What Tree is That?: A Guide to the More Common Trees Found in North America

What Tree is That?: A Guide to the More Common Trees Found in North America


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780963465757
Publisher: Arbor Day Foundation
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Pages: 164
Sales rank: 324,820
Product dimensions: 4.87(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range: 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

What Tree Is That?

Arbor Day Foundation

Copyright © 2009 Arbor Day Foundation
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-9634657-5-7

Chapter One


5A Do you live east of the Rocky Mountains or in the blue shaded area of Canada or Alaska? YES GO TO 6A


Do you live west of the Rocky Mountains or in the green shaded area of Canada or Alaska? YES GO TO 68A


6A Does the tree bear cones and have leaves that are needle-like? CLUE: These trees are called CONIFERS (cone-bearing) and most are EVERGREEN (tree with needles or leaves that remain alive and on the tree through the winter and into the next growing season). YES GO TO 7D


Does the tree bear cones that are sometimes berry-like and have leaves that hug the twig and are scale-like or awl-shaped? CLUE: These trees are called CONIFERS (cone-bearing) and most are EVERGREEN. YES GO TO 16B


Does the tree have leaves that are flat and thin? CLUE: These trees are called BROADLEAF, (a tree with leaves that are flat and thin) and bear a variety of fruit and flowers. Most are DECIDUOUS (shedding all leaves annually).GO TO 12B OR Are the trees DECIDUOUS with singly attached needles of uneven length flattened along the twig, the cone a 1" (2.5 cm) diameter green or brown wrinkled ball? It is a baldcypress. YES GO TO 14D

8A Are the needles clustered in groups of 5 and the cones long with thin scales? It is an eastern white pine. YES GO TO 9A OR

Are the needles clustered in groups of 2 or 3, and the cone scales thick and often tipped with spines? YES GO TO 8B

8B Are the needles clustered in groups of 3? YES GO TO 8C OR

Are the needles clustered in groups of 2? YES GO TO 10A OR Are the needles clustered in groups of 2 and 3 on the same tree? YES GO TO 10D

8C Are the needles 3-5" (7.6-12.7 cm) long, somewhat twisted, often sprouting in tufts from the trunk; cones 2-3 1/2" (5.1-8.9 cm) long? It is a pitch pine. YES GO TO 9B


Are the needles 8-18" (20.3-45.7 cm) long, cones 6-10" (15.2-25.4 cm) long? It is a longleaf pine. YES GO TO 9C OR Are the needles 6-9" (15.2-22.9 cm) long, cones 3-6" (7.6-15.2 cm) long? It is a loblolly pine. YES GO TO 9D

9A EASTERN WHITE PINE Pinus strobus Zones 3-8

The fabled tree eagerly sought by the first wave of loggers in America. The provincial tree of Ontario.

9B PITCH PINE Pinus rigida Zones 4-7

The fire resilient conifer of the East, even producing new branches and needles after fire kills the green foliage

9C LONGLEAF PINE Pinus palustris Zones 7-10

A tall, stately pine of the South long sought by loggers

9D LOBLOLLY PINE Pinus taeda Zones 6-9

Our most important and widely cultivated timber species in the southern United States

10A Are the needles mostly 3-6" (7.6-15.2 cm) long? YES GO TO 10B


Are the needles mostly 3/4-4" (1.9-10.2 cm) long? YES GO TO 10C

10B Are the needles 4-6" (10.2-15.2 cm) long, flexible, but break cleanly when folded; the bud and bark of the trunk reddish-brown? It is a red pine. YES GO TO 11A


Are the needles 3-6" (7.6-15.2 cm) long, stout and stiff; the bark of the trunk gray-brown with black furrows and the bud silvery? It is an Austrian pine. YES GO TO 11B

10C Are the needles mostly 3/4-1 1/2" (1.9-3.8 cm) long, yellow-green, and widely spread in bunches? CLUE: The cones often remain closed for many years. It is a jack pine (scrub pine). YES GO TO 11C


Are the needles 1 1/2-4" (3.8-10.2 cm) long, blue-green to yellow-green, and twisted; and is the bark on the upper trunk of older trees orange-red? It is a Scots pine. YES GO TO 11D

10D Are the needles 5-10" (12.7-25.4 cm) long, cones 3-6" (7.6-15.2 cm) long? CLUE: The tree is native to the Great Plains and the West. It is a ponderosa pine. YES GO TO 12E


