ISBN 1-57753-301-1

Acknowledgments ..................................................................................... 3 Introduction .............................................................................................. 4 Forest Appreciation ................................................................................... 5 Using This Bulletin ................................................................................... 6 Summer and Winter Keys .......................................................................... 7 Character Illustrations ............................................................................... 8 Summer Key ............................................................................................ 10 Winter Key .............................................................................................. 13 Tree Descriptions ..................................................................................... 16 Common and Scientific Names of Other Trees Mentioned...................... 68 Making a Tree Collection ........................................................................ 69 Glossary ................................................................................................... 73 Index to Tree Descriptions ....................................................................... 74



Special thanks also go to Robert Dirig for his suggestions and comments and to Jennifer Svitko for image work. was freely consulted in the matter of bark characters. furnished valuable suggestions in the way of uses. Illick.. by Albert Francis Blakeslee and Chester Deacon Jarvis. was followed closely in many particulars. Little Jr. Trees of New York State. and Common Trees of New York. the revision would not have been completed without her. Trees in Winter. Mattoon of the Forest Service. Agricultural Handbook No. 541 of the United States Department of Agriculture (1979). L. Brown. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOR 2002 REVISION Sherry Vance managed all the details of this revision with countless suggestions for improvements. by E. Her dedicated and careful work is greatly appreciated.AUTHORS’ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The descriptive text (List of 50 Trees) covering the tree characters is largely a compilation rather than the result of original investigations. by H. The cuts for the bulletin were furnished through the courtesy of W. by J. Common and scientific names follow the Check List of Forest Trees of the United States. R. S. P. 3 .

Edward A. Sherry Vance and I revised this work last year and placed it on the World Wide Web. the bulletin was printed once again in 1998 with minor changes by Peter Smallidge of the Department of Natural Resources (formerly the Forestry Department). After five printings. Forestry for 4-H Club Boys and Girls. uses.cornell. A. In 1948. Cornell University) November 2000 revised (web version: http://bhort. Fred E. in his capacity as extension forester at Cornell University. published in 1927 a brief guide to the identification of common trees in the northeastern United States. descriptions. we have produced this printed copy of the web version.htm) 4 . It was revised twice under the original title Fifty Common Trees of New York. The core of the original guide—the ecological and geographical distributions. Cope. Cope to revise the bulletin substantially into the familiar Know Your Trees booklet of today. and a new short glossary of terms used in the Winch Jr. Department of Natural Resources. major revisions to the keys. with Gardiner Bump as coauthor. The improvements include updated nomenclature. Now with minor adjustments. farmers. and illustrations of 50 species—remains largely intact. and nearly every budding agriculturist and scientist in New York State. joined J.INTRODUCTION My grandfather. Cope Bailey Hortorium Cornell University October 2001 December 1927 first printing January 1929 revised April 1940 revised March 1948 revised November 1951 reprinted July 1955 reprinted July 1960 reprinted February 1964 reprinted July 1979 reprinted October 1998 reprinted (with minor revisions by Peter Smallidge. This popular bulletin was used and continues to be used by Joshua A. with only minor editing.

This bulletin has been prepared to help acquaint the reader with the forest trees in the neighborhood. and witch hazel are so small that they are scarcely more than shrubs in New York. In growing timber for a specific use or in choosing trees to be cut for a certain purpose. therefore. pussy willow. Each tree species has certain characteristics that distinguish it from other kinds of trees. camping. and to know the relative values of these trees in producing crops of timber. 5 . To develop an appreciation of the forest is to understand its importance to agriculture and industry. Other species such as the willow oak and the sweet gum on Long Island. but some of them such as alder. this basic knowledge of forest trees will help them to better manage our state’s private forests. Instead. 50 common tree species have been selected. No attempt has been made. one must know what kinds of wood are required to best serve that purpose. to provide an all-inclusive list of trees in this publication. With this bulletin as a guide. but they can also be learned in the yard or parks. As future woodland owners. Ideally the trees should be studied in the forest where conditions are most natural to their growth.FOREST APPRECIATION The greater portion of the land area of New York State is better adapted to growing trees than to any other use. Perhaps one hundred species of trees are native to the state. and woodcraft. though of forest-tree size. These species are generally distributed throughout the state and are likely to be found in the average woodlot. In addition to the external characteristics. the wood of each tree species varies. to acquire a thorough knowledge of the trees in the forest. are confined to very limited localities. conservation. the dominant members of the forest community. it should be possible for current and future landowners to become familiar with most forest trees in their neighborhood. The first step is to become familiar with the various kinds of trees. making forestry a vital part of the state’s agricultural programs. Work in forestry appeals to old and young alike because of its outdoor nature and the possibility of combining activities in nature study.

Frequently. whether cone. Fruit. at first glance. the flowers are not described here. and fruit) are most easily observed. Note in the species descriptions the time of year the seed matures. Twigs are interesting to study in the wintertime. Compare the leaves and look for the following points: Are they simple (one leaf to a stem) or compound? Are they arranged opposite on the twig or alternate? How is the margin of the leaf shaped? In some leaves the margin is entire (no breaks at all). Study the winter twigs carefully. They vary in color. For example. such as a sugar maple. summer and winter. is in the woods where the characters (bark. elms. scaly or firm. and even in the log you can tell the tree if you know the bark. whether smooth or furrowed. the beech. of course.USING THIS BULLETIN The best place to study trees. or husk. but on closer examination it is evident that there is a leaf scar on the end of the twig and the bud is a little below and to one side. It is obvious that hickories have a terminal bud. the margin is like the fine teeth of a carpenter’s saw (serrate or saw-like) or it is doubly serrate. the leaves are described as lobed. does not necessarily mean fleshy. Pay considerable attention to the bark. the cherries or the black birch. This should round out the knowledge and appreciation of the trees of the forest. and it was desirable to clear around it to allow it more light. In addition. In some oaks and others where the margin is very deeply cut. pod. for example. But be ready for basswood. The opposite or alternate arrangement of the leaves can also be applied to buds and helps you to distinguish some trees (page 9). This also would be true if it were a valuable forest tree. Trees have flowers as do most green plants. Try to remember the points mentioned in the text. by a glance at the color of the bud you can tell at once whether the tree is a soft (red) or a hard (sugar) maple. some are brittle. In others. but includes any seed and the covering in which it develops. it should be remembered. buds. Leaves are the easiest to observe. twigs. edible products. In some. The fruit of the forest trees is an important item in the appreciation of the forest. In such instances the buds are a helpful means of identification. The color of buds is also helpful. as if a terminal bud is present. as in the chestnut. leaves. whereas others are coarse. They may appear. A taste of the twig often helps to identify the tree. not so much as a means of identifying the tree but for finding and recognizing the seeds from which the different forest trees develop. it may be important to recognize a forest seedling in the early spring before the leaves are out. they are present only for a very brief season. 6 . It is always present. and birches. such as color and texture. In the interest of using available space for easily observed. but the blooms are usually high up in treetops where you cannot easily see them to aid in identification. especially if you want to transplant the seedling. samara (winged seed). burr. the margin is more deeply notched. The buds go along with the twigs as part of the winter study of the trees. as do the maples and the ashes. some are slender. whereas others are tough and pliable. such as apples or cherries. more available characteristics. and the bigtooth aspen. The uses of each tree and where it occurs naturally are also mentioned briefly in the descriptions. and the hollows between are called clefts (page 8).

shape. and arrangement of the twigs are important as are the position (terminal or not). size and branching of the twig. the choice is the first alternate because the buds are “lopsided” and greenish red. so the next clue is in the first step 12. two 2s and so on—and that each step of a pair contains different characteristics or details). shape. A key is a scheme for quickly and easily identifying any unknown object under observation. Two alternative characteristics are presented. The buds are large and the twigs lack thorns. Be sure you understand these illustrations thoroughly and learn the distinctions before you attempt to use the key or go into the field. If the description of the tree given 7 . second step 11. you can find its description by going to the page with the corresponding name and number. or alternate leaf arrangement would be chosen). At last the trail has ended with the name of the tree. the size. but sit tight on the main stem or petiole of the leaf (second step 13). The most important distinguishing characteristics of trees in the summer are the form. At step 13. Close observation at the side or lateral bud may reveal many bud scales. has no leaves and must be traced through the second step 1 of the winter key. the second step 3 must be selected. SUMMER AND WINTER KEYS As a further help in identifying these 50 trees in both summer and winter conditions. 1 and 1 are subdivided further into other groups on the basis of other differences. The leaves are broad. If the twigs have no pitchy taste or wart-like branches found under the second step 2. the characteristics are opposed. If you find the desired characteristic in the first group (1). and margin of the leaves. so this leads to the choices under the first step 11 (if the twigs were not opposite. the leaves (Plate 1) have been selected for the summer key and the twigs and buds (Plate 2) for the winter key because they present the most easily available parts of the tree for showing differences and similarities. The following example shows how to use the summer key.Learning to know the names of the trees is like playing a detective game. color. and color of the bud. The twigs and leaves are in pairs (opposite). which is basswood. and study need be confined to the subdivisions of the first group only. there is a complete description of (6) Basswood on page 21. size. In winter. and form of the leaf. It is based usually on the most striking similarities and differences shown by the various parts of the object. in every case. The leaflets have no stems. it is necessary to turn to the first step 8. observed in late fall. These are the only choices possible. The leaves are compound (several leaflets on one stem). A branch with leaves from the tree in question is examined. Often. For trees. however.” such as color of the bark. shape of the bud. Once you have discovered the name of the tree in the key. The tree is black ash. The two opposing characteristics are preceded in the key by the same number (1 and 1 or 2 and 2) and are set at the same distance from the left-hand margin of the page. If there is no terminal bud. keys have been created. Another branch. there is no need to look in the second group. which would lead to the second step 9. arrangement. the names of the trees can be tracked down. For example. but the buds and twigs are alternate. prompting the choice of the second step 11. With certain “clues. so this falls under the second step 1 (note that each number is in pairs—two 1s.

Plate 1 8 .

Plate 2 9 .

(22) Eastern Hemlock 8. spray distinctly flattened and fan-like. 8. 14. 9. silver or pale on lower surface. (20) Balsam Fir 9. Leaves needle-like. usually evergreen (conifers). Needles dark. Needles in clusters of 3. clefts sharp-angled. (32) Silver Maple 10 . Needles 4-sided in cross section. 6. Leaflet without stems. (28) American Larch 4. awl-shaped foliage particularly on young growth. Arrangement of leaves opposite. (45) Red Spruce 10. Needles in clusters of 2. A Nontechnical Summer Key to the 50 Trees 1. awl-shaped. Foliage both scale-like and awl-shaped. Foliage scale-like. clefts shallow and sharp-angled. Leaves white or pale on lower surface. or scale-like. A small clue may lead the trail in a new direction and finally to the right tree. (33) Sugar Maple 14. clefts rounded. Needles in clusters of 2 or 3. Leaves broad. (39) Eastern White Pine 6. 7. Needles bluish green or silvery white. Leaves simple (maples).does not match the twig. not persistent through winter. (31) Red Maple 15. (1) Arborvitae 2. (2) Black Ash 12. lobes entire or with less prominent teeth. 13. clefts deep (particularly the middle two). Needles flat. 11. 12. Needles without stems (petioles). Leaves pale green on lower surface. Leaflet with stems. usually 5-lobed. 4. 15. Needles in clusters of 2–5 (pines). 5. not persistent through winter. Needles borne singly. not needle-like or scale-like. trace the specimen again through the key. Needles borne in clusters. on vigorous shoots needles borne singly. (3) White Ash 13. and blunt-pointed. sharp-pointed (spruces). 2. (41) Red Pine 5. (46) White Spruce 1. yellowish green. Needles in clusters of 5. Leaves compound (ashes). Leaves white. Leaves silvery white on lower surface. usually 3-lobed. Needles many (more than 5) in clusters on short spur-like lateral branches. Leaves awl-shaped or scale-like. 3. blunt-pointed. 10. Leaves needle-like. (40) Pitch Pine 7. Needles with short stems (petioles). (42) Eastern Redcedar 3. flat. margins with many small teeth.

Base of leaf stem with a “mustache” of hairs where it joins the twig. long narrow. 24. Leaves simple. 27. sharp-pointed. Leaves dull green on upper side. 30. (25) Shagbark Hickory 22. Leaves compound. Leaflets of nearly the same size. Leaflets 7–11. Leaflets 5–7. Upper 3 leaflets larger. Twigs with thorns. Leaflets 5–11 (hickories). Leaves lobed. (35) Chestnut Oak 28. smooth on upper surface. 16. (36) Northern Red Oak 31. hairy along midrib below. (49) Black Walnut 19. not bristle-tipped. 29. Lobes rounded. (23) Bitternut Hickory 21. Base of leaf stem lacking a “mustache” of hairs where it joins the twig. 28. Leaves only once compound. 19. (37) Scarlet Oak 11 . Leaves doubly compound. (47) Sycamore 25. (34) Black Oak 30. Clefts extending halfway to midrib. Leaves palmately lobed. leaflets almost oval in shape. (24) Pignut Hickory 16. the apex truncate. 26. Leaves 3–4 lobed. Leaflets 11–23 (walnuts). Clefts extending over halfway to midrib.(48) Tulip Tree 24. 25. Twigs lacking thorns. 18. Margins of the 3–5 shallow lobes sparsely toothed. 20. leaves dark green above. Leaves shiny. Leaves 2–3 lobed or entire. Arrangement of leaves alternate. (29) Black Locust 18. with aromatic odor when crushed. Leaves pinnately lobed. (30) Honey-Locust 17. leaf or lobe apex pointed. paler below.11. 31. 22. Margins of lobes entire. the leaf appearing coarsely toothed. 17. (43) Sassafras 26. (38) White Oak 29. Clefts very shallow. Lobes with bristle tips. Margins of leaflets toothed. 21. Clefts halfway to midrib. (21) Hawthorn 27. (12) Butternut 20. 23. Margins of leaflets entire. leaflets usually even in number.

