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The Most Common North American Hardwood Trees

Common North American Broadleaf Trees and Their Habitat


11. Butternut

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Juglans cinerea, commonly known as butternut or white walnut, is a species of walnut native to the eastern United States and southeast Canada. The nut, once plentiful, is rarely seen. If you find a supply, you have found a nut with the highest oil content and highest food value of all the walnuts and hickories. Butternut is seriously threatened by an introduced canker disease called Melanconis. In some areas, 90% of the Butternut trees have been killed. Some isolated single trees are surviving.

12. Cherry, Black

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
The black cherry is a pioneer species. In the Midwest, it is seen growing mostly in old fields with other sunlight loving species, such as black walnut, black locust, and hackberry. It is a moderately long-lived tree, with ages of up to 258 years known. Black cherry it is prone to storm damage with branches breaking easily but any decay resulting progresses slowly. It is the largest native cherry and one of the most abundant wild fruit trees.

13. Cottonwood, Black

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Black cottonwood, also known as western balsam poplar or California poplar, is a deciduous broadleaf tree species native to western North America. It is used for timber, and is notable as a model organism in plant biology. Its full genome sequence was published in 2006. It is the first tree species to be sequenced. Balm-of-Gilead poplar is an ornamental clone and hybrid of this tree.

14. Cottonwood, Eastern

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Eastern cottonwood typically lives 70 to 100 years, but they have the potential to live 200 to 400 years if they have good genetics, and if they have a good growing environment. The leaf is unique, some saying it looks like an "Egyptian pyramid, with its coarse teeth as stone steps". Eastern cottonwood has fast growth and a spreading root system that will control erosion but will also damage pavement and clog sewers.

15. Cucumber Magnolia

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Cucumber magnolia is one of the largest magnolias and one of the cold-hardiest. It is a large forest tree of the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada (Ontario). It is a tree that tends to occur singly as scattered specimens, rather than in groves. Cucumbertree is an excellent shade tree for parks and gardens and gets its common name for the color and shape of unique fruit that resembles a cucumber.

16. Dogwood, Flowering

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Flowering dogwood is one of the most popular ornamental landscape trees in eastern North America. They are usually displayed beneath large oaks or pines, both in the wild and as an ornamental. Dogwoods are among the earliest springtime blooming trees. With its dense crown, flowering dogwood provides good shade, and due to its small stature, it is useful in the smallest yards. This beloved tree is the state tree of Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia.

17. Elm, American

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
American elm has long been very popular as a street or avenue tree but never really took to parks and cities. It is now being replaced by better trees like London plane-tree (Platanus X acerfolia) and Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata). Once extensively planted as a shade tree, Dutch elm disease has killed many of these. Isolated trees seem to be less susceptible to the disease while mass plantings tend to exacerbate the problems. American elm is of little value as a forest product.

18. Elm, Rock

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Rock elm or cork elm, is a deciduous tree native primarily to the Midwestern United States. The wood is the hardest and heaviest of all elms. It is also very strong and takes a high polish which offers a wide range of uses, notably shipbuilding, furniture, agricultural tools, and musical instruments.

19. Elm, Slippery

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Slippery elm is reputedly less susceptible to Dutch elm disease than other North American elms but is severely damaged by the Elm Leaf Beetle. Slippery elm is one of the smallest native North American elms but with one of the largest leaves. The tree never grows in pure stands. The tree has a slimy (slippery) inner bark, tastes like licorice and is has some food and medicinal value.

20. Hackberry

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Hackberry is easily distinguished by its cork-like bark with wart-like protuberances. The leaves are distinctly asymmetrical and coarse-textured. It produces small (edible) berries that turn orange-red to dark purple. Hackberry is not an important timber tree. The wood resembles elm but is difficult to work.

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