Tree Walk Notes from October 20

Seven-Sons Flower: Heptacodium micinoides
Fothergilla gardenii: the smaller Fothergilla
October 12, 2012

China Fir
(Cunninghamia lanceolata)

ID – Evergreen, needles spirally arranged, main axis standing out all around stem, those on underside turn upwards so they appear to spring from side, needles sharply pointed, 1”-2 ¾” long, stomata on underside surrounding midrib, bark – brown scaling off, exposing reddish inner bark.

Features – 30’-75’ tall, 10’-30’ wide, slow/medium growth, needles may turn bronze in cold weather, cones ovoid, 1 ½” wide, usually in groups

Story – Native to southern and central China where it is a highly prized tree, wood is light, soft and fragrant, almost white, used for indoor carpentry, box making and masts, rot resistant

Evergreen Collection

Monkey Puzzle Tree

Japanese Umbrella Pine

Scotch Pine

Douglas Fir


Japanese Stewartia
(Stewartia pseudocamellia)

ID – Alternate, oblong-elliptic leaves, 2”-3” long, distinctive “camouflage” bark, mix of grays, browns and orange

Features – 20’-40’ tall, white camellia-like flower in Jul, fall leaf color – yellow-purple

Story – Native to Japan, similar to native Mountain Stewartia, but has more attractive bark

Flowering Dogwood
(Cornus florida)

ID – Opposite oval leaves, 3”-6” long, bark – brown/black blocks on mature trees, like alligator’s back

Features – 20’ tall and wide, slow growth, flowers – white or pink bracts in Apr/May, 2” long, often appear before leaves, fruit – glossy red 1/3”-1/2” ovoid in clusters of 3 or 4, appearing in Sep/Oct, fall leaf color – red/purple

Story – Native – MA – FL – ON – TX, prefers partial sun to full sun, can become stressed in hot dry location and be victimized by diseases such as anthracnose, hundreds of hybrids which offer greater disease resistance and varieties of flower and leaf color

(Callicarpa bodinieri)

ID – Opposite, elliptical leaves, 2”-5” long

Features – 6’x10’ tall and wide, striking purple fruit in fall, fall leaf color  – pinkish purple

Story – Native to China, 1” lilac flowers in summer, effective as mass border planting

Common Witchhazel
(Hamamelis virginiana)

ID – Alternate ovate leaves, 3”-6” long, 2”-3” wide, young stems zig-zag

Features – 20’-30’ tall and wide, fragrant yellow follower sin Nov, good yellow fall color

Story – Native – CAN-GA-NE-AK, grows in moist, shady stream banks, extract from bark of young stems and roots manufactured in CT

(Fothergilla gardenia)

ID – Alternate, oblong leaves, 1”-2 ½” long, stem zig-zag slender light brown

Features – 2’-3‘ tall„ white, fragrant bottlebrush flowers 1” dia in spring before leaves emerge, great fall leaf color – light orange to deep red

Story – Native to SE US, often found in pine groves and around pond, thrives in sun and well drained soil

Virginia Sweetspire
(Itea virginica)

ID – Alternate, oblong – elliptical leaf, 1 ½” -4” long, stem green to reddish purple

Features – 3’-5’ tall, medium growth, fall leaf color – florescent red, flowers – white, fragrant, 2”-6” long racemes in May/Jun

Story – Native to NJ – FL – MO – TX, usually found in wet woodlands, but drought tolerant

Dawn Redwood
(Metasequoia glyptostrobiodes)

ID – Opposite, soft light green needles, cinnamon brown vertically exfoliating bark

Features – 70’ – 100’ tall, very fast growing, tolerant of wet areas, deciduous conifer, needles turn bright copper color in fall

Story – Believed to be extinct until 1940s when found by Chinese botanists(1941), seeds shared with Arnold Arboretum (Harvard)(1947), propagated and now widely available in garden centers

Fossil evidence suggests tree is 100M years old, native to North America 15M years ago

American Yellowwood
(Cladrastis kentukea)

ID – Alternate pinnately compound leaf, 5-11 leaflets, 8”-12” long, no terminal bud, bark – thin, gray beech-like (unless grizzled with age)

Features – 30’-50’ tall, fragrant white flowers in pendulous panicles, 12”-18”, in May

Story – Name derived from appearance of freshly cut heartwood, native - NC – KY – TN, river valleys and limestone slopes along rivers, growing successfully in MN and ME

(Liriodendron tulipfera)

ID – Alternate square shaped lobed leaves, Bark – grayish-brown, furrowed interlacing flattened ridges, grayish crevices

Features - Flower – tulip-like, greenish/yellow petals, interior orange, fast growing, often lower branches fall off,

Story - One of tallest native trees in eastern forest (190’), King of Magnolia family, sent to Europe by colonists in 1600s, very light wood, Daniel Boone made a 60’ canoe to move his family, often cut by colonists to create farm land – presence was a sign of fertile soil

Sugar Maple
(Acer saccharum)

ID – Opposite, palmate leaves 3”-6”, clear sap from petiole, bark – thin gray on young trees, long irregular thick plates on mature trees, U-shaped samaras

Features – 50’-75’ tall, slow-medium growth, fall color – spectacular burnt orange to red, sap tapped in late winter for syrup (40 gal=1 gal syrup)