(4) Bigtooth Aspen 48. Leaves large. Leaf base rounded. heart-shaped or ovate. (5) Quaking Aspen 49. blunt-tipped. Leaves finely toothed. 40. 43. 34. Leaves coarsely toothed. 39. (26) American Hophornbeam 40. Leaves small. Twigs with wintergreen flavor. (13) Black Cherry 45. Leaves triangular.(10) Paper Birch 34. Leaves narrowly lanceolate. serrate. 48. (8) Black Birch 39. Leaves triangular. Bark on trunk black. 41. (43) Sassafras 33. Leaves entire. with tufts of reddish hairs along midrib on lower surface. 49. with aromatic odor when crushed. Leaves triangular. 36. the teeth few and large. not doubly serrate. not peeling off in papery layers. Leaves coarsely toothed or serrate. (11) Yellow Birch 38. Leaf surface less rough. Leaves linear or lanceolate. Leaves broadly lanceolate. (27) American Hornbeam 41. Leaf base square. 38. (9) Gray Birch 35. (15) American Chestnut 44. Twigs lacking wintergreen flavor. Leaves heart-shaped or triangular. (19) Slippery Elm 37. regular. 45. Leaves lanceolate. peeling off in papery layers. 37. 35. Base of leaves even. (6) Basswood 47. Leaves linear. (17) Cucumber Tree 32. nearly orbicular. lacking hairs along midrib. Leaves heart-shaped. (14) Pin Cherry 42. 46. Leaves toothed. in papery layers. firm. (16) Eastern Cottonwood 12 . the teeth many and small. 44. 33. 47. Leaf surface very rough above and below. with long tip. not oblique. Leaves ovate (egg-shaped). scales easily rubbed off. Leaves ovate or egg-shaped (when not lobed).23. (18) American Elm 36. lacking aromatic odor. Bark smooth. Leaves not lobed or deeply cut. (50) Black Willow 43. Leaves doubly serrate. 32. Bark white. 42. Bark light gray. Bark scaly. Base of leaves oblique (elms). Leaves ovate (egg-shaped). Bark on trunk yellowish. particularly above.

forming cap over bud. nearly lobed. Twigs slender. Buds lopsided or bulging on one side at the base. Leaves coarsely serrate. twigs slender. buds brown or black (ashes). corky in texture with diamond-shaped fissures. brown. twigs with thorns. 5. brown. Leaves serrate. glossy. Terminal bud absent (first lateral bud may seem terminal but is not). (47) Sycamore 10. leaf scars. smooth. Arrangement of branches.46. (6) Basswood 13. 11. Leaves ovate. 50. or scaly (see summer key). Twigs slender. twigs lacking spines or thorns. Leaves with teeth sharp. Twigs slender. 6. (3) White Ash 5. Bud with only one scale. (50) Black Willow 9. (33) Sugar Maple 6. (2) Black Ash 4. Twig stout. 51. bark ashy gray without ridges. reddish to greenish brown. scaling off easily. brown. Leaves persistent and green throughout the winter. (28) American Larch 2. zigzagging. Buds very small. Leaves coarsely toothed. and buds opposite. bristle-tipped. 52. 14. buds red or brown (maples). 52. zigzagging. (30) Honey-Locust 11. Leaves finely serrate. leaf scars. Leaves with teeth rounded. (29) Black Locust 12. not zigzagging. Leaves deciduous. green to brown. reddish color. 8. Buds rusty brown. gray to brown in color. sharp-pointed. inconspicuous. and buds alternate. Buds symmetrical. Twigs stout. Bud with many scales. Fresh twigs with rank odor when broken. 10. Twigs with lateral wart-like branches. brittle. resinous. twigs lacking thorns. 13 . 1. not bristle-tipped. 51. (32) Silver Maple 3. lacking bulge at base. pith circular. conspicuous. Buds medium to large. Twigs lacking odor when broken. not remaining on trees throughout winter. Twigs lacking lateral wart-like branches. twigs with spines or thorns. red to brown. twigs zigzagging. Buds narrow. Buds broad. 4. 2. pith star-shaped. often clustered. Twigs usually bearing branched thorns. twigs not zigzagging. glossy brown. green to red. bark dark brown. awl-shaped. blunt-pointed. 13. Buds usually black. Twigs stout. (31) Red Maple 7. (15) American Chestnut 14. needle-shaped. 50. 7. Arrangement of branches. slender. Twigs usually bearing spines in pairs at nodes. 3. 9. 12. twigs stout. (35) Chestnut Oak (7) American Beech (44) Shadbush (21) Hawthorn A Nontechnical Winter Key to the 50 Trees 1.

hairy. 28. Buds oval or rounded. 22. Buds light red-brown. Pith cream colored. blunt-pointed. Buds smooth. Buds with 3–4 dark brown smooth outer scales spreading away from bud. Scales easily removed when rubbed. mostly lacking hairs. twigs with “mustache” of hair beneath bud. with long rusty hairs at tip. red-brown. twigs light gray. 26. Terminal bud present either surrounded by a cluster of buds or borne singly. inner bark uniform. Bark peeling off in thin papery layers. with distinct triangular patch below each branch where it joins the stem. twigs light red. Bark not peeling off in papery layers. flattened against twig or spreading. (49) Black Walnut 28. rather blunt at top. red-brown. (18) American Elm 15. 23. (25) Shagbark Hickory 25. (In the birches only the short spur-like lateral twigs have terminal buds. twigs redbrown. 17. Buds sharp-pointed. (34) Black Oak 23. (37) Scarlet Oak 22. Buds dark. Twigs with chambered pith (walnuts). 27. not peeling. (35) Chestnut Oak 24. Buds light yellow-brown. 18. chestnut-brown. bark peeling in long strips. twigs lacking “mustache” of hair beneath bud. inner bark of trunk with alternating white and dark layers. lacking triangular patches. Buds covered with close-fitting woolly scales. 16. Bark of trunk smooth. mucilaginous when chewed. (36) Northern Red Oak 20. Terminal bud surrounded by a cluster of buds at end of twig. Buds variously colored with various number of scales. Bark of trunk scaly. (38) White Oak 21. fruit an acorn (oaks). not the long shoots. 24.) 25. (19) Slippery Elm 17. 19. (10) Paper Birch 19. 21. Buds red-brown. twigs red-brown to green-brown.15. Scales difficult to remove when rubbed (elms). Buds oval. (9) Gray Birch 8. (12) Butternut 14 . Buds covered with dense yellow-gray wool. Buds rounded. Terminal bud borne singly. bark usually tight. Bark chalky white. Bark dark bluish gray. Pith chocolate-colored. 20. especially upper half. somewhat woolly. twigs light orange. smooth. (27) American Hornbeam 18. (26) American Hophornbeam 16.

(16) Eastern Cottonwood 41. twigs red-brown. 33. 41. (8) Black Birch 32. 34. dusty looking. (48) Tulip Tree 30. Lateral buds usually same size as terminal bud. Buds long. bark remaining smooth. Twigs tough. (14) Pin Cherry 37. twigs slender. Twigs very tough. (17) Cucumber Tree 29. Bud with more than two scales. (44) Shadbush 35. 30. Twigs with strong wintergreen flavor. (7) American Beech 33. the lateral buds bending away from twig. Bark and twigs spicy aromatic. 40. (11) Yellow Birch 31. Lateral buds spreading away from twig. dull. thorns on twigs. Twigs and bark with bitter almond odor and taste. lacking chambered pith. Bud with 2 scales united into a cap. hairy toward end. (4) Bigtooth Aspen 15 . 31. Lateral buds smaller than terminal bud.27. bark on trunks becoming scaly. buds very small. Buds usually round. (13) Black Cherry 38. lacking papery fringes. Twigs bright red. Twigs brittle. slender (cherries). buds yellow. brown. Twigs red-brown. twigs brittle with aromatic odor. redbrown. bark yellow-gray with papery fringes. twigs red brown or yellow. Lateral buds flattened against twig. not woolly. yellow-brown. the lateral buds flattened against twig. 35. Twigs with slight wintergreen flavor. often slightly resinous. not spicy aromatic. buds dark brown. Twigs with wintergreen flavor or aroma. smooth. 39. terminal bud on spur-like lateral branches only. Buds red-brown. Buds medium. Twigs brittle. bark black. (24) Pignut Hickory 39. 29. Twigs lacking bitter almond odor or taste. (21) Hawthorn 34. yellow to red-brown color. with rather rank odor when broken (poplars). Bud scales smooth. terminal bud on lateral branches. Buds large. Buds tinged with purple. red-brown. sharp-pointed. 38. Bark and twigs odorless or with bitter almond odor. (43) Sassafras 36. 32. (23) Bitternut Hickory 26. 36. Twigs lacking wintergreen flavor and aroma. shiny. (5) Quaking Aspen 40. Twigs solid. 37. lacking rank odor. smooth. red to chestnut-brown. twigs bright yellow.

in pairs. Dense arborvitae swamps are common in Madison County and northward and eastward. yellowish green in color. 1/2 inch long. Distinguishing features: cones with few scales. reddish brown in color. slow-growing forest tree that is rather common in the northeastern part of the state. Twigs: decidedly flattened. 16 . nearly surrounded by broad wings. shreddy strips. ARBORVITAE Natural size Fruit: Oblong. Leaves: scale-like. Cone scales: 6 to 12.) BSP). separating in long. open to base at maturity in autumn of first season. 1a.1. White-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides (L. coarse-grained. closely resembles the arborvitae. Bark: ashy gray to light reddish brown. light yellowish brown in color. ARBORVITAE northern white-cedar Thuja occidentalis Linnaeus Arborvitae (meaning “tree of life”) is a medium-sized. Winter buds: extremely minute. with death of leaves in second season. glandular dot conspicuous in center of leaf. almost covered by scale-like leaves. persists through winter. and not to be confused with leaves that cover previous season’s growth. borne in closely overlapping pairs. arranged in fan-shaped clusters. often more or less spirally twisted. dot in center of flat. soft. and durable in contact with the soil. Seeds: 1/8 inch long. less frequent in the central and western parts. a coastal plain tree. on leaves of leading shoots. The wood is light. aromatic when crushed. brittle. In the Adirondack region the tree also occurs frequently outside the swamps. twigs become reddish brown in color and shiny. scale-like leaf. erect cone. narrow. It is used extensively for fence posts and small poles. flat.

sharppointed. Occasionally. Red ash may be identified by slightly serrate leaflets. Twigs: very stout. without stems. terminal bud as long or longer than broad. rather soft. chair bottoms. Leaves: opposite. though. ripening in early autumn. one-third natural size pointed. BLACK ASH Fraxinus nigra Marshall Black ash is most commonly found in deep swamps. with 7 to 11 leaflets similar to those of white ash but much longer in proportion to their width. black buds. Fruit: winged seed. in clusters. tough. as in white ash. last pair of lateral buds at some distance from terminal bud instead of nearly on a level. and by the woolly twigs marked by semicircular leaf scars. and coarse-grained and is used for hoops. Red ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall) grows in wet spots but has the same uses as white ash. 2a. leaf scar typically oval. Bark: ashy gray in color. forming thin. on a woolly leaf-stem. with wing broader and distinctly notched at tip. Winter buds: resembling those of white ash though usually decidedly black.2. Its wood is heavy. Distinguishing features: found in moist locations. similar to those of white ash but not shiny and usually lighter gray in color. silky below. lateral buds BLACK ASH much smaller. and baskets. notched tip in seed. bluntTwig. somewhat smooth scales that are easily rubbed off. leaf and fruit. compound. 17 . it is found mixed with other hardwoods in moist. somewhat furrowed. natural size. leaflets without stems. 10 to 14 inches long. cold forests.

Distinguishing features: thick twigs. grayish brown in color. and sporting goods. and tough. Large quantities of white ash are used for agricultural implements. borne on short stems. flattened at leaf bases (nodes). It is common throughout New York and is found up to an altitude of 2. 3a. brown buds. Bark: dark grayish brown in color. It has the same uses as white ash. 18 . flat-topped. It prefers to grow in rich. 3 to 5 inches long. broadly paddle-shaped with wing occupying position of blade. by this characteristic may be distinguished from black ash leaflets. The former has narrower leaflets with more noticeable serrations that extend farther toward the base. last pair of lateral buds almost on level with terminal bud. smooth. the leaflets are greener beneath. firm ridges that are somewhat scaly on older trunks. ridges in some instances tend to run together. older bark.000 feet in the Adirondacks. Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall var. often not dropping off until early winter. tool handles. the terminal bud is more pointed. Twigs: very stout. furniture. compound. larger than lateral buds. one-third natural size. with 5 to 9 leaflets. WHITE ASH Leaf and fruit. dark brown or nearly black in color. 1 to 2 inches long. oars. close-grained. shining. especially open edges and roadsides. and the leaf scar is not notched. drooping clusters. with slightly and sparsely serrate margins. terminal bud 1/5 inch long. Winter buds: plump. branch dieback and tree mortality are common. twig. deeply furrowed with narrow. compound leaves with stemmed leaflets. In some locations. moist woods and is common on abandoned agricultural lands. WHITE ASH Fraxinus americana Linnaeus White ash is a valuable and rapid-growing tree in the woodlots of New York State. 8 to 15 inches long. strong. leaf scar notched. open. Fruit: winged seed. borne in long. The wood is heavy.3. ripening in September. leaflets sharp-pointed. hard. brittle. one-half natural size Leaves: opposite. enclosing diamond-shaped fissures. bluntpointed. lanceolata (Burkhausen) Sargent) is frequently confused with white ash. ashy-gray. which are stemless.

woodenware. fruit. sandy. 3 to 6 inches long. dustylooking. short-lived tree that develops best on deep moist soils but is more common on dry. simple. BIGTOOTH ASPEN Leaf. Leaves: alternate. twigs downy. reddish or yellowish brown in color in early winter. one-half natural size. roughly triangular with square base. where it rapidly covers slashes and burns. twig. lateral buds generally bending away from twig. rapid-growing. or stony sites. upland. The wood is similar to that of the quaking aspen and is used for excelsior. 19 . round. Winter buds: usually larger than those of quaking aspen. Twigs: stout. Distinguishing features: coarse teeth on leaf with square base. coarsely toothed margin in direct contrast to finely serrate margin of quaking aspen. often pale and downy as contrasted with those of quaking aspen. terminal bud present. crates. and boxes.4. Here it provides habitat for wildlife that use early successional cover. which are shiny. light chestnut brown in color. Seeds: spread by wind. dull. Bark: resembles that of quaking aspen. pulp. one-half natural size Fruit: very similar to that of quaking aspen (p. BIGTOOTH ASPEN large-toothed aspen Populus grandidentata Michaux Bigtooth aspen is a medium-sized. blunt apex. though small branches are of a more pronounced yellow color. 20). Lower trunk generally more deeply furrowed than that of quaking aspen. one-half natural size.

