A GUIDE THROUGH THE NORTHEASTERN
Trees are the largest and most conspicuous of the
plants which cover our planet. They are of utmost importance to our continued existence
and welfare. Consider these everyday products which are derived primarily from trees:
wood, paper, fruits and other foods. Add to these benefits the role played by trees in
maintaining atmospheric oxygen, not to mention shade and beauty which they add to our
The forests of northeastern U.S. are included in
the Eastern Deciduous Forest. In addition to the deciduous trees there is a generous
mixture of evergreen trees in northern New England and the higher elevations of the
Included here are some of the typical trees of
this region. Many are widespread with ranges that extend southwards into the central
South, and westward into the Midwest and portions of southeastern Canada.
||NORWAY SPRUCE, Picea
abies (Family: Pinaceae). This tree, introduced from northern Europe, is now widely
planted in the U.S. as an ornamental. Unlike pines, spruces have needles attached singly
to the branches.
||EASTERN HEMLOCK, Tsuga
canadensis (Family: Pinaceae). This is the only common hemlock of the area; its range
extends southward along the Appalachians. Note the flattened branches, short needles and
||NORTHERN WHITE CEDAR,
Thuja occidentalis (Family: Cupressaceae). The leaves of trees of this family are
more scale-like than needle-like; cones are small and brown when mature. This species is
found both on limestone soils and in bogs.
Quercus alba (Family: Fagaceae). This oak, along with others of the "white oak
group", has leaves with rounded lobes and sweet acorns used as food by Indians. Most
hardwood flooring and wooden barrel come from this species.
||CHESTNUT OAK, Quercus
prinus (Family: Fagaceae). Also a large forest tree of the white oak group, this tree
has leaves with large, rounded teeth along the margins.
||NORTHERN RED OAK, Quercus
rubra (Family: Fagaceae). This species and the next listed are in the "red oak
group": leaf lobes are pointed and acorns are bitter. Note the size and shape of
leaves and acorns of this tree and use a comparison for others in the group.
||PIN OAK, Quercus
palustris (Family: Fagaceae). The common name refers to the lateral branches that tend
to angle downward. As compared to the previous species, the leaves and acorns are smaller.
||AMERICAN ELM, Ulmus
americana (Family: Ulmaceae). This is the largest and most familiar of the elms. Its
case shape suits it for planting on campuses and along city streets. However, it is
subject to Dutch Elm disease, caused by a fungus.
occidentalis (Family: Ulmaceae). Unlike the related elms, hackberries bear drupes and
have a warty bark. Although there are several southern species of hackberries, this the
only one common north of Kentucky.
||WILD BLACK CHERRY, Prunus
serotina (Family: Rosaceae). This is the only one of the many woody species of the
rose family to reach true tree proportions. Although the pulp of the fruit is edible,
other parts of the tree may be poisonous to man livestock.
||SUGAR MAPLE, Acer
saccharum (Family: Aceraceae). Like all maples, the samaras (key-shaped fruits) are
arranged in pairs. This very useful tree serves man as a source of sugar, shade, beauty
and an excellent hardwood.
||YELLOW BUCKEYE, Aesculus
octandra (Family: Hippocastanaceae). The large cluster of yellow flowers and compound
leaves with 5 pointed leaflets is typical of this species. Inside of each fruit are two
buckeyes which are poisonous.
||WHITE ASH, Fraxinus
americana (Family: Oleaceae). The compound leaves consist usually of leaflets; the
samaras occur in large clusters as seen here. The foliage, blue-green in summer, turns a
purplish-pink in the fall.
||GRAY BIRCH, Betula
populifolia (Family: Betulaceae). Unlike most birches, the bark of gray birch does not
peel off. Gray birch occurs mainly as a pioneer tree in recently disturbed area.
||NORTHERN CATALPA, Catalpa
speciosa (Family: Bignoniaceae). This rather shaggy tree bears in May or June clusters
of large white flowers with orange-yellow throats; the resulting fruits seen here appear
in late summer. Because of their shape, the tree is sometimes called the "Indian
||EASTERN WHITE PINE,
Pinus strobus (Family: Pinaceae). Recognize this beautiful tree by its blue-green
needles arranged in bundles of 5, and its long slender cones. Because the early European
settlers found it so useful, few large specimens remain.
||AMERICAN BEECH, Fagus
grandifolia (Family: Fagaceae). This large tree has leathery simple leaves that turn
bronze in the fall. Note the pointed buds.
||TULIP POPLAR, Liriodendron
tulipifera (Family: Magnoliadaceae). Shown here is the trunk of a fully mature
specimen over a hundred feet in height. This fast growing tree is common and widespread
throughout the east. The wood, marketed as "yellow poplar" has many and varied
used including house construction and furniture.
||SILVER MAPLE, Acer
saccharium (Family: Aceraceae). Because of its habitat, it is also called "water
maple". Note the leaves which are deeply dissected; underneath they are a silvery
green. Because the wood is weak and brittle, its a much less desirable and useful
tree than is the sugar maple.
||STRIPED MAPLE, Acer
pensylvanicum (Family: Aceraceae). Growing as a small tree or shrub, this attractive
tree inhabits cool, moist places, and is more common in the mountains.
Copyright, 1984, JLM VISUALS. All rights reserved
by JLM Visuals. The written description accompanying these slides may be reproduced in
quantity for non-commercial classroom use or transferred to a single audiotape for
non-commercial use without further permission. Rights to the use of these photographic
slides have been secured from the following individuals(s): Thomas E. Hemmerly. http://members.aol.com/jlmvisuals/
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