Are the needles 7-10" (17.8-25.4 cm) long, cones 3-6" (7.6-15.2 cm) long? CLUE: The tree is native to the southeastern states, especially along the coastal plain. It is a slash pine. YES GO TO 13A


Are the needles 3-5" (7.6-12.7 cm) long, cones 1 1/2-2 1/2" (3.8-6.4 cm) long? CLUE: The tree is native to the southern states and north to central Missouri across to Pennsylvania. It is a shortleaf pine. YES GO TO 13B

11A RED PINE, NORWAY PINE Pinus resinosa Zones 2-5

For telephone poles, lumber or windbreaks, red pine is one 'hard-working tree'

11B AUSTRIAN PINE Pinus nigra Zones 4-7

From southern Europe and Asia minor to widespread planting in our country on sites where only the drought-tolerant can thrive

11C JACK PINE, SCRUB PINE Pinus banksiana Zones 2-7

An essential link for nesting cover in the precarious life cycle of the beautiful Kirtland's warbler

11D SCOTS PINE Pinus sylvestris Zones 3-7

Look for the orange bark atop this tree

12A Are the cones less than 3/4" (1.9 cm) long, with few scales; and are the small branches stiff and not drooping? It is a tamarack (eastern larch). YES GO TO 13C


Are the cones greater than 3/4" (1.9 cm) long, with many scales; and do the small branches hang down? It is a European larch. YES GO TO 13D

12B Are the needles fairly easy to roll between your fingers? CLUE: Needles are 4-sided or diamond-shaped in cross section. These are spruce trees. YES GO TO 14A


Are the needles difficult to roll between your fingers? CLUE: Needles are fairly flat in cross section. YES GO TO 12C

12C Do the needles have 2 white or silvery stripes on their undersides? YES GO TO 12D


Are the needles green on both sides and flattened along the twigs, the cone a 1" diameter wrinkled ball? The needles and fine twigs are DECIDUOUS. It is a baldcypress. YES GO TO 14D

12D Do the cones hang down? YES GO TO 16A


Are the cones upright on top branches, over 1 1/2" (3.8 cm) long with DECIDUOUS scales, the twigs fairly smooth where needles have fallen off? CLUE: The bark is smooth for many years with resin blisters. It is a balsam fir or Fraser fir. YES GO TO 15A

12E PONDEROSA PINE Pinus ponderosa Zones 2-7

Legendary tree of the West-and widely distributed north to south and low to high

13A SLASH PINE Pinus elliottii Zones 8-10

Fast growth and useful wood make this a popular plantation tree in the South

13B SHORTLEAF PINE Pinus echinata Zones 6-9

Its prickly cones are like 'hedgehogs,' but its good wood and wide distribution earn it a place of respect in the southern timber industry

13C TAMARACK, EASTERN LARCH Larix laricina Zones 2-5

This conifer drops its needles each fall and welcomes spring with fresh green growth

13D EUROPEAN LARCH Larix decidua Zones 3-6

As yellowing needles drop each autumn, a golden carpet spreads beneath the tree

14A Are the mature cones generally over 2" (5.1 cm) long, with cone scale edges wavy or wedge-shaped? YES GO TO 14B


Are the mature cones generally under 2" (5.1 cm) long, with cone scale edges rounded? YES GO TO 14C

14B Are the needles not prickly-tipped, the cones 4-8" (10.2-20.3 cm) long, the branches drooping up to several feet on older trees? It is a Norway spruce. YES GO TO 15B


Are the needle tips very sharp-pointed, cones 2-4" (5.1-10.2 cm) long, and the branches do not droop? It is a Colorado blue spruce. YES GO TO 15C

14C Are the needles 1/4-1/2" (0.6-1.3 cm) long, dull blue-green; twigs with fine hairs; cones about 1" (2.5 cm) long and remaining on the tree for several years? It is a black spruce. YES GO TO 15D


Are the needles about 1/2" (1.3 cm) long, dark yellow-green and shiny; twigs with fine hairs; cones 1 1/4-2" (3.2-5.1 cm) and shed annually? It is a red spruce. YES GO TO 16C


Are the needles about 1/2" (1.3 cm) long, blue-green to silvery-white; twigs hairless; cones 1-21/2" (2.5-6.4 cm) long with flexible scales, cones shed annually? It is a white spruce. YES GO TO 17A

14D BALDCYPRESS Taxodium distichum Zones 4-10

The fabled tree of swamps and a pleasant surprise when found in drier lawns and parks where it can also thrive

15 BALSAM FIR Abies balsamea Zones 3-6

FRASER FIR Abies fraseri Zones 4-7

The classic Christmas tree-most popular in both our nations

NOTE: Balsam fir is native to the northeastern U.S. and Canada, while Fraser fir is native to VA, NC, and TN.