small-toothed aspen Populus tremuloides Michaux Quaking aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America. on old trunks roughened with broad. shiny twigs. Twigs: smooth. (This explains why aspens spring up so quickly after fires on burned-over areas and in abandoned fields. crates. maturing in early spring. Leaves: alternate. QUAKING ASPEN Twig. curved capsules. 1 1/2 to 3 inches in width. shiny. narrow. carried long distances by wind when capsule breaks open. QUAKING ASPEN trembling aspen. each with tuft of hairs. reddish brown in color. popple. from which this tree is named.5. conical. but it has value as a cover tree in slashes. and in old fields where it quickly establishes itself. sharp-pointed. The wood is soft. simple. not durable. one-half natural size. It is a short-lived tree.) Distinguishing features: tiny teeth on margin of leaves. and boxes. 20 . natural size Bark: on young trunks and branches yellowish green to whitish in color. pistillate flower. Seeds: within capsule. and flattened stem that allows slightest breeze to flutter leaves. shiny. often incurved. It is common in most sections of New York State but is infrequent on the pine barrens of Long Island. Fruit: scattered cluster of small. burns. excelsior. lateral buds smaller. flat. weak. natural size. and is used primarily in the manufacture of mechanical pulp. reddish brown in color. light brown to white in color. Winter buds: terminal bud 1/4 inch long. blackish ridges. somewhat triangular in shape with rounded base. leaf. serrate margin.

on still older trunks furrows deeper. alternate. light. heart-shaped. coarsely serrate along margin. ridges more rounding and broader. BASSWOOD linden. borne singly or in clusters. Twigs: rather slender. lateral buds large. ripening in late fall but sometimes remaining on tree into winter. 5 to 10 inches long. and paper pulp. The wood is soft. BASSWOOD Leaf and fruit. crates. zigzag. bending away from twigs. Distinguishing features: often found in clumps. fruit a pea-like nut attached to a slender “parachute. dark gray in color. smooth. It does best in the deep. inexpensive furniture. flat-topped ridges. Leaves: simple. moist soils of the woodlot sections but is generally distributed except in the high Adirondacks and Catskills. Bract acts as sail to scatter seed. and its lumber has a wide range of uses. Winter buds: terminal bud absent. with common stalk. whitewood Tilia americana (Ventenat) Linnaeus Basswood is a moderately common forest tree in New York State. heart-shaped leaf. bright red or greenish in color or covered by gray skin. may be used as rope. usually large. slightly mucilaginous when chewed.6. surface scaly.” 21 . fibers of bark on twigs very tough. roughly pea-sized. even-grained. woodenware. smooth. on older trunks firm but easily cut. attached midway to leafy bract. It grows rapidly. dark red or sometimes green in color. woody nut. one half natural size Bark: on young stems smooth. sharp-pointed. leaf base asymmetrical. and fairly strong and is used for boxes. it is often used as a substitute for white pine. becoming furrowed into rather narrow. sometimes lopsided or humped. Fruit: round. one-third natural size. humpbacked bud on zigzag twig. twig.

pale brown in color. strong. 3 to 4 inches long. remain on tree into winter. dull green in color above. easily recognized by this character. Nut: triangular. 22 . cigarshaped buds. sharp-pointed. shining reddish brown in color. and fruit. Beech bark disease. Because of its heavy shade. coarse. with the result that it has been left standing. Leaves: simple. which is a fungus that grows AMERICAN BEECH on injuries caused Twig. tough. leaf. hard. with sweet. coarsely toothed on margin. covered with soft. AMERICAN BEECH Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart American beech has perhaps the widest distribution of any forest tree in the state and for that reason is one of the best known. it forms an important part of the hardwood forest but is almost equally common throughout the rest of the state. American beech has also excluded more valuable trees. Twigs: slender. steel gray in color. In the Adirondacks and Catskills. shining. Burrs: usually in pairs. containing a nut. becoming gray on older twigs. The wood is heavy. bristle tipped. infects and kills large numbers of beech trees in the Northeast.7. open up to let nuts fall in early autumn. Fruit: stalked burr. sharp teeth on leaf margin. lateral buds not much smaller than terminal bud. Distinguishing features: smooth. curving prickles. pale green beneath. zigzag. It also is used largely in the acid-wood industry. covered with light brown scales. alternate. edible kernel. Bark: smooth. ovate. Although the tree is of large and stately size. and close-grained and is excellent as fuelwood. its wood is less valuable than that of many of its associates in the woodlot section of the state. and to some extent for furniture. for baskets and crates. one-half natural size by a scale insect. Winter buds: terminal bud present. at maturity very thin. 3/4 inch long. smooth. slender. close. gray bark.

and dark brown in color with yellowish sapwood. spur-like lateral twigs. elongated breathing pores. strong wintergreen flavor when chewed. thick irregular plates almost black in color. sharp-pointed. BLACK BIRCH light reddish brown in Leaf and twig. Winter buds: terminal bud present on spur-like lateral branches only. Twigs: slender. Leaves: alternate. buds on season’s growth usually bending away from twigs. short. without stalk. about 1/4 inch long. 23 . hard. especially as a substitute for cherry or mahogany. Fruit: an erect. Bark: on branches smooth. one-third natural size. used medicinally and for flavoring. conical. this tree is well known to boys and girls for the wintergreen flavor of its twigs.8. sharp-pointed. on older trunks breaking into long. BLACK BIRCH cherry birch. From the Hudson River Valley to Lake Erie. found usually in pairs. not peeling. sweet birch Betula lenta Linnaeus Black birch yields a variety of useful products. Distinguishing features: strong wintergreen flavor in twigs and bark. leaves usually in pairs on spurs. male flower buds one-half natural size color. cylindrical. smooth. gravelly soils. 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. simple. dark reddish brown in color with conspicuous. Oil of wintergreen. The wood is heavy. lightcolored. reddish brown in color. strong. in moist or dry. close-grained. with fine doubly serrate margin. and it is used for fuel and furniture. not opposite on lateral spurs. ovate. 2 to 5 inches long. with numerous. close. winged nutlets falling in autumn and winter. except along the higher mountains. cone-like structure as in other birches. Birch tea is made from scrapings of inner bark of twigs steeped in hot water. is distilled from the twigs.

on short stalk. male flower buds at upper right Fruit: slender. end bud on season’s growth not terminal. in many instances bending away from twigs. spread by wind. Winter buds: small. GRAY BIRCH old-field birch. broad wings. shiny on upper surface. poplar birch Betula populifolia Marshall Gray birch colonizes disturbed and harsh sites and is particularly abundant in the lower Hudson Valley where it grows chiefly on dry. Twigs: slender. two-thirds natural size. Bark: on small stems. In New York it is used for fuelwood and pulpwood only. smooth. erect. fruit natural size. Though often confused with the true paper birch. The tree is short-lived and is rarely as much as 8 inches in diameter. gravelly soils of burned-over areas and abandoned farms. reddish brown in color. very long-pointed. Leaves: alternate. Distinguishing features: long-pointed. becoming dull chalky white with age. it is far inferior to that species in size and value of the wood. simple. 3 to 4 inches long. triangular leaf. both become detached from central stem in late autumn and winter. and the characteristic clump effect of its growth is striking. pointed.9. 3/4 inch long. Seeds: minute. GRAY BIRCH Leaf and twig. not peeling in thin layers. dull. particularly along streams. 1/3 inch thick. reddish brown in color. triangular in shape. consisting of winged nutlets and 3-lobed scales in alternate layers. Its white bark renders it more attractive than the aspens. brownish in color. The wood is light and soft and decays quickly. chalky-white bark. not peeling off in papery layers as in paper birch. with distinct black triangular patch below each branch where it joins stem. chalky white. becoming with age dull. cone-like structure. margin doubly serrate. 24 .

blunt-pointed rather than slender at apex. and swamps and maintains itself on the higher slopes of our mountains. are never renewed. natural size. once separated from tree. 2 to 3 inches long. dull reddish brown in color. alternate. tough. ovate. paler below. wood pulp. Bark: on young stems. Leaves: simple. bending away from twig. Spools. 25 . golden to reddish brown in color. PAPER BIRCH Twig. leaf and fruit. in saplings reddish brown. at maturity dull dark green in color above. sharp-pointed. early becoming chalky white and peeling off in thin. male flower buds in winter at leaft. resinous. it thrives along lakes. light brown wood. Fruit: a cone-like structure as in gray birch. PAPER BIRCH canoe birch. streams. coarsely serrate on margin. This shade-intolerant tree grows on a wide range of soils. Twigs: stouter than those in gray birch. papery layers that.10. Now it is the choice of the souvenir hunter. and fuelwood are made from its light. woodenware. Because it is tough. white birch Betula papyrifera Marshall Paper birch is well known throughout the Adirondacks and the Catskills and along the highlands of the Susquehanna and Delaware drainage by its white. 1 inch long. Distinguishing features: white bark peeling in papery layers in older trees. papery bark. paper birch was the choice of all northern Indians for their canoes. male flower in center shoe lasts. 1/3 inch thick. usually pendant rather than erect. strong. Winter buds: terminal bud absent as in gray birch. ovate leaves. and impervious to water. one-half natural size. nutlets and bracts falling in late autumn and winter as with other birches. durable. lateral buds small. hard.

woodenware. It is common throughout the state. reddish brown in color. male flower buds at upper right Winter buds: similar to those of black birch. undersurface somewhat hairy. yellowish gray in color. slight wintergreen flavor in bark and twigs. hard. airplanes. 26 . making excellent tinder for starting fires in rain. Twigs: similar to those of black birch though more yellowish brown in color and often hairy. Bark: on young branches close. peeling in thin sheets. with age peeling into thin papery layers that roll back and extend up trunk in long lines of ragged fringe. one-half natural size. on rich. except on Long Island. but also is found with red spruce in the swamps and along waterways. and agricultural implements. Distinguishing features: silvery gray to yellowish bark. flooring. undersurface of leaves hairy along veins. whereas in black birch they are smooth. light brown wood is largely used for furniture. distinctly hairy. very strong. YELLOW BIRCH Leaf and twig. one-fourth natural size. abundant. particularly along veins. close-grained. Fruit: similar to that of black birch though usually wider in proportion to its length.11. falling in late autumn and throughout winter. bright. The heavy. interior finish. fruit. on very old trunks becoming rough and furrowed. Bracts: 3-lobed. silvery. Its value for fuelwood entitles it to a place in farmers’ woodlots. moist uplands in company with beech and sugar maple. spur-like laterals as in black birch. Leaves: similar to those of black birch. slightly wintergreen-flavored. Its seeds often sprout and grow from the tops of rotten stumps and logs. YELLOW BIRCH silver birch Betula alleghaniensis Britton Yellow birch is an important and prominent timber tree in New York State.

chambered pith dark brown as contrasted with light brown chambered pith of black walnut. or “mustache. Kernel: sweet.12. Winter buds: terminal bud pale. light brown in color. enclosed in sticky. tapering at end. black with fine cut ridges. broad. oily. Fruit: rather large nut. green husk usually in clusters of 3 to 5. but is infrequent in the higher Adirondacks. on older trunks deeply divided into long. leaves up to 2 1/2 feet in length. easily identified by dark brown furry growth. flat-topped. lateral buds smaller and shorter. and easily worked and polished. BUTTERNUT white walnut Juglans cinerea Linnaeus Butternut is a close kin to the black walnut though it is less valuable as a timber tree. Many butternut trees are infected with a canker disease. downy.” found just above most leaf scars. BUTTERNUT Leaf. flattened. often hairy. The butternut has the advantage of curing without removing outer husk. fairly durable. coarse-grained. It is used for interior trim. The wood is light. dark brown. Leaves: alternate. hairy where it joins stem. one-third natural size Bark: smooth on young trunks and branches. light gray in color. leaf stalk. whitish ridges. one-half natural size. furniture. Distinguishing features: “mustache” above “monkey-faced” leaf scars. margins serrate as in black walnut. twig. brittle. blunt-pointed 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. ripening in October of first season. Twigs: stout. chambered pith. especially along fences and roads throughout the state. one-fifth natural size. and fence posts. longer than wide. 27 . It produces attractive wood and edible nuts. 1 1/2 inches long. compound. but it branches freely and seldom reaches a large size. with 11 to 17 practically stemless long-pointed leaflets. soft not strong. It is common in moist soils. fruit. but somewhat difficult to extract. greenish gray in color.

28 . 13a. marked with easily seen. with age becoming much roughened by irregular. with bitter almond taste that is characteristic of all cherries. long. Bark: at first smooth. fruit in short-stemmed clusters. Fruit: single-seeded juicy fruit. It is a valuable. in long. Its shiny red bark and thick twigs are its outstanding features. Twigs: slender. and fence posts. scaly. scaly circular plates with upturned edges. close-grained with pale reddish-brown heartwood and is much in demand for cabinetmaking. 1/8 to 1/6 inch long. white pores on young bark. terminal bud present. hard. simple. one-half natural size Leaves: alternate. It prefers rich bottomlands and moist hillsides but also is found in drier situations. saucerlike plates in older bark. white breathing pores. reddish brown in color. ties. drooping clusters. reddish brown in color. strong. ovate. Its wood is light. circular. leaf. dark. scattered. Birds and animals eat the fruit despite its bitter flavor. 2 to 5 inches long. Sweet cherry or bird cherry (Prunus avium Linnaeus) is an escaped cultivated cherry found in abandoned fields and hedgerows. two-thirds natural size. interior finishing. sharp-pointed.000 feet in the Adirondacks. close. tufts of hair along midrib on undersurface of leaf. hairy midrib below on leaf. lanceolate. Winter buds: smooth. grouped on very short stems. It is common in most sections of the state. dark. BLACK CHERRY Twig. Distinguishing features: long. chestnut brown in color. purplish black when ripe in late summer. margin finely serrate. fruit. BLACK CHERRY Prunus serotina Ehrhart Black cherry is the largest and most valuable of the cherry trees in New York State. tools. broader than those of pin cherry. one-third natural size. fast-growing timber and wildlife food tree and should be encouraged in woodlots. smooth. fairly long-pointed. about 1/2 inch in diameter. though it is seldom found above an altitude of 3.13.

mostly smooth. sharppointed. reddish brown in color. soft. marked with numerous long. Its dark brown bark shows lighter streaks of gray. The wood is light. characteristic bitter almond taste. characteristically clustered at twig tip and sometimes along sides. PIN CHERRY Leaf and fruit. about 1/4 inch in diameter. narrowly lanceolate as contrasted with broader leaves of wild black cherry. fruit in long-stemmed clusters. bright red in color. terminal bud present. twig. 3 to 5 in each cluster. in old trees somewhat roughened near base. Twigs: slender. Distinguishing features: smooth. fire cherry Prunus pensylvanica Linnaeus fils Pin cherry thrives early on burned.14. furnishing food for game in hedgerows. with finely serrate margin. smooth. one-half natural size Fruit: round. often slightly peeling around trunk. pale. Birds often pick ripe fruit. Leaves: alternate. usually smaller than lateral buds around it. arrayed on long stems. natural size. breathing pores. Winter buds: very small. 29 . and abandoned land throughout the state. reddish-brown bark. PIN CHERRY wild red cherry. shiny. reddish brown in color. It is not a timber-producing species. cutover. one-seeded. and its main value lies in its ability to cover wasteland and protect the soil until larger trees can establish themselves and crowd it out. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana Linnaeus) is a bushy shrub. Bark: bright. with light brown heartwood. simple. 3 to 5 inches long. juicy. and is seldom used. light red in color. except in the higher Adirondacks. although sometimes a small tree. close-grained. branches at almost right angles to trunk. peculiar odor. 14a. with long horizontal pores. ripening in July.

the many uses for its wood. and excellent to eat. spiny without and hairy within. Bark: on young trunks smooth. Distinguishing features: stout twigs with star-shaped pith. widely toothed. one-third natural size Twigs: stout. sweet. AMERICAN CHESTNUT Twig. greenish yellow or reddish brown in color. kernel solid. Winter buds: small. leaf and fruit. sharp. pith star-shaped in cross-section. It is now used largely for posts. has succumbed to the deadly chestnut blight. Perhaps almost any other species could have been better spared in the farmer’s woodlot because of its rapid growth. flat. 6 to 8 inches long. and durable in contact with the soil. light chestnut brown in color. one-half natural size. Fruit: light brown burr. alternate. ovate. Leaves: simple. 30 . sharp teeth. soft. shell very thin. sharp-pointed. so that there are practically no live trees more than 4 inches in diameter. terminal bud absent. and the fine crop of nuts it furnished. broad. set at angle to leaf scar. somewhat swollen at base of buds. woolly at top. white. The wood is light. AMERICAN CHESTNUT Castanea dentata (Marshall) Borkhausen American chestnut. long leaves with widely spaced. with age broken by shallow fissures into long. more or less slanting ridges. opening at first frost and letting fall generally 3 nuts. reddish brown in color. reddish brown in color. once common across the state south of the Adirondacks. Nuts: shiny. coarse-grained.15. lanceolate.

