The Horse Chestnut - Aesculus hippocastanum, is only native to a very small area of Mountains between Greece and Albania- it was not discovered/recorded until 1596. Once discovered it was rapidly planted and spread almost all over Europe in the early 1600's, then later by the early colonists of North America. It is a very common street tree from Ontario to Virginia. In the West it's spread ranges from British Columbia down through New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. It is one of the more common street trees in the United States and has naturalized in most regions. Growing to heights of 50-75 feet at maturity, this tree can live upwards of 300 years so when planted correctly it can be considered a permanent addition to most landscapes. It is recommended to be planted in hardiness zones 4-7
Friday, January 29, 2021
Thursday, January 28, 2021
The Sweetgum - Liquidambar styraciflua, is a deciduous tree that reaches heights of up to 132 feet. It is most easily identified by it's palmately lobed, almost star shaped leaves and spiked fruiting balls (which are even called some not so nice names when an unknowing party steps on one). Generally Sweetgums grow in a upright fashion, with a single erect trunk with little branching on the lower 1/2, this is especially true when grown in woodland or forest areas. The Sweetgum is a member of the Altingiaceae family, this family has members in North and Central America, Southeast Asia and Turkey - it includes 2 genera and 13 species, only 1 that is native to the United States. The Sweetgum is also called to as Gum, Gum Ball, Monkey Ball, or Sweet Gum.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
The Leitneriaceae Family currently only contains one single species, the Corkwood Leiterneria floridana. The Corkwood is a very sporadically distributed species found only in Northern Florida, Southeastern Texas, Eastern Arkansas and the far Southeastern region of Missouri. It is most commonly found growing in swamp areas, depressions, ponds, roadside ditches or bordering tidal marshes. It is easily recognized in it's native regions by it's very upright form combined with elliptical leaves, catkins, and tan colored lenticels found within the red-brown bark. The Leitneriaceae florida is included on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as a "Near Threatened/Lower Risk" species because of its very small number (limited by a very small native range), thought they do not show a significant decline in the population. Leiterneria floridana was only first discovered in 1835, in the saline marshes of Florida where the Apalachicola River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
The "Strawberry" Tree - Arbutus unedo, is a small tree in the Ericaceae family, that is native to the Mediterranean Region & Western Europe including Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Eastern Italy, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Ireland, and Southern France. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree only reaching an average height of only 30 feet, with very few found as tall as 50 feet. It is sometimes called the Cane Apple, Irish or Killarney Strawberry Tree due to it's numbers in Ireland.
Monday, January 25, 2021
The Chinkapin (Chinquapin) Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii is a medium to large deciduous tree. The name Chinkapin originated from the strong resemblance to the Allegheny Chinquapin Castanea pumila (a relative of the American Chestnut). At full maturity the Chinkapin can reach heights of 70 feet with a broad and rounded crown. It is a slow to moderate grower that does best in zones 3-9. Although native to these zones, Chinkapin Oak is sporadic within its range and is seldom a dominant species in a woodland. Its common associates include White, Bur and Black Oaks, Ironwood, Red Cedar and Hickories. Chinkapin Oak prefers well drained soils, bottom-lands, limestone ridges, or along stream edges. It is also commonly found on bluffs, ridge tops, and rocky, south facing slopes.
Friday, January 22, 2021
The Black Maple - Acer nigrum (also called the Black Sugar Maple, Hard Maple, or Rock Maple) is a medium sized deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 80 feet tall. The tree generally has a relatively short trunk with large rounded crown full of long upward reaching branches.
Image Citation: T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
The Cashew Tree Anacardium occidentale is a tropical evergreen that produces the Cashew seed and Cashew Apple. Reaching heights of around 45 feet it is not a large tree by any means. The trunk is generally short and irregular in form. The dwarf variety is considered to be more profitable having earlier production maturity and higher yields at around 20 ft tall. Native to Brazil, Portuguese colonist were recorded to export the tree and nuts as early as 1550. Currently there is major Cashew production occurring in Vietnam, India, Nigeria and The Ivory Coast. During the 21st century Cashew cultivation has significantly increased to meet new demands for manufacturing of Cashew Milk a plant based alternative to Dairy Milk. In 2017, globally the production of Cashews was measured in tonnes at 3,971,046 with the leading producer being Vietnam 22%, India 19% and the Ivory Coast 18%. Benin, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Mozambique and Tanzania are all also notable producers.
