Common Name: Boxelder Maple, Ash-Leaf Maple
Leaf: Opposite, pinnately compound, 3 to 5 leaflets (sometimes 7), 2 to 4 inches long, margin coarsely serrate or somewhat lobed, shape variable, green above and paler below; resembles Toxicodendron radicans. Sometimes called "poison-ivy tree". Only native maple with compound leaves.
Bud: Opposite, light tan to gray pubescence, terminal bud is usually pointed with two globose buds on either side.
Twig: New twigs are very green, gradually getting brown lines and eventually turning med. Brown; moderately stout, leaf scars narrow, meeting in raised points, often covered with a glaucous bloom, buds white and hairy, lateral buds appressed.
Bark: Thin, gray to light brown, with shallow interlacing ridges, narrow vertical furrows. Young bark is generally warty.
Fruit: Samara with parallel wings. Typically found hanging in long clusters, initially green turning brown, and can persist over the winter. AUTUMN.
Flower: dropping racemes (like fruit) yellow, Spring.
Habit: Medium tree, In warmer/moister climates like central Ohio this tree usually has poor form, multiple cankers. In drier / cooler climates such as the great plains states and northern areas like Kansas, Dakotas, Minnesota, Vermont, etc. it is a generally healthy tree. The tree responds to diseases of the upper bole and crown by flushing many epicormic branches, multiple trunks lower on the main stem. Sprouts often occur on bole and these can be several feet long in a single year. Susceptible to lots of disease in this area, but can be a nicer tree farther north and west.
Fall Color: none
Eco/Notes: tolerates poor sites and river flood planes. Also tolerates drier and compacted soils. Soft white wood used for boxes, etc. Syrup can be made from the sap. Seed and twigs are important wildlife food, can persist over winter above the snow and within reach of animals. .
Key ID Feature(s): Green twigs, opposite branching, buds, bark. Readily recognized in winter from a distance by the dangling clusters of straw-colored samaras.
Common Name: Silver maple (also called soft maple, river maple, silverleaf maple, swamp maple, water maple, and white maple)
Leaf:Opposite, with 3-5 deeply palmate lobes, lobe margins serrate, 2 1/2 to 5 inches long; light green above, pale, silvery white below. More deeply cut than red maple.
Bud: very similar to red maple (see week 4). Mature silver maple can produce many more flower buds than red maple, look like small clusters of red grapes.
Twig: Similar to red maple (often more chestnut-brown in color), most of the time indistinguishable from red maple except that the twig has a very bitter taste and strong odor. Not poisonous, taste is an ID feature. Distinguishes it from Red Maple.
Bark: usually indistinguishable from red maple at sizes under 8-inch diameter. Light gray when young, when older breaks up into long thin brown to reddish brown scaly strips, loose at ends. Mature bark much different than red or surgar maple. Will begin to see the rectangular division of bark at 6-8" dbh.
Fruit: spring (contrast with A. saccharum).
Flower: small reddish-green prior to leaf-out.
Habit: Large tree. Fast growing. Often breaks into several large leaders fairly low on main trunk. People "fluffing up" trees in their yard can make this much effect worse. Trees with multiple large leaders can be structurally unstable. This tree is one of the longest-lived maples. Can live well over 100 years. Very aggressive root system.
Fall Color: Green-yellow-brown tinged with red. Hybrids containing Acer rubrum genetics will have more red color.
Eco/Notes: Large tree of stream banks, sites frequently flooded, and commonly planted as a street tree and landscape tree. Hybrids with A. rubrum, creating "Freeman Maple" Acer x freemanii.
Key ID Feature(s): young trees: taste/smell twig, Older trees: bark. In winter, upward curve of twigs is distinctive. In spring and summer look for deeply cut leaves.
Common Name: Honeylocust (note: different genus than black locust)
Leaf: Alternate. Pinnate or Bi-pinnately compound. 8-10 inches. Rachis pubescent all the way around. Small elliptical leaflets 1-3 cm long. Heart-shaped leaf scare with visible bundle scars.
Bud: Extremely small and difficult to see. No strong terminal, some scaly, some naked. Lateral above leaf scar. Several at a node. Top-center of leaf scar, in leaf scar. Petiole swollen covering bud, as is common with Fabaceae plants.
Twig: zig-zag, medium-sized, nodes swollen. Reddish-brown.
Bark: reddish brown on younger trees turning grayish brown on older trees peels in stiff plates that do not exfoliate. Multiply-branched thorns on main stem. No other tree we study has thorns on main-stem like this. There are naturally occurring thornless varieties of this species known as Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis. Which are commonly planted in urban areas.
Fruit: long dark-brown curly pod. 1" wide 7-12" long. Largest pod of trees we will study this quarter. Contains a sweet edible pulp around seeds. Loved by cattle.