31 . one-third natural size Fruit: scattered cluster of capsules as in aspens. broadly triangular. It is not easy to destroy because. ashy gray in color and deeply furrowed with age. EASTERN COTTONWOOD Populus deltoides Bartram ex Marshall Eastern cottonwood is an exceedingly rapid-growing. arranged in long. one half natural size. The cottonwood has been extensively planted as an ornamental tree along streets. surrounded by mat of fine hairs. large. bright yellow or greenish yellow in color. drooping tassels. Twigs: stout. long and laterally flattened leaf stalk. The wood is light. smooth. lateral buds smaller. It is used for pulp and boxes. simple. and weak and is dark brown in color with thick nearly white sapwood that warps badly in drying. Leaves: alternate. Distinguishing features: rank odor when twig is broken. but as such it has few merits because it is short-lived and the roots often penetrate and clog drains and sewers. EASTERN COTTONWOOD Leaf and fruit. small. glossy. Bark: smooth on young trunks and branches. chestnut brown in color. ripening in spring. in many instances bending away from twig. the stump continues to sprout vigorously. Winter buds: terminal bud present. Seeds: within capsule. moisture-loving species that is found locally in moist places and along streams and lakes throughout the state except at the higher elevations. incurved teeth on leaf margin of triangular leaf. rank odor when broken. 3 to 5 inches long. even after being cut down. light yellowish green in color. becoming thick. The tree derives its name from this cotton-like mat of fine hairs. coarsely serrate margin. numerous. soft. conveyed long distances by wind. twig. square base.16. round or ridged below bud. though somewhat larger (3 to 6 inches long). resinous.

is the only magnolia that is at all common in New York State outside of Long Island. pointed at tip. flat-topped ridges. with long. containing many scarlet. lateral buds smaller. has much the same uses. silky hairs. it is often grown in lawns and parks. One of the few species of the state that has an entire-margined leaf. In rich woods. so called because of its cucumber-like fruit. CUCUMBER TREE Magnolia acuminata Linnaeus Cucumber tree. smooth or shiny. from the central part of the state westward and southward. somewhat curved. large leaves. Fruit: cone-like or cucumber-like. fruit like cucumber. narrow furrows separating into rather loose. cylindrical mass. entire margin. The wood is light. about 1/2 inch long. brittle. and along stream courses. Bark: grayish brown in color. it is found locally. blunt. 32 . twig and bud. thickly covered with pale. one-third natural size. white threads when ripe in early autumn.17. simple. soft. Winter buds: terminal bud oblong. CUCUMBER TREE Fruit and leaf. pea-like seeds that dangle from ends of short. Distinguishing features: smooth margin of large leaf. 4 to 10 inches long. oblong terminal bud. often curved. rapid growth. close-grained. also hairy. branching like that of pear tree. aromatic odor of twigs. brown in color. about 2 1/2 inches long. and light yellowish brown in color. pointed. and red seeds. Because of its yellowish-green flowers. Twigs: brittle. two-third natural size Leaves: alternate. aromatic odor. ovate. It resembles that of yellow-poplar and. on moist slopes. scaly. besides wood carving.

and it grows to be one of the largest trees in the state. The graceful symmetry of the crown makes the elm highly prized for ornamental planting. divided by irregular up-and-down furrows into broad flattopped ridges. inner bark in alternate layers of brown and white. crates. smooth. rather firm or occasionally flaking off in old trees. and wheel hubs. smooth.) The wood is heavy. having alternate layers of brown and white. not mucilaginous (like glue) when chewed. it is largely used for veneer. 1/8 inch long. tough. coarse-grained. oblique at base. upper surface of leaf somewhat rough to touch. winged. alternate. (The Gowanda elm had a basal circumference of 39 feet. Distinguishing features: zigzag twigs. Fruit: flat. lighter beneath. Bark: dark gray in color. 4 to 6 inches long. graceful. Improved resistant strains have been developed and planted ornamentally and in the wild in hopes that this majestic species can regain its former widespread occurrence. lateral buds somewhat smaller. margin doubly serrate. and best-known forest trees in New York. Leaves: simple. Winter buds: winter twig obviously ends in leaf scar. ovate. though it is typically a tree of the bottomlands. difficult to split. 33 . ripens in early May as leaf buds unfold. pointed. this species has nearly disappeared from our parks and streets because of the lethal Dutch Elm disease. hence larger bud near end of twig not truly terminal. leaf slightly rough on upper side only. AMERICAN ELM white elm Ulmus americana Linnaeus American elm is one of the most beautiful. hard. with oblique base. It occupies a wide range of sites. inner bark not mucilaginous. falling soon thereafter. light reddish brown in color. deeply notched at end. although not as pronounced as in slippery elm. and fruit. 1/2 inch long. containing one small seed.18. Unfortunately. strong. AMERICAN ELM Twig. one-half natural size Twigs: slender. at maturity dark green in color above. reddish brown in color. barrel staves and hoops. and light brown in color. midrib and parallel veins prominent. in clusters. leaf.

and fairly durable in contact with the soil. twig and fruit. without alternate layers of brown and white. leaf base oblique. SLIPPERY ELM Leaf. one-third natural size. falling soon thereafter. dark green in color above. whitish. maturing in late May or early June when leaves about half grown. hairy. covered at tip with long. inner bark. Winter buds: terminal bud absent as in American elm. 5 to 7 inches long. layers of outer bark reddish brown in color. buds tipped with rusty hairs. more or less deeply furrowed. 34 . strong. margin doubly serrate.” Twigs: light gray in color. Bark: grayish brown in color. dark chestnut brown in color. in clusters. coarse-grained. characteristically mucilaginous when chewed. somewhat rough. decidedly rough to touch. one-half natural size Leaves: alternate. giving it the name “slippery elm. Fruit: flat-winged but not notched at end. oval. twigs chewy. ridges tending to lift more along one edge than in American elm. The wood is hard. shows no alternate layers of brown and white as in American elm. This tree is not an important commercial species but is used for fence posts. 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. and barrel staves and hoops. containing one seed. SLIPPERY ELM red elm Ulmus rubra Muhlenberg Slippery elm is a medium-sized forest tree of stream banks and low fertile slopes and is common south of the Adirondacks. rusty hairs. strongly mucilaginous (like glue). simple. midrib and parallel veins prominent. at maturity thick. lateral buds 1/4 inch long. Distinguishing features: inner bark chewy. heavy. next to wood.19. paler and whitehairy below. oblique at base. rough above and below. ties.

flattened rather than 4-sided as in spruces. winged. 3/4 inch long. dark brown in color. 1/4 inch long. Seeds: in pairs. and of little value as a source of lumber. Distinguishing features: needles without stalks. ripening in September. 2 1/2 to 4 inches long. BALSAM FIR Abies balsamea (Linnaeus) Miller Balsam fir is a medium-sized forest tree generally distributed in deep. cold swamps throughout the state.20. grayish brown in color. glossy. dark green in color above. purplish green in color. pale below with 2 broad white lines. blisters in bark. grayish in color. 35 . It is cut along with spruce for pulpwood and is desirable as a Christmas tree. coarse-grained. Winter buds: small. Leaves: borne singly and twisting so as to appear 2-ranked as in hemlock. Twigs: smooth with age. Cone scales: longer than broad. clustered at end of twigs. natural size Bark: smooth. ripening in autumn of first year. somewhat fan-shaped. aromatic when crushed. blunt. falling in winter following maturity of cone and leaving only erect central stalk to which they were attached. not durable. not stalked. Fruit: an erect cone. The wood is light. rounded at top. pale brown in color. dotted with balsam blisters containing fragrant oily resin. almost spherical. soft. BALSAM FIR Branchlet and cone. in old trees becoming somewhat roughened with small scales. Balsam pillows are made from the needles. persistent 2 to 3 years. cone erect and falling apart when ripe.

others 5. shading out available pasturage or making costly the preparation of the land for forest planting. 36 . usually red. The very small SCARLET HAWTHORN Twig. terminal bud usually present but no larger than lateral buds. berry-like fruit.21. usually red. THE HAWTHORNS thornapple Crataegus Linnaeus Hawthorns comprise a large group of small-sized trees. In fact. in some species leaves more or less ovate. leaf. The differences are chiefly in flower and fruit. Winter buds: round. 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. makes them of no commercial value. alternate. each fruit the size of a small cherry. serrate on margin. chestnut brown in color. Twigs: stiff. when mature in early autumn. More than 20 varieties are common in New York State. and fruit. zigzag. armed with large. 2 to 3 inches wide. Leaves: simple. scaly. generally less than 20 feet tall. Distinguishing features: stiff thorns. highly prized by birds in winter. 3 to 4 inches long. some members of the group may be regarded as serious pests because of the rapidity with which they seed up old pastures. two-thirds natural size size of the trees. with 1 to 5 nutlets in center of fleshy covering. Bark: generally dark brown to gray in color. in a cluster. Fruit: berry-like. and it seems advisable in this publication to call attention to the general characteristics of the group without going into the minute differences that separate the many 9-lobed. generally unbranched thorns 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.

persisting 2 to 3 years. Seeds: in pairs. Fruit: a cone. rough when needles are shed. ripening in September. rounded or notched at apex. natural size Bark: reddish to grayish brown in color. EASTERN HEMLOCK hemlock-spruce Tsuga canadensis (Linnaeus) Carriere Eastern hemlock is a valuable forest tree that is very widely distributed throughout the state. brittle. twisting to appear 2-ranked with third row pointing forward on top of twig. It is largely manufactured into construction lumber and is also in demand for mechanical pulp. It is particularly common on northern exposures. small cones. broad connecting ridges. with distinct short stalk.22. splinters easily. and is light brown in color. 1/2 inch long. shaded gorges. and borders of deep swamps. 3/4 inch long. The wood is light. Winter buds: very small. Cone scales: with rounded entire margins. not strong. Leaves: borne singly. coarse-grained. inner bark bright cinnamon red in color. High tannin content of bark of commercial value in tanning leather. 1/16 inch long. winged. reddish brown in color. yellowish to grayish brown in color. flat. stalked. grayish brown in color when mature. falling during winter following maturity. pendant. not resinous-coated. with shallow. EASTERN HEMLOCK Branchlet and cone. paler below with 2 white lines. dark green in color above. Twigs: slender. Distinguishing features: needles with tiny stalks. ripening in one year. not durable. light brown in color. 37 . steep mountain slopes.

3/4 to 1 inch long. one-half natural size Winter buds: long. sulfur-colored bud. Shell is so thin that it easily can be crushed between fingers. tough. The wood is heavy. with shallow furrows and narrow regular ridges. not edible. one-third natural size.23. leaf. one-half natural size. blunt-pointed. flattened. 38 . fields. very hard. tightbark hickory Carya cordiformis (Wangenheim) K. Fruit: a nearly round nut. hairy toward end. often yellowish in color. thin-husked. It is by preference a bottomland tree growing on wet sites in pastures. with 7 to 11 long. Distinguishing features: smooth bark and usually straight stem. brown in color. terminal bud from 1/3 to 3/4 inch long. narrow. close. and dark brown in color with paler sapwood. Husk: clings to nut after falling. Kernel: bitter. usually does not scale or shag off. 7 to 11 small leaflets. and along streams. rich soil such as that found in many farm woodlots. compound. pith brown and unlike any other hickory in this respect. It grows well on moist. water hickory. Twigs: slender. 6 to 10 inches long. fruit. Koch Bitternut hickory is occasional in most sections of the state except the higher Adirondacks or Catskills. Bark: thin. moist depressions. BITTERNUT HICKORY Twig. strong. sharppointed leaflets that are smaller and more slender than those of other hickories. covered by 4 sulfur-colored scales. grayish or orange-brown in color during first winter. light gray in color. Leaves: alternate. without ridges. BITTERNUT HICKORY swamp hickory. It is inferior to that of the other hickories but is used for practically the same purposes. though it is occasionally found on hillsides and ridgetops in small.

