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The Most Common North American Hardwood Trees

Common North American Broadleaf Trees and Their Habitat

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51. Paulownia, Royal

Royal Paulownia
R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Royal paulownia is an introduced ornamental that has become well established in North America. It is also known as princess-tree, empress-tree, or paulownia. Paulownia has a tropical look with very large catalpa-like leaves although the two species are not related. The paulownia has been touted as growing very valuable wood under correct management strategies.

52. Pecan

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Pecan is, economically, the most important member of the hickory family, of the genus Carya. Pecan production is a multimillion dollar business and one of North America's favorite nuts. C. illinoensis is an excellent multipurpose tree for the home landscape because it provides nuts and grand esthetic value.

53. Persimmon

Persimmon
R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Common persimmon is an interesting, somewhat irregularly shaped native small to medium tree. Persimmon bark is grey or black and distinctly blocky with orange in the valleys between the blocks. Except for cleaning up the messy fruit if it falls on a patio or sidewalk, persimmon maintenance is quite easy and it could be planted more. Locate it where the slimy fruit will not fall on sidewalks and cause people to slip and fall.

54. Redbud

Eastern Redbud
R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Redbud is a small tree that shines early in Spring (one of the first flowering plants) with leafless branches of magenta buds and pink flowers. Quickly following the flowers come new green leaves which turn a dark, blue-green and are uniquely heart-shaped. C. canadensis often has a large crop of 2-4 inch seedpods that some find unappealing in the urban landscape.

55. Sassafras

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Young sassafras seedlings are usually unlobed but older trees add unique mitten-shaped leaves with two or three lobes. In addition to sassafras' value to wildlife, the tree provides wood and bark for a variety of commercial and domestic uses. Tea is brewed from the bark of roots. The leaves are used in thickening soups.

56. Sourwood

Sourwood
R. Anderson/Bugwood.org
Sourwood is one of the first trees to turn colors in the Eastern forest. By late August it is common to see foliage of young sourwood trees along roadsides beginning to turn red. The fall color of sourwood is a striking red and orange and associated with blackgum and sassifras.

57. Sweetgum

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Sweetgum is sometimes called redgum, probably because of the red color of the older heartwood and its red fall leaves. Sweetgum grows from Connecticut southward throughout the East to central Florida and eastern Texas and is a very common commercial timber species of the South. Sweetgum is easy to identify in both summer and in winter. Look for the star-shaped leaf as foliage grows in the Spring and look for the dried seed balls in and under the tree.

58. Sycamore, American

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
American sycamore is a massive tree and can attain the largest trunk diameter of any of the Eastern U.S. hardwoods. The native sycamore has a grand branch display and its bark is unique among all trees - you can always identify a sycamore just by looking at the bark. The alternate maple-looking leaves are large and also unique to those familiar with sycamore.

59. Tupelo, Black

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Black gum trees have moderate growth rate and longevity and are an excellent food source for wildlife, fine honey trees, and handsome ornamentals. Black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) is divided into two commonly recognized varieties, typical black tupelo (var. sylvatica) and swamp tupelo (var. biflora). They are usually identifiable by their differences in habitats: black tupelo on light-textured soils of uplands and stream bottoms, swamp tupelo on heavy organic or clay soils of wet bottom lands.

60. Tupelo, Water

R. Merrilees, Illustrator
Water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), is a large, long-lived tree that grows in southern swamps and flood plains where its root system is periodically under water. It has a swollen base that tapers to a long, clear bole and often occurs in pure stands. A good mature tree will produce commercial timber used for furniture and crates. Many kinds of wildlife eat the fruits and water tupelo is a favored honey tree.
Related Video
What Are the Types of Lobed Hardwood Leaves?
What Are Balanced Lobed Hardwood Leaves?

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