Habit: Generally vase shaped. Medium Tree 30-70 feet high, but can exceed 100' in ideal conditions. Winter habit is distinctive, often described as looking "upside-down" like tree was turned over and put back in ground.
Fall Color: Green-yellow, clear yellow, or golden-yellow.
Eco/Notes: Very urban tolerant tree, aggressive root system. Planted frequently on streets and high traffic areas. Thornless behind Kottman, Natural at S. end of Chadwick. Thorns used for pins, spear points, and animal traps; heavy wood used for railroad ties, fence posts. Fruit important to wildlife provides good quality.
Key ID Feature(s): Branched thorns, bark, form.
Family: Cupressaceae (cypress or cedar family)
Common Name: Eastern redcedar
Leaf:Evergreen, with two types of leaves, often on the same tree. Scale leaves 1/16 inch long, dark green, with 4 sides. Awl leaves are more common on young trees, 1/8 to 3/8 inch long, dark blue-green and sharp-pointed.
Bud: - -
Twig: Green for several years, covered in scales, later turning brown.
Bark: reddish brown. Exfoliating in long narrow strips, gray underneath.
Cones: Berry-like cones, light green in spring, turning dark blue and glaucous at maturity, about 1/4 inch in diameter. Appearing March to May. Maturing September to November.
Flower: - -
Habit: fairly upright, pyramidal to columnar
Fall Color: evergreen
Eco/Notes: pioneer invader, this is close to northernmost extent of its range. Typically xeric, shade intolerant, in Ohio common to see it follow freeway cuts like I-71. Most frequent indigenous evergreen. Wood fragrant, used for fence posts, lead pencils and cedar chests. Fruit important to wildlife.
Key ID Feature(s): foliage, bark.
Family: Magnoliaceae (magnolia family)
Common Name: Yellow-poplar/Tulip tree (also locally referred to as "tulip poplar", "yellow poplar" (southeast), or poplar (Kentucky), but the tree is NOT A TRUE POPLAR - i.e. true poplars are from genus Populus)
Leaf:Alternate, simple, palmately veined, orbicular, 4-lobed with an entire margin, 4 to 8 inches long. Somewhat shaped like a tulip.
Bud: Elongated and valvate, resembling a "duck bill". (Put on list of valvate buds)
Twig: Red-brown in color, often with a shiny appearance or a waxy bloom. Stipules are large and encircle the twig. Twigs have a sweet, spicy odor when broken.
Bark: Light gray-green in color, often with white in grooves or in patches. Smooth when young, developing flat-topped ridges and furrows in diamond shaped patterns. On older trees sapsucker holes are common.
Fruit: An oblong aggregate of samaras, deciduous at maturity. Each samara is 1-winged, 1 1/2 inches long, and 4-angled. Maturing August to October. May persist through winter.
Flower: Showy, but high in the tree, 2 1/2 inches long, with yellow-green petals and an orange corolla. Present April to June. Insect pollinated.
Habit: In a stand, this tree is very straight with a limb-free bowl. Open-grown trees have a pyramidal crown when young, becoming oval in shape. Maintains excurrent (strongly pyramidal) branching for a long time.
Fall Color: yellow
Eco/Notes: Used for furniture, boats, etc. Indians made trunks into dugout canoes. Seed eaten by wildlife. Tallest and handsomest eastern forest hardwood tree (up to 200’). Second only to Sycamore in trunk diameter. Perhaps tallest N. American Hardwood. Can live 400 years. Taxonomically one of oldest hardwood species.
Key ID Feature(s): Crushed buds and leaves spicy-aromatic. Bark and Fruit in tree (look up!). Tree often mistaken for Fraxinus, but is alternate, look closely.
Family: Moraceae (Mulberry Family)
Common Name: Osage orange
Leaf:Alternate, simple, pinnately veined, 2 to 5 inches long, oblong to ovate with an acuminate tip. Margins are entire. The upper surface is shiny.
Bud: Small globular, brown, partially embedded in bark.
Twig: Moderately slender, zigzag, green changing to buff or orange-brown. Twigs are armed with stout, unbranched thorns at each leaf scar. A milky sap is exuded when cut.
Bark: Orange-brown, developing scaly ridges with irregular furrows. Unique.
Fruit: A large, round multiple of drupes that is 4 to 5 inches in diameter. The fruit has a very distinctive citrus smell. The outer surface looks like "brains". When crushed, a white, milky juice is exuded. Maturing September to October.
Flower: Monecious. Female is borne in dense, round, clusters. Male borne in subglobose racemes. Appearing April to June.
Habit: A medium sized tree with a short trunk. The crown is irregular, with stiff, spiny branches.