Kernel: at first sweet. outer pair of which often drop off in winter. PIGNUT HICKORY Leaf and fruit. all nearly same size. smooth. blunt-pointed. Twigs: comparatively slender. later somewhat bitter. Fruit: pear-shaped to nearly round. Distinguishing features: 3 to 5 leaflets. Bark characteristics are quite variable. The wood is strong and very tough. all or part usually clings to nut after it has fallen to the ground. and pliable. brown hickory Carya glabra (Miller) Sweet Pignut hickory is a fair-sized upland species found mostly on dry ridges and hillsides throughout the state. compound. reddish brown to gray in color. Husk: contrasted with shagbark hickory. oval. tough. one-third natural size. though sometimes becoming detached at end.24. terminal bud less than 1/2 inch long. small terminal bud like that of rose. marked with shallow furrows and narrow ridges that are seldom shaggy. 1 inch long. much smaller than terminal bud of shagbark hickory. lacy design in bark. Leaves: alternate. thin-husked. twig. 8 to 12 inches long. buff-colored nut without ridges. one-half natural size Bark: typically close-fitting. dark gray in color. covered with reddish-brown scales. except in the Adirondack region where it is found only at the lower elevations. 39 . Its uses are similar to those of shagbark hickory. with 5 to 7 leaflets. PIGNUT HICKORY pignut. thick shelled. Winter buds: small. all nearly same size.

reddish brown to gray in color. enclosed in thick. fruit. but in open fields and along hedgerows where it often grows it usually forks near the ground into stout ascending limbs. moist soils throughout New York though rare in the higher Catskills and Adirondacks and is not reported from the pine barrens of Long Island. outer scales much darker. elastic. Fruit: smooth. The wood is very heavy. one-third natural size. Bark: light gray in color. In the forest it SHAGBARK HICKORY Leaf. 8 to 14 inches long. one-third natural size is a tall. SHAGBARK HICKORY scalybark hickory Carya ovata (Miller) Koch Shagbark hickory is the best known and most valuable of the hickories in this state. The fruit is important for wildlife. ovate. thus giving rise to the name “shagbark hickory. bark peeling in long plates. twig. round husk that splits into 4 sections as nut falls after heavy autumn frosts. blunt-pointed. close-grained. smooth and seamy. loose bud scales. agricultural implements. becoming shaggy with age and peeling off into long strips that are loose at both ends and attached in middle. persistent through winter. outer 3 much larger. and is used chiefly for handles. terminal bud usually more than 1/2 inch long. Distinguishing features: large terminal bud. dark brown. white. with papery. one-half natural size. straight-branched tree. 40 . Kernel: large. vehicles.” Twigs: covered with numerous light dots. 3 upper ones largest. tough. extremely tough and pliable. It is common in deep. 4-angled nut. 5 to 7 leaflets. and fuel.25. Leaves: alternate compound. Winter buds: large. sweet. with 5 to 7 leaflets.

enclosed in inflated.leaf. The wood is very heavy. gravelly. Distinguishing features: shreddy bark. eastern hophornbeam Ostrya virginiana (Miller) Koch American hophornbeam is closely related to the American hornbeam and is rather generally distributed throughout New York State on dry. doubly and finely serrate on margin. and fruit. simple ovate. AMERICAN HOPHORNBEAM ironwood. resembling hops. one-half natural size of other species. sometimes taking possession of woodlots in central New York to the exclusion AMERICAN HOPHORNBEAM Twig. Winter buds: terminal bud absent as in birches and elms. shiny. and strong. Fruit: small. hard. broken into narrow. reddish-brown twigs. seed-like nutlet. papery fruit like a hop.26. 3 to 5 inches long.” Fruit usually falls before winter. Twigs: fine. hence the name “ironwood. sac-like bract. and stony soils of slopes and ridges. The tree is slow-growing and is rarely found larger than 10 inches in diameter. flattish pieces. reddish brown in color. Bark: thin. Leaves: alternate. and shiny. lateral buds small. hence the name “hophornbeam.” It is used for tool and implement handles and for levers and makes excellent fuelwood when seasoned. very markedly flaky. particularly of young saplings. light grayish brown in color. bending away from twig. smooth. Bracts: in clusters 1 to 2 inches long. loose at ends. very easy winter character for identification of tree. 41 . light reddish brown in color.

narrowly ovate. It is rarely more than 6 inches in diameter. fruit a nutlet enclosed in 3-part “dress. 1/3 inch long. pointed. bushy tree. AMERICAN HORNBEAM Twig. rounded. lateral buds small. shining. Fruit: a small prominently ribbed nutlet. found frequently along watercourses and the edges of swamps generally throughout the state. ovate. and fruit. strong. close-grained and is occasionally used for mallets on account of its hardness.27. Bracts with their enclosed nutlets are in long. Distinguishing features: “muscles” in bark. leaf. Twigs: very slender. drooping clusters that ripen and fall before winter. AMERICAN HORNBEAM ironwood. blue-beech. alternate. 2 to 4 inches long. with smooth. one-half natural size Bark: smooth. close-fitting. lengthwise ridges that resemble tensed muscles. The wood is very heavy. thin. Winter buds: terminal bud absent. enclosed in 3-lobed leaf-like bract. Leaves: simple. covered with many reddish-brown scales. water-beech Carpinus caroliniana Walter American hornbeam is a small-sized. dark bluish gray in color. finely and doubly serrate on margin. hard. dark red in color.” 42 . often angled in cross-section.

shining. 43 . with age becoming roughened with thin reddish-brown scales. curving stalks. glossy brown in color. chestnut brown in color. and western New York. light gray in color on young trunks. It grows on well-drained soils much more rapidly than the American larch. hackmatack Larix laricina (Du Roi) Koch American larch is a forest tree of the swamps. with short lateral wart-like branches. Leaves: borne singly on twigs of previous season’s growth. Bark: smooth. flat. standing upright from twigs. falling off in autumn of first year. Cone scales: concave in shape. In the mountainous sections of the state. Winter buds: scattered along past season’s twigs and at ends of short lateral branches. hard. it is frequently found well up the slopes but is confined to cold swamps in eastern. rounded. small.28. borne on AMERICAN LARCH short. has been planted for many years on lawns and more recently in forest plantations. Twigs: slender. light brown in color. Seeds: in pairs. light brown in color. 1/8 inch long. Fruit: cone. pale green in color. Its cones are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. small. 28a. The wood is very heavy. stiff cone on incurved stalk. ripening in early autumn. on spurs of older twigs in clusters of 10 or more. maturing in auBranchlet and cone. 1/2 inch long. smooth. It is used for fence posts. European larch (Larix decidua Miller). reddish brown in color. standing out from the twig. central. dropping in autumn. natural size tumn of first year. which is one of several species that are difficult to distinguish. It has infrequently naturalized. Distinguishing features: many needles in cluster. and railroad ties. and durable in contact with the soil. winged. telegraph poles. slender. about 1 inch long. and strong. staying on tree for several years. AMERICAN LARCH tamarack.

Pods: hang on into winter and are finally torn off by wind in halves with seeds attached. yellowish brown in color. leaflets usually odd in number. generally bearing short. flat. rusty brown in color. twig. BLACK LOCUST yellow locust. in a cavity below leaf scars. one-third natural size. Winter buds: terminal bud absent. The wood is very strong. and extremely durable in contact with the soil. papery pods. Leaves: alternate. with 7 to 19 entire leaflets arranged along central stem. brown in color. and in such locations it seems better able to survive attacks of the locust borer. downy buds depressed in bark. stiff spines. ripening in September. containing 4 to 8 small brown or black seeds. 8 to 14 inches long. becoming deeply furrowed into distinct. 44 . oval in shape. 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. heavy. in pairs at base (node) of leaves. small. thick. Bark: rough even on young trunks. In favorable locations it spreads rapidly by means of root suckers.29. short. stiff spines 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. compound. short-stalked. two-thirds natural size Fruit: a pod. It grows with exceptional rapidity on well-drained fertile soils. which have rendered the tree worthless in some areas. hard. formerly. Distinguishing features: compound leaves with oval leaflets. As a post wood it has no equal and is also used for ties and fuelwood and. white locust Robinia pseudoacacia Linnaeus Black locust is not a native of New York but was a great favorite with early settlers as a dooryard tree from where it has escaped to form dense thickets along roadsides in many sections of the state. rounded ridges that are not scaly. Twigs: slender. 2 to 4 inches long. smooth. covered with down. BLACK LOCUST Leaf and fruit. brittle. lateral buds very small. for insulator pins on pole lines. reddish to greenish brown in color. dried pod acts as sail to carry seed considerable distances.

grayish brown in color. usually bearing stiff. HONEY-LOCUST sweet-locust Gleditsia triacanthos Linnaeus Honey-locust. simply or. 10 to 18 inches long. twig. if singly compound. 1 1/2 inches wide. 1/3 inch long. one-fourth natural size. more usually. zigzag. with 18 to 28 leaflets. each pod containing 10 to 20 brown oval seeds. glossy. 6 to 8 inches long. 45 . strong. smooth. 2 to 3 in each cluster. three-fourths natural size Fruit: flat pod. The wood is hard. and coarse-grained but not as durable in contact with the soil as is the black locust. with 4 to 7 pairs of secondary leaf stems. with age becoming roughened into firm. with elliptical leaflets. leaflets usually even in number. though native to western New York only. broad. Leaves: alternate. usually twisted. doubly compound. Its habit of growing in open rather than forest situations gives its wood a knotty character. hence the name “honey-locust. sharp-branched thorns 3 to 4 inches long (lacking in most horticultural varieties). elliptical. if doubly compound. usually doubly compound leaves. reddish brown in color. HONEY-LOCUST Leaf and fruit. Winter buds: terminal bud absent. not easily seen. Fleshy part of pod is sweet. ripening in late autumn but staying on tree well into winter. stout thorns. has been widely introduced as a hedge and ornamental tree and is hardy and scattered throughout the state except in the mountains.” Distinguishing features: branched. 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Twigs: rather stout. lateral buds very small. Bark: on young branches smooth. above leaf base (node). blackish ridges with edges that curve outward.30. reddish-brown pod. large.

Mountain maple is recognized by the downy hairs on current-year twigs and buds and by its small size. Norway maple (Acer platanoides). red maple (Acer rubrum). The fruit of the maple group is also distinctive. other maples. lawn trees. There are many other more appropriate species that should be considered for ornamental planting. This species is distinguished by bright green bark with white stripes. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). Black maple is distinguished with difficulty from sugar maple by its drooping leaf edges and tips. The other maples that occur in New York State are seldom encountered in the woods but may be found near residential areas where seeds from planted specimens have become established. Striped maple is an increasingly abundant species in the maturing and shady forests of the state. These include sugar maple (Acer saccharum). wildlife foods. and its greatest value is stream bank stabilization and shading of streams. Box-elder is a medium-sized tree found in moist locations at lower elevations. Black maple’s fall color is typically yellow compared to the brilliant orange to amber of sugar maple. large goose foot–shaped leaves. and commonly called samaras. Norway maple is recognized by large. and its samaras with wide-reaching wings. 46 . interlacing and often spiraling black bark ridges. and sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus). and a broad leaf on a long stalk. blunt terminal buds. Other maples in the state that are less common and typically escaped from horticultural plantings include hedge maple (Acer campestre). The species was removed from some sections of New York City and Long Island during an infestation of the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis Motschulsky). mountain maple (Acer spicatum). and twigs. hairy lower surface of the leaves. and higher elevations. It thrives in shade and is restricted to the subcanopy. and black maple (Acer nigrum). together with the characteristically shaped simple maple leaf (box-elder is the only exception. Maples as a group are readily distinguishable from other trees by their opposite arrangement of buds. occasionally common. Common only to moist ravines. it has no commercial value but is a pleasant tree to encounter when hiking. It has no commercial value. The leaf stalk has a milky sap when broken. now overplanted. Black maple is similar to sugar maple and often considered only a variety of sugar maple. and a variety of other hardwoods. having compound leaves). borne in pairs and clusters of pairs. and watershed protection.THE MAPLES Maples (Acer spp. and maples provide syrup. Norway maple has been widely planted in residential areas. and is considered an invasive weed in some of the many areas of the state where it has naturalized. steep slopes. Striped maple reproduces easily and sometimes forms a dense understory that inhibits the reproduction of other species. Without exception the fruit are winged seeds. and orange-brown dull twigs. leaves. It is one of a few maple species with a compound leaf.) are an important group of forest trees in New York State. and its weak wood makes it unsuitable for residential areas. Of the 16 or more maples east of the Rocky Mountains. valuable hardwood timber. Sugar maple is the state tree. an exotic insect that feeds on and reproduces in Norway maple. beautiful fall colors. box-elder (Acer negundo). silver maple (Acer saccharinum). striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum). Amur maple (Acer ginnala). Only the first three will be described in this list. 8 are found with moderate to high frequency in some parts of the state.

bark character extremely variable on different trees in same stand. short stalk. blunt-pointed.31. 47 . Twigs: rather slender. pale greenish-white below. furnishing a fairly strong. leaf margin with teeth. ripening in May or early June. It is an extremely rapid-growing tree. light gray in color. fully as wide. sharp angle between leaf lobes. Winter buds: broad. railroad ties. leaf and fruit. Seeds: joined more or less end on end. and fuelwood. at maturity leaves light green in color above. from 3 to 4 inches long. RED MAPLE Twig. Fruit: samaras. usually 3-lobed. close-grained wood that is extensively used for cheap furniture. one-third natural size Bark: on young trunks smooth. in clusters on long stalks. often resembling beech. Leaves: simple. Though it is common in swamps all over the state. clefts between lobes shallow and sharp angled as contrasted with deep clefts of silver maple. in the manufacture of baskets and crates. without odor when cut or broken. terminal bud slightly larger than lateral buds. soft maple Acer rubrum Linnaeus Red maple derives its name from its brilliant autumn foliage. for mine props. Wings: diverge at wide angles. numerous large. often shaggy or scaly on surface. RED MAPLE swamp maple. it is also abundant on moist slopes and increasingly common in partially cut woodlots. with age becoming darker and roughened into long ridges. opposite. bright or dark red in color. red in color. plump flower buds along twig. Distinguishing features: red buds and twigs. clustered. margins of leaf lobes coarsely serrate. one-half natural size.

leaf and fruit. gray in color with reddish tinge. Distinguishing features: silvery bark on upper limbs.32. hence the name “silver maple. opposite.” Fruit: samaras. Winter buds: similar to red maple but larger. particularly middle two. deeply cut clefts between coarsetoothed lobes. clefts between lobes. usually very dense clusters of lateral buds. Twigs: similar to red maple but has distinctly rank odor when broken or crushed. surface separating in long. at maturity leaves pale green in color above and silvery white below. 5-lobed. SILVER MAPLE white maple Acer saccharinum Linnaeus Silver maple is generally distributed throughout the state but is not nearly as common as red maple. much larger than in red maple though maturing at about same time in spring. one-half natural size. Wings: more widely divergent than those of red maple. 3 to 5 inches long. 48 . one-third natural size Bark: on young trunks smooth. fully as wide. Sometimes only one side of samara develops. with age becoming reddish brown in color. Leaves: simple. SILVER MAPLE Twig. margins of lobes coarsely serrate. and the wood is used for the same purposes as the red maple with which it is included under the term “soft maple” by lumbermen. more or less furrowed. large-winged samaras. rank odor from crushed twig. but because of its weak wood it shouldn’t be planted near homes or cars. thin flakes that become free at ends and flake off. Silver maple is frequently planted as a shade tree owing to its rapid growth. It prefers the same general moist soil conditions. very deep.

is a magnificent forest tree abundant everywhere in the state outside of Long Island. with a fine. in short clusters. one-third natural size. Seeds: join each other in straight line. Besides providing beautiful borders to many miles of highway and hundreds of thousands of gallons of maple syrup from the many thousands of sugar bushes in all parts of the state. shoe lasts. interior finish. it yields a wood of high grade. Bark: on young trees dark gray in color. and tough. sharp-pointed. color of maple sugar. and is in great SUGAR MAPLE Leaf. Leaves: simple. Distinguishing features: rounded cleft between lobes of leaves. opposite. brown buds. strong. close. terminal buds much larger than laterals. ripening in September. shining. It is hard. satiny surface. becoming furrowed into long. 3 to 5 inches long and fully as wide. brown twig. Fruit: samaras. fruit and twig. and as a fuelwood of the best quality. rock maple Acer saccharum Marshall Sugar maple. rollers. clefts rounded at base. the official state tree of New York. close-grained.33. furniture. brown in color. one-half natural size demand for flooring. 3 to 5 shallow lobes with wide-spaced coarse teeth. leaf lobes lacking small teeth. irregular plates lifting along one edge. SUGAR MAPLE hard maple. Winter buds: very narrow. and firm. dark green in color above. Twigs: slender. 49 . Wings: turn down almost at right angles. veneer. smooth. paler below. sharp-pointed.

