This 50-70’ tall tree has been cultivated on oriental temple grounds for thousands of years. The fern-like leaves are made up of three to eight pairs of oval leaflets that are medium to dark green on top with a gray-toned underside. August flowering lasts for a month with sprays of pea like, light-yellow florets. These trees do not flower until after they are ten years old. The pendulous fruit pods are first green then brown green and persist into winter. These translucent, fleshy fruits show noticeable constrictions between toxic seeds which appear as a string of beads. Native: Japan.
This is a beautiful, medium-sized shade tree with enormous leaves and is often mistaken for the common catalpa. It grows 30-40’ high and is sometimes called Empress Tree. It can be distinguished from a catalpa by its light-purple blossoms and large egg-shaped, two-celled pods. Its wood is extra strong and light weight and is often used for crates. Native: China.
Popular in cultivation as an accent or street tree, ‘Bradford’ has an egg-shaped form. The tree grows 30-50’ in height and 20-35’ in width. It has noticeably ascending branches and twigs. Malodorous, white flowers literally cover the tree before the leaves appear. Its broadly oval, wavy-edged, glossy, dark-green leaves change in autumn to a gleaming red orange and bronze. Fruit, if present, is a small, hard, russet colored berry often hidden by the foliage. Native: China.
O-17 Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ This cultivar is an upright, tightly pyramidal form that does not break apart like the other pear cultivars. It has abundant blossoms in the spring. Fall color is reddish purple, but not as bright as the ‘Bradford’.
This Photinia grows 10-15’ and is known for its red-colored new foliage. It is an upright plant that requires pruning to attain basal branching. It can be used as a hedge or a small tree. The flower clusters range from 5-6” across and will appear the latter part of April if the buds are not pruned. The leaves are alternate and 2 3/4-4” long. They first appear copper red, eventually changing to lustrous, dark green on top and pale below. Native: China.
Austrian Pine, sometimes called the Common Black Pine, is a very hardy tree that withstands city conditions better than most other pines. Its paired needles are very sharply pointed. Winter buds are covered with ragged scales. The glossy, yellow-brown, oval cones fall intact from the twigs. Its rough bark is dark brownish gray and noticeably grooved. It grows 50-60’ high and spreads 20-40’. Native: Europe, from Austria to central Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia.
A medium-sized tree with ash-gray bark that is fissured. The fissures expose yellow-gray patches. This tree is nicknamed the “snake bark pine.” The needles are in pairs, rigid, erect, and persist for five to six years. The cones are bluish the first year. Native: Italy and Balkan Peninsula.
Archaeologists have found many Bristlecone Pines with over 4,000 growth rings, possibly making this species older than the California Sequoias. They normally grow from 8-10’, but some in New Mexico are recorded at 76’. Another species, P. longaeva, is the oldest known living organism on earth. Both are named bristlecone because each scale on the oblong cone bears a little prickle. Needles, in bunches of five, are stout and curved, deep green, and persist for 10-17 years. They are characteristically dotted with white resinous deposits. Native: Central Utah to Nevada’s Great Basin, Colorado, northern Arizona, and northern New Mexico.
Usually Himalayan Pine grows 30-50’, but can rise to 150’ in its natural habitat. The needles grow in bunches of five, are 5” long, and persist for three to four years. The older gray-green needles are slender and flaccid. The needles spread and droop to create a feathery effect. This elegant tree retains its lowest branches. The pendulous cones are stalked, resin smeared, and banana shaped. Native: Temperate Himalayas, Afghanistan to Nepal.
This pine is asymmetrical and conical at all ages with a crooked trunk and irregular branching. It is often pendulous and has dense foliage. The sharp, stiff, dark green needles come in pairs and persist for three to five years. The cones are oval and the bark is a dull, dark gray. It is used as a symbol of long life in Japanese gardens and often used as a bonsai plant. Native: Japan.
Growing from 40-60’ tall, this pine develops a contorted trunk and a broad, flat-topped silhouette with horizontal branching. Needles, bundled in two’s, remain for only two seasons. They are bright blue green turning yellowish green in the winter. The abundant, small cones are long lasting. Bark is orange red when young and peels off in thin scales. This tree is a favorite for bonsai. It grows best in acid soil. Native: Japan.
N-12 Pinus densiflora ‘Sunburst’ This cultivar has bright-yellow, extra-long needles that radiate around each terminal bud.
Cones of this pine are up to 13” long with a stout, incurved prickle on each scale. Needles are in bundles of two or three, blue green, and remain for six to nine years. The bark of the tree forms elongated plates and has a distinct odor of vanilla or pineapple in the fissures. Jeffrey Pine, generally smaller than Ponderosa Pine, is found at higher elevations and endures greater extremes of climate. Native: Southwestern United States.
This medium to dark-green pine, sometimes called the Swiss Mountain Pine, has needles in pairs that persist for five or more years. The bark is brownish gray and scaly. The small cones are grayish black at maturity. They can be solitary or in clusters of three and four. The dwarfish type cultivars are more popularly used in the landscape. There are over forty dwarfish types which range from small to large. They can grow 15-20’ high and spread 20-25’. Native: Mountains of central and southern Europe.
This pine is the most far-ranging and best known of western North American pines and is also called Western Yellow Pine. The needles, usually in bundles of three, vary from dark green to yellow green and persist three years. Prickly scaled cones are bright green to purple to light reddish brown at maturity. This pine grows from 100-150’ in height. It furnishes more timber than any other American pine and is second only to Douglas Fir in total annual production. Native: Western North America, British Columbia to Mexico, and east to South Dakota and Texas.
Growing from 30-60’ in height, Scots Pine is one of the hardiest and most handsome pines. It is easily identified by its twisted, blue-green needles in bundles of two. The needles persist for two years. The oblong, dull, brown-gray cones are often set pointing backward toward the trunk. Its colorful bark in the upper branches is bright orange red and flaky. The bark on the lower trunk is generally rough, chunky, and either gray brown or reddish brown. This is one of the most widely distributed pines and is often used for Christmas trees. Native: Norway, Scotland, Spain, western Asia, and northeastern Siberia. Naturalized in some New England areas.
O-3 Pinus sylvestris ‘Fastigiata’ This cultivar is narrow with tightly ascending branches. It is often called Sentinel Pine. Its branches tend to break in heavy ice and snow.
This is an upright cultivar of the Limber pine family. The tree shows good vigor, averaging 25" per year. Blue-green needles are twisted and are in bundles of five. Cones are 3-6" long and 1 1/2" wide. Native: Rocky Mountains of western North America from Alberta to Northern Mexico, east to Texas.
This tree grows successfully in heavily polluted city conditions, but is not recommended for small yard landscapes because it reaches heights of 50’ or more. The maple-like, leathery leaves are dark green and change to yellow brown in fall. The fruit hangs from the twigs in groups of one to four. They are round, bristly, green-brown seed balls. Its distinctive gray-tan bark peels to show smooth, creamy yellow patches which gives the tree a mottled appearance with age. The wood is used for boxes, furniture, and fuel. This variety is resistant to the disease “anthracnose” that attacks other species and varieties of Platanus. It is also called sycamore in America.