Fall Color: Green / Yellow LATE. One of latest trees to loose leaves.
Eco/Notes: Wood hard and durable. Densest native wood. Widely planted for living fences before invention of barbed wire. Boiled wood chips yield yellow dye. Once preferred wood for Policemen's Billy clubs. Green wood will sink in water. Fruit repels insects, esp. german cockroaches. Fruit contains latex-like sap which can cause dermititis.
Key ID Feature(s): Bark, fruit, thorns.
Family: Platanaceae (Plane Tree Family)
Common Name: American sycamore
Leaf: Alternate, simple, palmately veined, 4 to 8 inches wide, ovate in shape, with three to five lobes. Margins are toothed. Veins may be pubescent below. Petiole bases encircle the buds.
Bud: The terminal bud is absent. Lateral buds are reddish, resinous, with a single scale, bullet-like.
Twig: Obviously zigzag, quite stout and orange-brown in color. The leaf scar surrounds the bud and the stipule scar surrounds the twig.
Bark: Thin, mottled brown, green and white. Often referred to as "camouflage" bark that readily exfoliates. Flakes off in "jigsaw-like" pieces, exposing yellowish/whitish underbark. Upper tree white bark, lower tree browner. Older stems are gray-brown and scaly. Young bark can be rather featureless.
Fruit: A spherical multiple of achenes borne on a 3 to 6 inch stalk. Each seed is tiny, winged, and 1/2 inch long. Maturing in November, disseminating in late winter.
Flower: Not showy. Male and female appearing March to April in separate spherical heads.
Habit: A very massive tree with heavy, spreading branches with obviously zigzag twigs. In winter, the fruits resemble Christmas tree ornaments. Commonly found along floodplains.
Fall Color: not much
Eco/Notes: Hard, course-grained wood used for boxes, barrels, butchers’ blocks, etc. Indians used trunks for dugout canoes. Twigs eaten by deer and muskrats. Tree readily forms strong cavities sought for nests and shelter. "London Plane Tree" hybrid with Platanus orientalis has greener bark, planted frequently on campus.
Key ID Feature(s): Trunk, mature bark, leaf-scar around bud. On quiz, young trees sometimes mistaken for Tilia americana.
Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)
Common Name: Cottonwood
Leaf:Alternate, simple, pinnately veined, 3 to 6 inches long, triangular (deltoid) in shape with a crenate/serrate margin. The petiole is flattened and glands are present at the top of the petiole.
Bud: Long conical pointy, greenish-red, 3/4 inch long, covered with several brown, resinous scales. Gummy. Has a bitter aspirin taste.
Twig: Stout, somewhat angled and yellowish. Wrinkled looking.
Bark: Smooth, gray to yellow-green when young. Later turning gray with thick ridges and deep furrows.
Fruit: Cottony seeds, 1/4 inch long borne in a dehiscent capsule. Maturing over summer.
Flower: Dioecious, male and female as pendulous catkins, appearing before the leaves.
Habit: A large tree with a clear bole and an open spreading crown resulting in a somewhat vase-shaped form.
Fall Color: none or slightly yellow-green
Eco/Notes: True Poplar. Common in floodplains and bottomlands; Can endure long periods of partial submergence. Will also act as pioneer invader in old fields, grows upland as well.
Key ID Feature(s): mature bark, bud, young twig.
Common Name: Shingle oak (red oak group)
Leaf:Alternate, simple, 3 to 7 inches long, broadly lanceolate in shape with a single, terminal bristle-tip (red oak). Margins are entire (not lobed or toothed). Thick in texture, glossy above and pubescent below. Often hang on through winter.
Bud: Terminal, more or less silky and angular.
Twig: Slender, green-brown in color, quite lustrous with pointed, ovoid, brown buds.
Bark: Gray-brown, tight and quite hard, with broad ridges and very shallow furrows.
Fruit: Acorns are 5/8 inch long, 1/3 to 1/2 covered by a thin, bowl-shaped cap with appressed light brown scales. Matures in the fall after two years.
Flower: Staminate flowers borne on catkins. Pistillate flowers borne on spikes. Appears with the leaves in April or May.
Habit: A medium-sized tree with pyramidal to oval and later rounded crown. Lateral lower branches often droop like pin oak, especially when open grown.
Fall Color: deep rusty brown, retains many leaves over winter, gradually loosing most of them by spring.
Eco/Notes: Name refers to the use of the wood for shingles by early settlers in Illinois. Wood durable and easy to split into shingles. Hybrids readily with black oak, and also to a lesser extent with other red oak group trees. Lobeless-leaved oaks are sometimes put in "Willow Oak" group which is a subgroup of red oaks.