Of the 300 oaks known in the world, 55 are native to North America, and most of these are in the eastern United States. The oaks make up the largest group of forest trees native to New York. Sixteen species of oaks are native to this state. They grow under a wide range of conditions and show wide variations in form and other distinguishing characteristics. The oaks of New York do not thrive in the high forests of the mountains; therefore, representatives of the family found in the Adirondack section are in the sheltered valleys of the foothills. South and westward in the drainages of the Susquehanna, Genesee, and Alleghany Rivers, they become plentiful in variety and number. The best way to become acquainted with New York oaks is to divide them into two major groups, the one comprising the white oaks and the other the black oaks. It is easy to place the oaks of New York in these two groups by remembering the following characteristics of each: The white oaks: The leaves have rounded lobes (not bristle-tipped), and the kernels of the acorns are usually sweet. All the oaks of this group mature their acorns in a single season; for this reason they are sometimes called “annual oaks.” The most important members of the group in New York are white oak, swamp white oak, bur oak, post oak, and chestnut oak. The black oaks: The leaves are bristle-tipped (not round-lobed), and the kernels of the acorns are usually bitter. All the oaks in this group require two seasons to mature their acorns; for this reason they are sometimes called “biennial oaks,” which means twoyear oaks in contrast with the one-year white oaks. The immature acorns are very helpful in recognizing the members of the black-oak group, especially during the winter months when the trees are without leaves. The most important members of this group in New York are black oak, red oak, scarlet oak, and pin oak.


yellow oak
Quercus velutina Lambert Black oak is another dominant forest tree of the southern part of the state, though not as valuable or fast growing as northern red oak. It is usually found in gravelly soils and on drier sites than red oak. The wood is hard, heavy, and strong but is not considered as valuable as red oak. It is used chiefly for ties, construction, and fuelwood. Bark: on young stems smooth, dark brown in color, soon becoming dark gray to black, very rough, broken by deep furrows into thick ridges that are further divided by cross furrows; roughened especially at base of trunk even in quite young trees; inner bark orange yellow in color, rich in tannin, yields yellow dye. Twigs: stout, reddish brown in color mottled with gray. Winter buds: cone-shaped, sharp-pointed, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, covered with yellowish-gray wool, clustered at end of twig.

Leaves: simple, alternate, 4 to 10 inches long and 3 to 6 inches wide, with 5 to 7 lobes, toothed, bristle-tipped, separated by wide, rounded clefts, extending over halfway to midrib; at maturity leaves thick, dark green in color and shining above, paler and woolly beneath (particularly along midrib). Fruit: acorn, borne singly or in pairs, with or without stalks, maturing in autumn of second year. Nut: reddish brown in color, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, enclosed about 1/2 its length in light brown cup. Meat: yellow, very bitter. Distinguishing features: orange-yellow inner bark; leaf unbalanced, heavier on outer end, woolly along midrib beneath; acorn small, half enclosed in cup. Lower branches usually remain below half height of tree.

BLACK OAK Leaf, one-third natural size; twig and fruit, one-half natural size


rock oak
Quercus montana Willdenow Chestnut oak is named for its chestnut-like leaves. It is found principally on dry, rocky ridges and hillsides and is very common on such soils in the lower Hudson Valley. The wood is similar though somewhat inferior to white oak and is used generally for ties, posts, and rough construction. The lumber is too hard for interior finish. Bark: on young branches smooth, thin, yellowish brown in color; with age becoming dark brown to black in color, deeply furrowed into long, more or less continuous thick, rough ridges that are sharp and angular. At bottom of furrow, bark may be reddish brown in color. The thick bark of mature trees is an important source of tannin. Twigs: stout, light orange or reddish brown in color. Winter buds: clustered at ends of twigs, sharp-pointed, light yellowish brown in color, 1/4 inch long. Leaves: simple, alternate, thick, yellowish green in color above, somewhat paler beneath, 5 to 9 inches long, coarsely toothed as in chestnut, but teeth rounded and without bristle tips.

CHESTNUT OAK Leaf, twig, and fruit, one-third natural size

Fruit: acorn, borne singly or in pairs on short stalks, maturing in September of first season, starts sprouting soon after falling; one of our largest native acorns. Nut: shiny, light chestnut brown in color, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, 1/3 enclosed in cup. Meat: white, somewhat bitter. Distinguishing features: orange streak between ridges of bark; round teeth or scallops on leaf margin; long, slim acorn.


Quercus rubra Linnaeus Northern red oak is the fastest-growing and largest of all the oaks native to New York State. It shows adaptability to a wide variety of soil conditions and ranges farther north than any other oak common to the state. The wood is heavy, hard, strong, light reddish brown in color, and is used for furniture, interior finish, ties, piling, ships, and general construction, though it is less durable than white oak. Bark: on young trees smooth, gray green in color; with age tardily breaking into rather regular, firm, elongated, flat-topped ridges with shallow furrows between. Smooth ridge tops markedly lighter in color than furrows. On very large trees, this characteristic is lost at base but is evident higher up trunk. Inner bark red in color. Twigs: stout or slender, reddish to greenish brown in color.
NORTHERN RED OAK Leaf, one-third natural size; twig an dfruit, one-half natural size

Winter buds: clustered at ends of twigs, oval, sharp-pointed, 1/4 inch long, generally smooth (particularly on lower half).

Leaves: alternate; simple, 5 to 9 inches long, 4 to 6 inches wide, with 7 to 9 lobes; lobes sparsely toothed, bristle-tipped; wide rounding clefts extending halfway to midrib. At maturity thin, dark, shiny green in color above, paler and smooth below. Fruit: an acorn, borne solitary or in pairs, either with or without stalk, maturing in autumn of second year; one of our largest acorns. Nut: chestnut brown in color, 3/4 inch long, only 1/5 enclosed in wide, shallow cup. Meat: pale yellow in color, bitter. Distinguishing features: reddish inner bark; leaf balanced (no heavier at outer than inner end); large fat acorn with flat cup. In thick woods, lower branches usually are selfpruned to more than half height of tree.


with age dividing into irregular ridges with shallow furrows between. one-half natural size Fruit: acorn. 1/2 to 1 inch long. Winter buds: broadly oval. ridges not as regularly flattopped as in northern red oak or as roughly broken up as in black oak. light red in color. light brown in color. 1/2 to 1/3 enclosed in reddish-brown cup. dark green in color above. clustered at end of twig. with or without stalks. Bark: on young trunks. Meat: pale yellow. Twigs: medium stout to slender. Nut: oval. inner bark reddish in color. so called from its brilliant-colored autumn foliage. shiny. one-third natural size. extending well over halfway to midrib. It is of inferior commercial value except in props.37. lobes toothed. Distinguishing features: clefts between lobes of leaves extending nearly to midrib. at maturity leaves thin. and coarse in texture. firm. 54 . lower branches persistent for many years. reddish brown in color. bitter. smooth. Because of the characteristic habit and brilliant autumn coloring it is often used for ornamental purposes. 3 to 6 inches long and 3 to 5 inches wide. in general. blunt at top. paler below. dark reddish brown in color. strong. maturing in autumn of second year. The wood is hard. borne singly or in pairs. rounding clefts. separated by wide. ties. with 5 to 9 lobes. SCARLET OAK Leaf. and fuel. alternate. heavy. down curving. twig and fruit. SCARLET OAK Quercus coccinea Muenchhausen Scarlet oak. somewhat woolly. Leaves: simple. is most commonly found on poor soils.

Fruit: acorn.38. The wood has the same uses as that of white oak. Twigs: medium in thickness. Meat: white. smooth. frequently staying on tree over winter. heavy. ties. It is highly prized for furniture. greenish red to gray in color. either with short stalk or stalkless. Distinguishing features: ashy gray. and in general construction where strength is required. WHITE OAK Leaf and fruit. one-half natural size Leaves: alternate. generally deeply cleft toward midrib. implements. Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor Willdenow) is a tree of the moist bottomlands with leaves wider at outer ends and rounded teeth. 1/8 inch long. strong. broken by shallow furrows into long. blunt. flaky bark. maturing in one year. reddish brown in color. 1/4 enclosed in cup. especially in piling and ships. flooring. sometimes covered with a bloom. Winter buds: clustered at end of twigs. White oak acorns are an important food for wildlife. thin scales that readily flake off. slightly bitter. Bark: ashy gray in color. acorn 1/4 enclosed in cup. It is found in moist as well as dry locations and was once particularly abundant on what are now the best farmlands of the Genesee Valley. on old trunks furrows frequently become deep. 3/4 inch long. 5 to 9 inches long. deeply cleft lobes in leaves. frequently starts sprouting in late autumn. The wood is hard. paler below. The bark on young branches and twigs separates into curling scales. 38a. with 5 to 9 rounded lobes. twig. and durable. The acorn cups are long-stalked and deeply saucershaped. Nut: light brown in color. WHITE OAK Quercus alba Linnaeus White oak is an important forest tree in the southern two-thirds of the state. 55 . falling in September. growing to large size and producing lumber of high grade and value. irregular. and its acorns are also important for wildlife. simple. one-third natural size. dark green in color above.

very light brown in color. ripening in September. and buckets. light brown in color. long. with short stalks. The wood is soft. becoming deeply furrowed and grayish brown in color on older trees. EASTERN WHITE PINE Cone. boxes. natural size 56 . brittle. Distinguishing features: needles in clusters of 5. tending to curve from stem to apex. 3 to 5 inches long.39. yellowish brown in color. It grows naturally in a wide range of sites. Winter buds: sharp-pointed. winged. The miles of stump fences still standing in the southwestern section of the state are evidence of the abundance of the tree at one time in this region. needles. Twigs: rather slender. cylindrical. The lumber has a wide range of uses for interior trim. and easily worked. and greenish in color on young trees. staying on twigs for 2 years. Bark: thin. eventextured. requiring 2 years to mature. from the steep mountainsides in the Adirondacks to the hillsides and valley swamps of central and western New York. one-half natural size. soft. in clusters of 5. limber cone. no other wood in the United States has such a wide range of uses. 1/2 inch in diameter. beautiful. In fact. Fruit: cone. and useful forest trees native to New York. flexible. sash and doors. 5 to 10 inches long. drooping. bluish green in color. Leaves: needle-like. Seeds: 2 under each scale. EASTERN WHITE PINE Pinus strobus Linnaeus Eastern white pine is one of the most widely distributed. smooth.

. Clusters of needles very commonly found on main trunk. goldenbrown in color. very stiff. in clusters of 3. staying on twigs 2 to 3 years. yellow pine Pinus rigida Miller Pitch pine is found on dry ridges and slopes in the northeastern section of the state and on Long Island and infrequently elsewhere. 57 . yellowish green in color. persists on tree for many years. The tree seldom reaches a large size and the lumber is generally knotty. Winter buds: conspicuous. natural size Leaves: needle-like.40. ripening in September. Fruit: cone. sharp prickles on tip of cone scale. PITCH PINE hard pine. somewhat egg-shaped. resin-coated. Bark: early becomes very rough and reddish brown to very dark brown in color. Twigs: coarse. Its chief uses are for rough framing lumber. dark brown in color. PITCH PINE Cone and needles. requiring 2 years to mature. brittle. and crates. without stem. flat-topped ridges separating on surface into loose. ties. mine props. Unusual thickness of bark makes it New York’s most fire-resistant tree. Seeds: 2 under each scale. dark reddish-brown scales. The wood is coarse-grained and brownish red in color. reddish brown in color. 2 to 3 inches long. pointed. Distinguishing features: needles in 3s. Cone scales: each carries stiff recurved prickle. with age becoming deeply furrowed into broad. 3 to 5 inches long.

medium in texture. flat ridges separating into thin. framing lumber. 3 to 6 inches long. Winter buds: rather inconspicuous. 41a.41. ties. RED PINE Norway pine Pinus resinosa Aiton Red pine is a valuable. flaky scales. 1/8 inch long. Seeds: 2 under each scale. Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris Linnaeus) from Europe has been planted extensively throughout the state. winged. tapering cone 2 to 3 inches long with greenish scales. fast-growing timber tree that is less generally distributed than eastern white pine. RED PINE Cones and needles. It is found commonly on the sandy soils adjacent to the Adirondacks and frequently on dry benches in west-central New York. reddish brown in color. requiring 2 years to mature. Distinguishing features: needles in 2s. The wood is light. pale red in color. and is often sold as white-pine lumber. with shallow. dark green in color. and Christmas trees. Because of its rapid growth and relative freedom from insects and diseases. staying on tree into next season. roughened at base of year’s growth. remaining on twigs 3 to 4 years. It has naturalized from many of these plantings and is found in a variety of habitats. slender. Its blue-green. light chestnut brown in color. nearly round cone without prickles. breaking cleanly when bent. ripening in September. light brown in color when ripe. natural size 58 . It is used for pulpwood. with pointed reddish-brown scales. Twigs: coarse. and the orange-brown bark on upper stem and branches are its main characters. close-grained. twisted flat needles in clusters of 2. Leaves: needle-like. in clusters of 2. 2 inches long. Cone scales: without spines or prickles. This species does not grow well on poorly drained soils. without stem. it has been commonly planted on many of the thousands of acres of idle land in the state. Fruit: cone. Bark: reddish brown in color.