Story – Native to Eastern Canada-MN-GA, not a good urban tree-intolerant of pollution, salt, restricted growth areas, excellent wood for furniture

Sour Gum/Tupelo
(Nyssa sylvatica)

ID – Alternate, ovate/elliptical leaf, 3”-6”, bark – dark, block-like appearance

Features – 30’-50’ tall, consistently great fall color – fluorescent yellow/orange, deep tap root, slow growth

Story – Native –ME–MI–TX–FL, grows in swampy woods, poor timber tree, very difficult to split, fibers interwoven and cross-braided (unusual), decays in contact with ground, used as a handle on heavy duty tools, gunstocks

(Liquidambar styraciflua)

ID – Alternate, star shaped, 5 lobed, fruit – brownish capsules, woody, spiny, 1”-1 ½”

Features – 60’-75’ tall, medium to fast growth, fall color – purple/red, name derived from sweet tasting sap which has a gummy consistency, used in soaps and incense, balsam-like odor, grows best on rich moist soils near rivers,

Story - in South invades abandoned fields, CT northern end of native range, Alexander Hamilton wanted it to become USA’s emblematic tree, no state has chosen it

Fern Leaf Beech
(Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’)

ID – Alternate leaves, gracefully cut to offer fern-like appearance, 2”-4” long, 1”-2” wide, smooth gray bark

Features – 50’-60’ tall, slow/medium growth, fall color – russet-bronze, leaves emerge later, generally more disease tolerant than American Beech

Story – Native to Europe

Seven Son Flower
(Heptacodium micronioides)

ID – Opposite, oblong pointed leaf, 3”-6”, bark – gray/brown, exfoliating revealing lighter inner bark

Features – Fragrant white flowers in August

Story – Native to China, introduced by Arnold Arboretum (Harvard) originally on 1907, more recently in 1980, name originates from flower which is six tiered whorl panicle terminated with another flower

River Birch
(Betula nigra)

ID – Alternate triangular wedge shaped leaves, peeling white/salmon colored bark

Features – 40’-60’ tall, fast growing, tolerant of wet areas, yellow fall color, bark offers winter interest

Story – Native to New England – MN – TX – N. FL, borer-resistant, heat (but not dry) tolerant

Franklin Tree
(Frankinia alatamaha)

ID – Alternate, oblong oval, 5”-6” long, 3” wide, bark – smooth gray with vertical fissures

Features – 10’-20’ tall, medium growth, large white fragrant flowers (3” across) in Jul – Aug - Sep, fall color – red/purple, fruit – woody, ½”-3/4” capsule

Story – Found in John Bartram in 1770 along Altamaha River in GA, he collected several samples, tree has been not been seen in wild since 1803, great specimen tree for landscape but difficult to establish.  Cause of extinction:

         1.  Small population – vulnerable to natural disasters – hurricane, flooding

         2.  Killed by introduced pathogen related to cotton farming

(Ilex verticillata)

ID – Alternate deciduous, 1 ½”-3”long, 1” wide leaves

Features – 6’-10’ tall and wide, bright red ½” berries in fall

Story – Native – NS-WI-FL-MO, slow growth, will tolerate shade and moist ground, although better fruit set in sun, dozens of cultivars and hybrids

Oakleaf Hydrangea
(Hydrangea quercifolia)

ID – Opposite, oak leafed shaped leaves, 3-7 lobes, 3”-8” long, bark – exfoliating cinnamon with prominent lenticels

Features – 4’-8’ tall and wide, white fragrant flowers, changing to purplish/pink, Jun/Jul, borne on 4”-12” tall, 3”-4” tall and 3”-4” wide panicles, persistent, fall color – red/purple

Story – Native to SE US, many different cultivars varying in size

Bald Cypress
(Taxodium distichum)

ID – Deciduous alternate needles, bright green, bark – reddish/brown fibrous. trunk buttressed in wet areas, usually featuring “knees” – purpose of which is not understood

Features – 50’-70’ tall, medium/fast growth, fall color – soft orange/brown, thrives in wet areas

Story – Native – DE – MO – TX – FL, successfully grown in MN and Southern Canada

Royal Purple Smoke Bush
(Cotinus coggygria “Royal Purple”)

ID – Alternate oval shaped leaf, 1 ½”-3 ½” long, maroon red becoming dark purple/black, stem – brownish/purple

Features – 10’-15’ tall, flowers morph into 6”-8” long panicles of smoky pink hairs in June, medium growth, fall color – rich red/purple

Story – Native to Europe – Himalaya - Central China

Hardy Orange
(Poncirus trifoliate)

ID – Alternate three part rounded elliptical leaf, 1”-2 ½” long, stem – glossy green, thorns at nodes

Features – 8’-20’ tall, slow growth, fall color – yellow/green, flowers – white, 5 petaled in May, fruit – yellow berry 1 ½” across, soft downy covering, ripens in Oct, very sour

Story – Used as a hedge in South, thorns deter traffic, native to China and Korea, fruit, although seedy, can be used for marmalade and candied peel

American Smoketree
(Cotinus obovatus)

ID – Leaves longer (2”-5”), bluish green leaves

Features – Larger (20’-30’), great fall color – yellow, orange, amber red

Story – Native to SE US, but Zone 4-8