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The Most Common North American Hardwood Trees

Common North American Broadleaf Trees and Their Habitat


21. Hickory, Bitternut

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Bitternut hickory is probably the most abundant and most uniformly distributed of all the hickories. Bitternut hickory grows in moist mountain valleys along streambanks and in swamps. Although it is usually found on wet bottom lands, it grows on dry sites and also grows well on poor soils low in nutrients. Because bitternut hickory wood is hard and durable, it is used for furniture, paneling, dowels, tool handles, and ladders. It is a choice fuel for smoking meats.

22. Hickory, Mockernut

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Mockernut hickory is very common and abundant southward through Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida but grows from Massachusetts south to northern Florida, west to Kansas and Texas and up to Iowa. The tree grows largest in the lower Ohio River Basin. Nearly 80 percent of harvested mockernut hickory is used to manufacture tool handles, for which its hardness, toughness, stiffness, and strength make it especially suitable.

23. Hickory, Pignut

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) is a common but not abundant species in the oak-hickory forest association in the Eastern United States. The range of pignut hickory covers nearly all of eastern United States. Pignut hickory frequently grows on dry ridgetops and sideslopes throughout its range but it is also common on moist sites, particularly in the mountains and Piedmont.

24. Hickory, Shagbark

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
The shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is a common hickory in the eastern United States and southeast Canada. Shagbark hickory has the most distinctive of all the hickory bark because of its loose-plated bark. Its hickory nut is edible and has a very sweet taste. Shagbark hickory wood is used for smoking meat and was used for making the bows of Native Americans of the northern area.

25. Hickory, Shellbark

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Shellbark hickory nuts are the largest of all hickory nuts and are sweet and edible. Wildlife and people harvest most of the nuts and those remaining produce seedling trees readily. This hickory is distinguished from other hickories by large leaves, large nuts and orange twigs.

26. Holly, American

American holly typically grows as an understory tree in forests. It is rare in the north of its range in New England and New York, and always small there. It is abundant further south on the southern coast and in the Gulf states, reaching its greatest size on the bottomlands of southern Arkansas and eastern Texas. Holly is a popular Christmas decoration and is inseparably connected with Christmas time. The custom in North America is to use holly and mistletoe for decoration of homes and churches. The American holly is the state tree of Delaware.

27. Locust, Black

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Black locust has nitrogen-fixing bacteria on its root system. For this reason it can grow on poor soils, increases soil fertility and is an early colonizer of disturbed areas. The wood is extremely hard, resistant to rot and long lasting, making it prized for fence posts and small watercraft. As a young man, it is reported that Abraham Lincoln spent a lot of time splitting rails and fence posts from black locust logs. Black locust is a major honey plant in eastern USA, and, having been taken and planted in France, is the source of the renowned French acacia monofloral honey.

28. Magnolia, Southern

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
The Southern magnolia or bull bay, is a magnolia native to the southeastern United States, from coastal Virginia south to central Florida, and west to East Texas. The tree is a very popular ornamental tree throughout the southeastern United States, grown for its attractive foliage and flowers. The Southern magnolia is the state tree of Mississippi, and the state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana.

29. Maple, Bigleaf

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Acer macrophyllum (bigleaf maple or Oregon maple) is a large deciduous tree in the genus Acer. It is native to western North America, mostly near the Pacific coast, from southernmost Alaska south to southern California. Bigleaf maple is the only commercially important maple of the Pacific Coast region.

30. Maple, Red

Red Maple
R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Acer rubrum or red maple is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America. Red maple is adaptable to a very wide range of site conditions, perhaps more so than any other tree in eastern North America. Its ability to thrive in a large number of habitats is largely due to its ability to produce roots to suit its site from a young age. Red Maple is widely grown as an ornamental tree in parks and in the landscape. Dozens of red maple varities have been developed and the tree is prized for its fall color.
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