Fruit remains on tree during winter. The wood is soft. 59 . Distinguishing features: berry-like fruit. extremely durable in contact with the soil. Bark: light reddish brown in color. not flattened or arranged in fanshaped clusters. separating in long. 2 kinds of leaves. and easily worked. cedar chests. cabinet work. of 2 kinds: (1) scale-like. fragrant. making twig appear 4-sided. covered with thin. It is found growing only in open woods and pastures where plenty of sunlight is obtained. EASTERN REDCEDAR Leaves: various shades of green to reddish Natural size brown in color. usually on young trees or more vigorous shoots and yellowish green to light bluish green in color. covered by overlapping scale-like leaves. is common to the poor. As a post wood. dull red in color with contrasting white sapwood. (2) awl-shaped. becoming reddish brown in color after fall of leaves. sharp and awl-like and flat and scale-like. with bloom at maturity in the autumn of first year. a small-sized. EASTERN REDCEDAR Juniperus virginiana Linnaeus Eastern redcedar. wingless. 1/4 inch in diameter. dry soils of the lower Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. opposite in pairs. and is infrequent in central and western New York. 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. shreddy strips fringed along edges. Winter buds: minute. brown in color. It is largely used in the manufacture of pencils. Twigs: generally 4-sided on mature trees. narrow. sharp-pointed. slow-growing forest tree. except on barren soils adjoining the Finger Lakes. closely overlapping.42. Fruit: berry-like cone. persistent 3 to 4 years. green in color from covering of minute leaves. Seeds: 1 to 2. brittle. it has few superiors. sweet flesh that has resinous flavor. highly prized by birds. light. light blue in color. and interior finish. is not common in the higher Adirondack region.

Bark: reddish brown in color. coarse-grained. inner bark cinnamon red. with flat-topped ridges crossed by horizontal cracks. 60 . some ovate. for its bark and root. Fruit: berry-like. 4 to 6 inches long. spicy smell of twigs. spicy to smell. 1/3 to 3/5 inch long. It is rare or absent in the higher Adirondacks and Catskills but is locally common on the sandy soil between these mountain ranges and is abundant on the hills along the lower Hudson River Valley SASSAFRAS Twig. aromatic. containing a stony seed 1/4 inch long. varying greatly in shape on same tree. Leaves: alternate. ripens early in autumn. deeply furrowed even in young trees. brittle. usually in clusters. later becoming reddish brown. pointed. inner layers bright cinnamon red in color. still others 3lobed.43. best known. brittle. shade-intolerant tree. small. and fruit one-third natural size and on Long Island. greenish in color. at first light yellowish green in color. others mitten-shaped (both left and right handed). Distinguishing features: leaves with 3 different shapes. dark blue in color. lateral buds much smaller. on a stout red stem. Its wood is soft. which have long been used for making sassafras tea. weak. Twigs: slender. SASSAFRAS Sassafras albidum (Nuttall) Nees Sassafras is a small to medium-sized. leaf. simple. one-half natural size. perhaps. and very durable in contact with the soil. Winter buds: terminal bud present. entire margined. It is used locally for fence posts. more rarely 5-lobed.

It is common throughout most parts of the state. serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis (Linnaeus) Medikus Shadbush is an attractive tree though not of value for timber because of its small size. and on hillsides in open woods. with age often marked with dark lengthwise streaks. about 1/3 inch in diameter. and dark brown in color often tinged with red. finely serrate leaves. one-half natural size southern highlands.44. contains many seeds. but usually covered by thin grayish outer layer. grayish brown in color. sweet. Leaves: alternate. smooth. It is occasionally used for tool handles and is highest of all native woods in heat value. finely serrate on margin. its small white flowers are commonly noticed along the drier banks of the streams. 61 . In the spring when the shad are ascending the rivers. slender. lateral buds somewhat smaller than terminal bud or undeveloped. strong. particularly in the central and SHADBUSH Twig. SHADBUSH juneberry. leaf. along fencerows. cluster of edible red berries. greenish or purplish brown in color. somewhat zigzag. Winter buds: terminal bud 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. ovate. reddish purple in color. Fruit: a berry. olive green to purplish brown in color. close-grained. and fruit. 2 to 4 inches long. a favorite food for birds. sharp-pointed. ripening in June or July. sharp-pointed. borne in clusters. Bark: very smooth. Twigs: slender. Its wood is heavy. Distinguishing features: gray bark marked with streaks. harder than white oak. simple.

1 1/2 to 2 inches long. usually coated with fine. and in great demand for chemical wood pulp. The wood is light. pale hairs. Cone scales: thin. Twigs: slender. cone dark brown and falling early from tree. ripening in September. close-grained. without stalk. unlike red spruce. 62 . peeling off in small reddish-brown scales. pointed. It is used also for framing. pendant. winged. RED SPRUCE Picea rubens Sargent Red spruce is a common and valuable forest tree of the Adirondacks and Catskills and occasionally is found at high elevations (2.45. reddish brown in color. Seeds: dark brown in color. remain on the tree for 2 or 3 years. and Otsego Counties). 1/2 inch long. Leaves: needle-like. 4-sided in cross-section. Delaware. borne singly rather than in clusters as with pines. It has a peculiar resonant quality that makes it exceedingly valuable for the sounding boards of musical instruments. The cones. RED SPRUCE Branchlet and cone.000 feet) in eastern New York (Schoharie. remaining on twigs 5 to 6 years. one-half natural size Bark: very thin. Distinguishing features: lack of rank odor from crushed needles. blunt-pointed. reddish brown in color. 45a. Black spruce (Picea mariana (Miller) BSP) closely resembles red spruce and covers the same general range but is largely confined to swamps. mostly falling off before next season. 1/8 inch long. entire-margined. borne on short stalk. Fruit: a cone. dark brown when ripe. but coming out all around stem. maturing in one year. yellowish green in color. It is used for pulpwood. soft. Winter buds: small.

It has naturalized and is sometimes considered a troublesome weedy species. 1/8 inch long. The Norway spruce (Picea abies (Linnaeus) Karsten) from Europe. Winter buds: small. papery. 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long. Distinguishing features: papery cone scales. Bark: grayish to pale reddish brown. Leaves: needle-like. 46a.46. Odor: strong and rank when crushed. Seeds: 2 under each scale. easily distinguish it from our native spruces. without stalk. more than 6 inches in length. entire margined. separating in thin scales. slender. for which purpose it is planted far south of its natural range. ripening in September. WHITE SPRUCE Branchlet and cone. light shiny green in color when young. rounded. remaining on twig from 8 to 10 years. 1/2 inch long. pale brown in color when ripe. Twigs: smooth. WHITE SPRUCE cat spruce Picea glauca (Moench) Voss White spruce is confined in its natural distribution to the Adirondacks. yellowish brown in color. light brown in color. blunt-pointed. brown in color. pendant. maturing in one year. borne singly and densely crowded on twigs. natural size Fruit: cone with very small stalk. The wood is in great demand for chemical pulp. The cones. rank odor from crushed needles. reaching its best development in the so-called “spruce flats” but extending also far up the mountain slopes. the common ornamental spruce of lawns and cemeteries throughout the state. It is also planted for Christmas trees. becoming blue-green. winged. Its attractive foliage makes it prized as an ornamental tree. 63 . also is used extensively in forest plantations. 4-sided in crosssection. Cone scales: thin.

SYCAMORE Leaf. SYCAMORE buttonball. one-half natural size Winter buds: terminal bud absent. not strong. shallowly furrowed into broad ridges that are broken up into small plate-like scales. tobacco boxes. from 4 to 10 inches across. seed balls seldom break up before spring. somewhat shiny. Leaves: alternate. peeling off in large. lateral buds conical. bud with 1 scale forming cap. pebbly grained ball. buttonwood. borne on long stem. broad. Twigs: rather stout. twig and fruit. reddish brown in color. pale green and white woolly below. higher up on trunk and branches. novelties. tough. smooth. firm. and difficult to split or work. base of the stalk surrounding bud. with 3 to 5 shallow lobes. on river bottoms. 64 . broad leaves. plane tree Platanus occidentalis Linnaeus Sycamore is a large-sized forest tree that is common throughout the state except in the Adirondacks and higher Catskills and on Long Island. Bark: dark brown in color at base of older trunks. thin. butchers’ blocks. and occasionally for furniture and interior woodwork. along streams. and occasionally in drier places. about 1 inch in diameter. in low. fruit a brown. reddish brown in color. Distinguishing features: whitish to greenish under-bark on upper trunk and limbs.47. made up of tiny seeds. damp woods. 1/4 inch long. brown in color. thin plates exposing areas of whitish. at first green in color and fuzzy. only 1 scale visible. This species is most often found wherever the soil is moist and fertile. zigzag. Seeds: each furnished with long tuft of hairs. later grayish or brownish and smooth. one-third natural size. Its wood is heavy. It is used for crates. yellowish. Fruit: ball. simple. woolly below. coarse-grained. dull-pointed. bright green in color above. or greenish inner bark that are very striking in winter. smooth. forming cap over bud. hard.

rather stout. pointed. 4 to 6 inches long. reddish brown in color. It is native from Saratoga and Rensselaer Counties westward along Lake Ontario to Lake Erie and becomes more abundant southward in deep. It is largely made into lumber and interior finish and used where a soft. covered by 2 reddish-brown bud scales giving appearance of a mitten. upright.48. about 1/4 inch long. thick. shiny. two-thirds natural size low or brown in color. one-half natural size. almost square in outline. ripening in September. most distinctive and unusual leaf of any of our native forest trees. easily worked wood is required. Veneer of yellow-poplar is highly prized in airplane construction. aromatic odor of twigs. 65 . tulip-like. and leaf. Leaves: alternate. Distinguishing features: unusual leaf. Winter buds: terminal bud smooth. not strong. soft. rich. distinctly and regularly furrowed and ridged. 2 to 3 inches long. Bark: on young trees. Twigs: smooth. light gray to brown. blunt. lateral buds similar but much smaller. ashy gray or brown in color. simple. often branching first year. It is named for its large. and mostly falling soon after. usually 3. The wood is light. whitewood Liriodendron tulipifera Linnaeus Tulip tree is one of our most distinctive and attractive trees. light brown in color. bitter taste. on older trunks. fruit. twig. very bitter taste. aromatic odor. brittle. Fruit: cone. smooth. straight-grained.or 4lobed with truncate tip. light yel- TULIP TREE Flower. outer ring of winged seeds may stay on tree into next season. moist soils. mitten-like terminal bud. flattened. tulip-poplar. TULIP TREE yellow-poplar. greenish-yellow flowers. with “cutoff” tip. simple. Seeds: long winged.

orange brown in color. hard. cream-colored. BLACK WALNUT Leaf. twig. compound. edible nuts. BLACK WALNUT Juglans nigra Linnaeus Black walnut is a valuable timber tree native to some areas of New York State. It can reach a large size and produces highly prized wood and large. scarcely longer than broad. ripening in October. chambered pith. less than 1/3 inch long. edible. later smooth. easily worked. It is common at low elevations in rich. 66 . fleshy husk. stout. Fruit: a round nut. downy. strong. and when properly cured somewhat easier to extract than butternut. sharppointed. Distinguishing features: large round nut. usually stalkless. serrate along margin. The wood is heavy. and takes a fine polish. and for gunstocks. inner bark dark chocolate brown in color. Twigs: at first hairy. Outer husk must be removed if nuts will be stored. fruit. surface roughened by rather coarse ridges. 1 1/2 inches in diameter. enclosed in a yellowish green. well-drained bottomlands north to Saratoga and Jefferson Counties and west to Lake Erie. It deserves protection and planting in suitable locations. cream-colored chambered pith.49. blunt-pointed. leaflets 3 to 4 inches long. It is largely used in cabinetmaking. interior trim. rich dark brown in color. one-third natural size Bark: thick. brittle. deeply furrowed with rounded ridges between. lateral buds less than 1/6 inch long. three-fourths natural size. Leaves: alternate. Winter buds: terminal bud pale. durable. dark. with 13 to 23 leaflets. grayish brown in color. usually solitary or in clusters of 2. one-fifth natural size. leaves up to 2 feet in length. Kernel: sweet. black.

about 1/8 inch long. sharp-pointed. pale green below. occurring in large numbers on drooping tassels. silky hairs. It is used chiefly for boxes. Winter buds: terminal bud absent. only 1 bud scale. small buds with 1 bud scale. gravelly or sandy soils where it can get plenty of light. BLACK WILLOW Twig. It prefers moist or wet soils along streams or lakes but is sometimes found on fresh. reddish brown in color. Seeds: within capsule. pulp. covered with dense tuft of long. smooth. medium-sized trunks close to the ground and the wood is soft and weak. reddish brown in color. Leaves: alternate. and also for artificial limbs because of its lightness. somewhat drooping. Its shiny. Twigs: slender. sharp-pointed. rough with wide ridges covered by thick scales. BLACK WILLOW Salix nigra Marshall Black willow is the largest and most widely distributed of the native willows. finely serrate margin. 50a. and fruit. varying in color from light to dark brown. although it is rare above an altitude of 2. broad leaves and yellowish-brown twigs will help to distinguish it from the black willow.000 feet in the Adirondacks and in the pine barrens of Long Island. leaf. dark green in color above. lateral buds small. excelsior. very brittle at the base. Bark: thick. may take root and grow if they fall to the ground. It is of little importance as a timber tree because it often divides into several crooked. The shining willow (Salix lucida Muhlenberg) is an attractive small tree of moist soils. Fruit: a smooth capsule.50. two-thirds natural size 67 . ripening in spring. reddish brown in color. used extensively for holding soil in place where erosion is to be feared and also for ornamental plantings. linear. simple. Distinguishing features: narrow leaves.