Key ID Feature(s): bark, habit, brown leaves. (This tree will have some leaves throughout quarter) buds. Easy tree, but for some reason is frequently missed by some people, so study it carefully if you have trouble.
Common Name: Bur oak (white oak group)
Leaf:Alternate, simple, 6 to 12 inches long, roughly obovate in shape, with many lobes. The two middle sinuses nearly reach the midrib. The lobes near the tip resemble a crown. Pale pubescence is present below. Usually much wider at tip than base. Can have a wide 3-lobed tip, or wide rounded tip with shallow lobes. No spines, white oak group.
Bud: Gray to brown, with stipule hairs. Usually larger than N. red oak.
Twig: Quite stout, yellow-brown in color, with corky ridges. Multiple terminal buds are small, round, and may be somewhat pubescent. Small, horny stipules are generally present. Laterals are similar, but smaller.
Bark: Ashy gray to brown in color and quite scaly, but noticeably ridged vertically. Most noticeably ridged bark of oaks we will study this quarter.
Fruit: Acorns are quite large (1 1/2 inches long) and 1/2 enclosed in a warty cap that has a long-fringed (mossy) margin. Maturing in one year, dropping August to November. Largest acorns of native oaks.
Flower: Male flowers are green, borne in naked catkins, 2 to 4 inches long. Female flowers are reddish and appear as single spikes. Appearing shortly after the leaves.
Habit: A medium-sized to large tree that is very coarse in appearance. Develops a very spreading, broad crown, with massive structural or scaffolding branches. Young trees are fairly coarse and pyramidal, buy very handsome tree when mature.
Fall Color: light brown.
Eco/Notes: Naturally occurs in flood plain and lower mesic areas. Fast growing once root system is established. Some at SW corner of Fyffe and Woody Hayes. Acorn caps used for doll hats. Great tree for front lawns, and parks. Tree is facultative, grows upland as well but competes best in bottomland and floodplain.
Key ID Feature(s): Leaves, twigs (use binoculars), and bark. Sometimes confused with Q. bicolor, note very different bark.
Common Name: Chinkapin oak (also 'Chinquapin', Native American name)
Leaf:Alternate, simple, obovate or oblong, large coarse gland tipped teeth on margin (8-13 pairs of sharp teeth), 4 to 7 inches long, dark, shiny green above, much paler below. (White Oak Group)
Bud: cluster at branch tips, terminal buds 1/8 inch long, pointed, chestnut brown, individual scales with light beige edges.
Twig: Slender to moderate, orange brown,
Bark: Thin, light gray, rough and flaky, resembles White Oak but finer, lighter and flakier.
Fruit: Acorn, nut 1/2 to 1 inch long, broadest below the middle, thin bowl shaped cap covers about 1/3 of acorn and forms a tattered fringe on the margin of cap, dark brown when mature. Striped. Edible if roasted / boiled. Very high quality food. Preferred by wildlife.
Flower: Monoecious, male flowers are yellow-green long catkins (3 to 4 inches long), females are green to reddish, very small in leaf axils. Appearing with the leaves.
Habit: Medium-sized tree to 60 feet, with a rounded crown.
Fall Color: brown, russet, and/or red.
Eco/Notes: Upland oak, often in dry, rocky situations, most common on limestone soils. Good urban tree.
Key ID Feature(s): Bark, leaves, buds (note the buds are pointy when compared to other white oaks we study this quarter)
Family: Staphyleaceae (Bladdernut family)
Common Name: Bladdernut
Leaf:Opposite (new one for opposite plant list) , pinnately compound with three (rarely 5) ovate or obovate leaflets that are 2 to 4 inches long. Leaflet margins are serrate.
Bud: Not terminal; brown, 2-4 scaled, ovoid and may be stalked.
Twig: Slender, green to brown in color, with a large white pith, many white small wart-like lenticels, often looks like fine white lines. Unique.
Bark: Green-gray in color with white furrows/streaks.
Fruit: A very unique 1 1/2 inch, 3-lobed, papery capsule that looks inflated. The inflated bag contains several hard, small brown seeds. Maturing in September.
Flower: Green-white, bell-shaped and small, borne on dangling 2 inch long panicles in April or May.
Habit: A large shrub or small tree that is heavily branched and suckers readily (root shoots), forming a thicket. Most abundant on shaded banks.
Fall Color: Sometimes chartreuse to lemon yellow, but often not much. Leaves often freeze, shrivel and fall off before showing color. Depends on year and time of first frost.
Eco/Notes: Likes moist areas. Some in Chadwick near main entrance, next to wooden trellis. Does not typically grow very far upland
Key ID Feature(s): Twig is fairly unique, fruit, habit, opposite bud arrangement, location.