15B NORWAY SPRUCE Picea abies Zones 3-7

Sometimes they stand as lone sentinels at ghostly farm sites where settlers once brought this reminder of the Old Country

15C COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE Picea pungens Zones 2-8

A favorite for striking contrast in lawns and border plantings

15D BLACK SPRUCE Picea mariana Zones 3-6

Found from Alaska, through Canada to Rhode Island, this is a spruce of swampy places with dark needles

16A Are the twigs rough where needles have fallen off, and the cones less than 1" (2.5 cm) long? It is an eastern hemlock. YES GO TO 17B


Are the needles of equal length, the cones 3-4" (7.6-10.2 cm) long with a three-pointed BRACT sticking out of each scale? It is a Douglasfir. YES GO TO 17C

16B Are the leaves yellow-green, flattened and scale-like on outer twigs, foliage arranged in flat, fan-like sprays; fruit a small, bell-shaped, woody cone? It is an eastern arborvitae (northern whitecedar). YES GO TO 17D OR

Are the leaves dark blue-green, the foliage not arranged in flattened sprays; fruit a small brownish-purple, berrylike cone? It is an Atlantic whitecedar (southern whitecedar). YES GO TO 18D


Are the leaves dark green, blue-green, or purple-green, awl-shaped and scale-like on the same plant, foliage not arranged in flattened sprays; fruit is blue and berry-like? It is an eastern redcedar. YES GO TO 19A

16C RED SPRUCE Picea rubens Zones 3-5

The provincial tree of Nova Scotia-historically used by native people who dug its roots for lacing and now an important tree in the pulp and lumber industries

17A WHITE SPRUCE Picea glauca Zones 2-6

Widespread through northern forests, but not where fires occur frequently. The reason: seeds are not produced until about age 30

17B EASTERN HEMLOCK, CANADA HEMLOCK Tsuga canadensis Zones 3-8

Tiny needles and tiny cones adorn this tree in the cool, moist glens of eastern forests

17C DOUGLASFIR Pseudotsuga menziesii Zones 4-6

See the 'mouse' scurry for cover between the cone scales!


A favorite for dense, beautiful living fences

18A Do the leaves have 3-5 LOBES (projections) in PALMATE arrangement (like fingers on a hand)? These are maple trees. YES GO TO 18B


Do the leaves look heart-shaped with a long, tapering tip and smooth outer edges and BLADES (the flat part of a leaf) that are 8-15" (20.3-38.1 cm) long? CLUE: The fruit is a thin, brown seed pod 8-20" (20.3-50.8 cm) long. It is a northern catalpa. YES GO TO 19B


Are the leaves ENTIRE (smooth, untoothed edges), BLADES less than 8" (20.3 cm) long, with veins that curve to follow the leaf edge? It is a flowering dogwood. YES GO TO 19C

18B Do the leaves have closely toothed edges with sharp V-shaped SINUSES (indentations)? CLUE: The leaf underside is often silvery-white. YES GO TO 18C


Do the leaves have smooth edges, or few TEETH (notches on the outer edge of a leaf) with rounded SINUSES? YES GO TO 20B

18C Do the flowers appear with or after the leaves in spring, the SAMARAS (winged fruits) maturing in late summer; leaves are 3-LOBED and sharply toothed; bark marked by vertical, broad, white stripes? It is a striped maple. YES GO TO 19D


Do the flowers appear before the leaves in spring, and the SAMARAS mature and drop in late spring; with bark not as above? YES GO TO 20A


Excerpted from What Tree Is That? Copyright © 2009 by Arbor Day Foundation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Common Words to Know....................Page 3 Arbor Day Hardiness Zone....................Page 4 Trees Identified in This Book....................Page 5 Start Here....................Page 6 Eastern Guide Start....................Page 67 Eastern Invasive Species....................Page 68 Western Guide Start....................Page 141 Western Invasive Species....................Page 142 Index....................Page 149 Online Resources....................Page 150

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