Shining willow Scientific Name Chamaecyparis thyoides (Linnaeus) BSP (page 16) Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall (page 17) Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall var. Red ash 3a. Swamp white oak 41a. Black spruce 46a. Norway spruce 50a. European larch Striped maple Norway maple Box-elder Mountain maple Black maple Bur oak Pin oak Post oak 38a. Scotch pine 45a. lanceolata (Burkhausen) Sargent (page 18) Prunus avium Linnaeus (page 28) Prunus virginiana Linnaeus (page 29) Larix decidua Miller (page 43) Acer pensylvanicum Linnaeus (page 46) Acer platanoides Linnaeus (page 46) Acer negundo Linnaeus (page 46) Acer spicatum Lambert (page 46) Acer nigrum F. White-cedar 2a. Michaux (page 46) Quercus macrocarpa Michaux (page 50) Quercus palustris Muenchhausen (page 50) Quercus stellata Wangenheim (page 50) Quercus bicolor Willdenow (page 55) Pinus sylvestris Linnaeus (page 58) Picea mariana (Miller) BSP (page 62) Picea abies (Linnaeus) Karsten (page 63) Salix lucida Muhlenberg (page 67) 68 . Chokecherry 28a. Sweet cherry or Bird cherry 14a.COMMON AND SCIENTIFIC NAMES OF OTHER TREES MENTIONED Common Name 1a. Green ash 13a.

WHERE AND WHAT TO COLLECT Leaves. as originally published. These sections. of course. Green leaves are the best to use in the collection. Many fruits. seeds of white ash. This is particularly important for black walnut. Dead branches. many trees will have dropped their leaves. Of course. The twig should be cut about 5 inches long. Twigs. have broader applications for those who have a general interest in the study of forestry or botany. This collection is the check on whether a club member has learned to identify his or her tree neighbors. Lower branches that are heavily shaded may not show typical features. In specimens that have compound leaves (locusts. which would spoil the tree). Fruits are not required to complete this project but add to the interest of the collection. The collection can be completed in spring and summer with seeds from the few trees that fruit in these seasons. from a live side branch (not from the top shoot. If several twigs are collected on any one day. Most fruits should be collected in the autumn when seeds are matured. Fruits. Specimens of average size should be selected. ashes). Leaves of black walnut. The following sections are designed specifically for 4-H projects and contests. are not acceptable. each should be tagged to prevent identification mistakes.MAKING A TREE COLLECTION This bulletin. samaras of maples. 69 . Such collections also may be used for exhibit material at school and county fairs and in nature study programs. should be obtained. hickories. conifers that keep their leaves (all but the larches) have fullsized buds by October. The specimen should include the terminal bud (if present in the species) and several side (lateral) buds. The twigs should be cut on a slant to expose the pith. and pods of locusts are easy to find and collect. so leaves of all but the conifers should be collected after the end of May. walnuts. Twigs. Small branches may be collected anytime in the autumn or winter after the leaves have dropped. so smaller but typical specimens should be gathered. Sprout growth should be avoided. and American chestnut. However. however. was designed for use by participants in 4-H forestry projects. Because this project begins in the autumn. balls of sycamore. such as nuts from hickories and walnuts. those that are extra large and found on sprouts or vigorously growing seedlings should not be taken. butternut. the whole leaf. the hickories. A twig from one of these trees bears the leaves and occasionally the fruit as well. or honey-locust may be too large to mount easily. not just the leaflet. The main requirement of the forest appreciation project is to make a collection of (1) the leaves and (2) the winter twig with the buds of each of at least 15 forest trees. Fruits. Collecting the specimens for mounting WHEN TO COLLECT Leaves. butternut.

if dipped in paraffin. between sheets of newspaper on a flat surface and placing a weighted board on the pile of papers. Delicate fruits of willows and poplars keep well if placed in small cellophane or oiled paper bags. will remain in good condition. A simple press can be made at home by placing the leaves. Twigs. Many of the fruits are fragile. use heavy buff or white paper or cardboard. These small branches. For large fruits. and letter envelopes are used in mounting specimens. Such fruits. (Care should be taken not to gather the flowers instead of the fruits. If you obtain your own mounting sheets. taking foliage without holes. The worm-like fruits of poplars and willows drop quickly and must be gathered within a few days after ripening. a sample of each of the three shapes should be collected. All of the items on this list may not be required. should be kept. This may be done in a press similar to that used in school for flowers and leaves. Carefully dry and press the leaves as soon as they are brought from the woods. in a cool. Preparing the specimens for mounting Leaves. depending on the specimens collected and the method of mounting. punched to fit the covers. a small bottle of white glue. For each tree. a small jar of white shellac. The fruits of cucumber and tulip trees are usually high up near the tops of the trees.) Catkins of birches are often mistaken for the cone-like fruits. When gathering leaves. well spread out and not overlapping. except for those of the conifers. The twigs of conifers should be mounted at once or the leaves will drop off. and should not be pressed. carry a good-sized notebook to hold the specimens without crushing them. paper or cardboard sheets for mounting each tree sample. which can be mounted complete. as well as twigs and leaves. or white shellac. 70 . Mounting the specimens on paper EQUIPMENT A set of outside covers. corrugated cardboard. rubber cement. such as pine cones and nuts. from which to select one or more good-looking specimens for mounting. dry place where they will dry gradually. or unnatural shapes. magic tape or thin strips of bond paper. properly tagged. and to have others in case of accident. galls. It is best to collect several fruits. Specimens can be kept in the press until you are ready to mount them. Cut the corrugated cardboard into strips 1 inch wide and 10 1/2 inches long to create “fillers” to be punched and placed between the mounting sheets to make the book level. Fruits. A good substitute is a large catalog. Dip hemlock and spruce in shellac to hold the needles. two or three fillers may be needed to bring the sheets even. Plain writing paper will wrinkle and warp too greatly for good appearance. such as the cones of birches and balsam fir (which should be collected green) and sycamore balls.a close watch must be kept for many others. Keep the leaves of each tree together with a piece of paper bearing the name. For sassafras. select two or more leaves.

shellac. Some trees such as thornapple and pin cherry have no commercial uses but may furnish cover and food for game. Method of mounting Mount the leaves with tape or glue. If a specimen breaks. If you use white glue. Remove the piece of paper and throw it away. Fasten the collection together attractively with string. Twigs are best mounted with tape (see page 72).Names and uses of trees Each sheet is to bear the specimens from one tree only. Each specimen should be labeled. county. and county on the top cover. These can be fastened with glue. pods of locusts. For instance. place the mounted sheets between the outside covers. rawhide. the cones of pines. and write the date of the collection.g. cloth tape. road or roads. small ribbon. sandwich bags) that can be mounted on the paper. It is good to separate an individual seed and mount it by itself with glue. and the fruit of cucumber) that are round and difficult to mount may be cut in half lengthwise. Finally. For compound leaves. Nuts can be halved or cross-sections cut with a fine saw.. Finishing the collection book Finally. serve as erosion control. Be sure to leave space for the twig and the fruit and the name and uses of the tree. to make it more “woodsy. With long leaves such as those of the walnuts the leaf stem may be bent in the middle so that the whole leaf can be mounted on the sheet. 71 . The uses of the tree may be listed. Fragile fruits may be placed in small transparent enclosures (e. Large fruits (pine cones. address. Write your name. In the lower righthand corner of the sheet (or on a separate piece of paper that is then glued in the lower righthand corner). nuts. mileage from a city or intersection. and fasten the points and stem in place with tape (see page 72). write the scientific name of the plant. This should be done when the leaf is put into the press. or. Write a sentence or two describing that habitat and associated species.” use small rootlets from hemlock or bark from basswood branches. cut and set aside a supply of narrow strips 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Mount the other leaf (if simple) in the same way but with the undersurface showing. township. If you use tape only. it is unnecessary to mount two whole leaves because a leaflet may be turned over to show the undersurface. Arrange the leaf on the paper. This pressure assures contact of the leaf or needle with the paper. this is you) or collectors. and husks and burrs of nut trees should be included. put the leaf in place. Write the name of the collector (in most cases. or tape. or they may be held on the paper by thread that is sewn through the paper from above and tied beneath. and gently rub with the hand on a piece of scrap paper placed over the leaf or needles. Write the exact location of the plant: state. or function as a “nurse crop” to prepare a good seedbed for the more valuable trees. use one of the extra samples collected. assign a number to the collection. fasten the leaf at tips and stem with tape or glued paper strips. apply it to the leaf surface that will adhere to the paper.

The top leaf shows the upper surface. the bottom leaf the lower surface Plate 3 72 .

Divided into segments about halfway to the middle. or divided. not toothed. on opposite sides of an axis. A modified stem or branch with a sharp point. Having sharp teeth pointing forward. may be lobed or cleft but not divided all the way to the midrib. 73 . Those in which the blade is all in one piece. broadest near the base and narrowed to the apex. Radiating fan-like from approximately one point. Long and narrow with parallel margins. Arranged feather-like on each side of a common axis. One part of a compound leaf. Those in which the blade consists of two or more separate parts (leaflets). Several times longer than wide. The main or central vein of a leaf or leaflet or leaf-like part. slowly grown branchlet. A short. placed singly at different heights on the stem. The edge of a leaf. a continuation of the petiole. line-shaped. Of the shape of a longitudinal section through a chicken egg. A joint or place where leaves are attached to a stem. the leaf excluding the petiole. leaves not all falling off at the same time. Remaining attached. The expanded part of a leaf. Pith in transverse plates with air cavities between them.GLOSSARY Alternate Blade Chambered pith Compound leaves Deciduous Entire Lanceolate Leaflet Leaf scar Linear Lobed Margin Midrib Node Oblique (leaves) Opposite Ovate Palmate Persistent Pinnate Serrate Simple leaves Spur Terminal bud Thorn Truncate One (leaf or bud) at a node. notched. Falling off in autumn or before. with the broad end toward the base. saw-toothed. Two (leaves or buds) at a node. Having unequal sides or a base with sides of unequal lengths. Ending abruptly as if cut off transversely. Having a continuous unbroken margin. The bud formed at the tip of a twig. segments are larger than teeth. A scar left on the twig when a leaf falls.

49 Elm: Mountain. 25 Yellow.INDEX TO TREE DESCRIPTIONS Apple: Thorn. 21 Pine: Eastern White. 39 Scalybark. 46 Box-elder. 20 Trembling. 36 Hemlock: Eastern. 43 Swamp. 46 Red. 37 Norway. 39 74 . 46 Elder. 24 Silver. 49 Hackmatack. 66 White. 50 Chestnut. 38 Hophornbeam. 63 Hemlock. 58 Yellow. 41 Oak: Black. 57 Red. 65 Willow: Black. 41. 23 Canoe. 40 Shagbark. 47 Fir: Striped. 29 Fire. 61 Spruce: Black. 46 American. 44 Honey. Wild. 39 Pignut. 16 White. 57 Norway. 48 Hawthorn. 42 Ironwood. 19 Large-toothed. 42 Berry: June. 51 Pignut. 53 Pin. 43 Thornapple. 57 Plane Tree. 46 Hard. 37 Hickory: Bitternut. 38 Brown. 23 White. American. 55 White. 37 Hemlock-Spruce. 34 Rock. 44 Cottonwood. 44 Yellow. 38 Tightbark. 21 Beech: American. 29 Sweet. 67 Shining. 58 Scotch. Box. 58 Pitch. Eastern. 65 Walnut: Black. 35 Sugar. 25 Cherry. 28 Black. 28 Hornbeam: American. 45 Sweet. 29 Red. 46 Butternut. 55 Yellow. 59 Northern White. 67 Locust: Black. 49 White. 38 Water. 23 Gray. 50 Rock. 33 Norway. 40 Swamp. 18 Red. 51 Bur. 32 Black. 17 White. 34 Red. 62 Cat. 36 Tulip Tree. 28 Choke. 43 Linden. 61 Birch: Black. 25 Poplar. 52 Scarlet. 36 Arborvitae. 41 Eastern. 47 White. 20 Basswood. 27 Buttonball. 33 Silver. 60 Shadbush. 64 Tamarack. 42 Water. 24 Old-field. 61 Service. 63 Red. 21. 22 Blue. 65 Popple. 52 Northern Red. 59 Sassafras. 42 Larch: American. 31 Maple: Cucumber Tree. 48 Soft. 64 Cedar: Eastern Red. 27 Whitewood. 63 Sycamore. 54 Swamp white. 30 White. 62 White. 29 Pin. 20 Small-toothed. 64 Poplar: Tulip. 16 Ash: Black. 46 Balsam. 18 Aspen: Bigtooth. 50 Post. 19 Quaking. 16 Cherry: Bird. American. 24 Paper. 56 Hard. 65 Yellow. 45 Chestnut. 43 European. 20 Redcedar: Eastern. 64 Buttonwood. 47 Slippery. 17 Green. 26 Sweet. 26 Box-elder.

NOTES 75 .

NOTES 76 . For information call or write the Office of the Director. Department of Agriculture. and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The catalog also can be accessed at www. Merrill Ewert. NY 14853 (607-255-2237).html.cce. Director. Media and Technology Services Resource Center. 365 Roberts Hall.This publication is issued to further Cooperative Extension work mandated by acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30.mediasrv.cornell. Ithaca. Ithaca.S. College of Human Ecology. Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities. This information is presented with the understanding that no product discrimination is intended and no endorsement of any product mentioned or criticism of unnamed products is implied. NY 14850. Produced by Media and Technology Services Printed on recycled paper 147J85 499/635 6/02 5M CR MTS10097 . 1914. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Cornell Cooperative Extension. D. Additional copies of this publication may be purchased from Cornell University. Alternative formats of this publication are available on request to persons with disabilities who cannot use the printed format. or from any Cornell Cooperative Extension office.cornell. Fax: 607-255-9946. 7 Cornell Business & Technology Park. and College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. E-mail: resctr@cce. Phone: 607-255-2080. It was produced with the cooperation of the U. A free catalog of Cornell Cooperative Extension publications and audiovisuals is available from the same address.

edu A free catalog of Cornell Cooperative Extension publications and audiovisuals is available from the same address or from any Cornell Cooperative Extension office.cce. NY 14850 Phone: 607-255-2080 Fax: 607-255-9946 E-mail: resctr@cornell. NRAES-91 New York State 4-H Program Resources Guide. The catalog also can be accessed at www. ISBN 1-57753-301-1 . MD 20815-4999 Know Your Tree Diseases (153J116) Managing Small Woodlands for Firewood (147IB208) Managing Small Woodlands for Wildlife (147IB157) Timber Management for Small Woodlands (147IB180) Trees: Dead or Alive (147L22) Wildlife and Timber from Private Lands: A Landowner’s Guide to Planning (147IB193) For references to these and other related projects. available in your county 4-H office Copies of this publication can be obtained by contacting Cornell University Media and Technology Services Resource Center 7 Cornell Business and Technology Park catalog.html.cornell.RELATED RESOURCES Maple Syrup Production for the Beginner (contact county 4-H office) Firewood: From Woodlot to Woodpile (147L512) Forestry A: Trees (CO750) National 4-H Council 7100 Connecticut Avenue Chevy Chase. youth and their leaders may refer to the following: Guide to Great Forestry and Natural Resource Publications.

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