.  Found as far North as Saskatchewan and Quebec South to West Virginia and Tennessee and West to Idaho and Colorado.  The Glossy Buckthorn is considered to be invasive in many areas and is treated as an invasive species in most Mid-Western wetland areas. 



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

Named for it's lustrous or glossy upper leaf surfaces, the Glossy Buckthorn is also easily identified by it's shrubby habit and clusters of red, purple or black drupes.  The bark of the Glossy Buckthorn is smooth and gray-brown in color with visible horizontal lenticels.  Young twigs are void of thorns and slender in form.  The leaves are alternate, oblong or oval in shape, with a rounded base and sharply pointed tip, sometimes having a wavy overall appearance.  The upper leaf surface is a dark lustrous or glossy green, while the undersides are a dull paler green.  Each leaf surface contains 5-9 pairs of obvious parallel lateral veins that curve to follow the margins.  The fall foliage turns a bright yellow and tends to remain on the tree/shrub long after others have lost their leaves. The flowers are bisexual, small in size and a creamy green or yellow-green in color, occurring in clusters at leaf axils each Spring.  The fruit is a rounded drupe, usually containing 2 seeds, 5-10 mm in diameter.  The fruit is red when young becoming a purple-black with maturity in the late Summer season.  


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


The Glossy Buckthorn is suited for hardiness zones 3-7 however it is not a recommended planting as it can overtake native species easily.  It's seeds are spread by various types of wildlife including birds and small mammals.  It easily adapts to not ideal growing conditions such as full sun, little sun and even high soil pH levels.  



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