We recently visited Saint Lucia (one stop on a cruise) and while there we toured the Drive In Volcano / Geothermal Area near Soufrière. There at the site just on the edge of the overlook was a lone Cashew tree, the first I have ever seen in person (and not in a book) so I was quite intrigued. The tour guide explained how the Cashew was not native to the island, but was introduced over 100 years ago and is now found throughout the island. She also explained in depth about the risks of eating or handling an "unprocessed" Cashew because of what she called the "poisonous shell". The tree itself appeared to be mature between 35-40 ft tall and has had obvious damage from what I assume to be weather combined with tourist over the years. Perched at the edge of the overlook it is only protected by a small rail system but otherwise is right in the flow of foot traffic. It's trunk is irregular and gnarly in appearance and part of the canopy appears to have broken out well before our visit, though it still hangs on directly above the (Smelly) Sulphur Springs bubbling below. Another testament to the strength and determination we so often see in nature.
Monday, January 18, 2021
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.
Friday, January 15, 2021
The Swamp Tupelo - sylvatica var. biflora (AKA Swamp Blackgum), is most often found as a small tree but can reach heights of over 80 feet tall. The Swamp Tupelo is filled with small branches that grow in almost perfect right angles from the trunk forming an open but unkempt crown. Mature trees often develop swelling near the base of their trunks. Bees are often found around Swamp Tupelo as they gather the flower pollen to produce Tupelo Honey which is highly prized. Their sour fruits are grazed upon by a variety of small mammals and birds. The soft wood is not commercially important but is sometimes used in local applications where a rot resistant wood is required. Swamp Tupelo prefers to grow in shallow moving water or swamp lands, and can be found from Maryland in the North through Florida in the South and west through eastern Texas and North along the Mississippi River to Illinois.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
The American Smoketree - Cotinus obovatus is a small tree that does not reach heights of more then 35 feet tall. Generally having a short trunk and a full crown with widely spaced branches. American Smoketree is used on a limited basis as an ornamental and is valued for it's distinctive smoky plumed flowers and dark red fall coloring. This rare specimen is found growing on rock bluffs and in limestone glades from eastern Tennessee and Northern Alabama west through Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
The Black Jack Oak - Quercus marilandica, is a small to mid sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of only 15 - 45 feet tall. Black Jack Oak often grows in an irregular shape with an open crown and crooked branches. It is one of the fews Red Oaks that produce and store a substance called tyloses, this substance seals the vessels and make the wood watertight. The small trees lumber is not highly valuable because of it's small size and knotty qualities it is used for fence posts, wooden water buckets, railroad ties, firewood and charcoal. Black Jack Oak is native to dry, sandy or soils from Iowa in the West, New Jersey and New York in the North, South through Florida, West through Texas and Northern Nebraska.
Monday, January 11, 2021
The Blue Ash - Fraxinus quadrangulata is a medium sized deciduous ash tree that is native to the Midwestern portion of the the United States. It is most commonly found from Oklahoma North through Michigan, into the Bluegrass regions of Kentucky and lower Nashville basin of Tennessee. There are also small isolated populations growing in small areas of the Appalachian Mountains, Alabama and Southern Ontario. On average the height at maturity can range from 30 - 85 feet depending on the terrain, location and soil type the tree is growing in.
Friday, January 8, 2021
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
Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
The Winged Elm - Ulmus alata, is a small to medium sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of less then 50 feet tall and usually not more than 1.5 feet in diameter. The Winged Elm has a generally wide, rounded crown that is made up of long slender branches many of which are winged with wide, cork like ridges on either side making the tree easier to identify. It is sometimes also referred to as the Cork Elm or Wahoo. Winged Elm is common in the Southern portion of the United States and can be found easily from Virginia south through Florida and West through Texas.
Monday, January 4, 2021
The Carolina Hemlock - Tsuga caroliniana, is a member of the Pinaceae (Pine) family and of the genus Tsuga. It is Native to areas with nutrient poor soil and low risk of fire, most often found growing slong side mixed hardwoods-conifer stands and Rhododendron understory from 600-1500 m. Carolina Hemlock can be found growing from southwestern Virginia, eastern Tennesee, western North Carolina South Carolina and northwestern Georgia.