Illustrations of Common Eastern United States Trees - Charles Sprague Sargent

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Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Plates

Charles Sprague Sargent
Public domain

Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent was a Harvard University botany graduate and American Civil War veteran. Sargent went on to found Harvard's Arnold Arboretum.

Here is a collection of illustrations of the most common trees found in the United States. Although most noted for his work as the director of a nationally recognized arboretum, Charles Sprague Sargent was a talented illustrator of tree's and their parts.e's and their parts.

Professor Sargent was often referred to as knowing "more about trees than any other living person." He has left this legacy of tree illustrations that have supported students of tree identification for more than a century.

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Illustration of Sugar Maple - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum. Charles Sprague Sargent Illustration

Sugar maple is not just a northern U.S. tree. You can find sugar maple from Florida to Maine, its leaf is on Canada's flag and Vermont's sap for syrup.

The sugar maple tree is the principal source of maple sugar. The trees are tapped early in the spring for the first flow of sap, which usually has the highest sugar content. The sap is collected and boiled or evaporated to a syrup. The beautiful fall foliage of New England, which attracts millions of leaf "peepers" and their dollars into the northeast U.S. region, is dominated by the sugar maple species.

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Illustration of American Basswood - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

American Basswood, Tillia americana
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection American Basswood. Charles Sprague Sargent

American basswood is a big and broad-spreading hardwood tree. Greyish-brown twigs bear plump rounded winter buds. The leaves are large and heart-shaped.

American basswood is a large and rapid-growing tree of eastern and central North America. The tree frequently has two or more trunks and vigorously sprouts from stumps as well as seed. American basswood is an important timber tree, especially in the Great Lakes States. It is the northernmost basswood species. The soft, light wood has many uses as wood products. The tree is also well known as a honey or bee-tree, and the seeds and twigs are eaten by wildlife. It is commonly planted as a shade tree in urban areas of the eastern states where it is called American linden.

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Illustration of American Beech - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

American Beech, Fagus grandifolia
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection American Beech, Fagus grandifolia. Charles Sprague Sargent

American beech is a "strikingly handsome" tree with tight, smooth and skin-like gray bark. The slick bark is so unique, it is a major species identifier.

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is the only species of this genus in North America. Although beech is now confined to the eastern United States (except for the Mexican population) it once extended as far west as California and probably flourished over most of North America before the glacial period. This slow-growing, common, deciduous tree reaches its greatest size in the alluvial soils of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and may attain ages of 300 to 400 years. Beech wood is excellent for turning and steam bending. It wears well, is easily treated with preservatives, and is used for flooring, furniture, veneer, and containers. The distinctive triangular nuts are eaten by people and are an important food for wildlife.

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Illustration of American Holly - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

American Holly, Ilex opaca
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection American Holly, Ilex opaca. Charles Sprague Sargent

American holly has heavy, spiny, evergreen leaves and smooth gray bark. Male and female flowers are on separate trees. The female has bright red fruit.

When the Pilgrims landed the week before Christmas in 1620 on the coast of what is now Massachusetts, the evergreen, prickly leaves and red berries of American holly (Ilex opaca) reminded them of the English holly (Ilex aquifolium), a symbol of Christmas for centuries in England and Europe. Since then American holly, also called white holly or Christmas holly, has been one of the most valuable and popular trees in the Eastern United States for its foliage and berries, used for Christmas decorations, and for ornamental plantings.

More on American Holly

  • Ilex opaca Links

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Illustration of American Sycamore - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

American Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection American Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis. Charles Sprague Sargent

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.

Platanus occidentalis is readily identifiable with broad, maplelike leaves and a trunk and limb complexion of mixed green, tan and cream. Some suggest it looks like camouflage. It is a member of one of the planet's oldest clan of trees (Platanaceae) and paleobotanists have dated the family to be over 100 million years old. Living sycamore trees can reach ages of five hundred to six hundred years.

The American sycamore or western planetree is North America's largest native broadleaf tree and is often planted in yards and parks. It's hybridized cousin, the London planetree, adapts very well to urban living. The "improved" sycamore is New York City's tallest street tree and is the most common tree in Brooklyn, New York.

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Illustration of Baldcypress - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum. Charles Sprague Sargent

Baldcypress grows in a natural range, from New York City's Central Park to water saturated swamps of Florida's Everglades and up the Mississippi River Basin.

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer that grows on saturated and seasonally inundated soils of the Southeastern and Gulf Coastal Plains. Two varieties share essentially the same natural range. Variety nutans, commonly called pondcypress, cypress, or black-cypress, grows in shallow ponds and wet areas westward only to southeastern Louisiana. It does not usually grow in river or stream swamps. Variety distichum, commonly called baldcypress, cypress, southern -cypress, swamp-cypress, red-cypress, yellow-cypress, white-cypress, tidewater red-cypress, or gulf-cypress, is more widespread and typical of the species. Its range extends westward into Texas and northward into Illinois and Indiana.

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Illustration of Black Cherry - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Black Cherry, Prunus serotina
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Black Cherry, Prunus serotina. Charles Sprague Sargent

Black cherry is the most important native cherry found throughout the eastern United States.

Black Cherry is also known as wild black cherry, rum cherry, and mountain black cherry. Large, high-quality trees suited for furniture wood or veneer are found in large numbers in a more restricted commercial range on the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia (36,44). Smaller quantities of high-quality trees grow in scattered locations along the southern Appalachian Mountains and the upland areas of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Elsewhere, black cherry is often a small, poorly formed tree of relatively low commercial value, but important to wildlife for its fruit.

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Illustration of River Birch - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

River Birch, Betula nigra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection River Birch, Betula nigra. Charles Sprague Sargent

River birch grows from southern New Hampshire to the Texas Gulf Coast. The tree is very heat-tolerant and reaches its maximum size in rich alluvial soils.

River birch is well named as it loves riparian zones and adapts well to wet sites. The tree's wood has very little commercial value but river birch is extremely popular as an ornamental and was selected the Urban Tree of the Year in 2002.

More on River Birch

  • Betula nigra Links
  • River Birch, Tree of the Year

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Illustration of Blackgum - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Blackgum, Nyssa sylvatica
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Blackgum, Nyssa sylvatica. Charles Sprague Sargent

Blackgum or black tupelo is often associated with wet areas as is suggested by its latin genus name Nyssa, the name for a Greek mythological water sprite.

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. They do intermingle in some Coastal Plain areas and in those cases are hard to differentiate. These trees have moderate growth rate and longevity and are an excellent food source for wildlife, fine honey trees, and handsome ornamentals.

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  • Nyssa slvatica Links

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Illustration of Black Locust - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia. Charles Sprague Sargent

Black Locust is an irregular tree with short branches and smooth twigs with a pair of thorns at leaf base. Leaves are alternate and compound with oval leaflets.

Black locust is a legume with root nodes that, along with bacteria, "fixes" atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. These soil nitrates are usable by other plants. Most legumes have pea-like flowers with distinctive seed pods. Black locust is native to the Ozarks and the southern Appalachians but have been transplanted in many northeastern states and Europe. The tree has become a pest in areas outside its natural range. You are encouraged to plant the tree with caution.

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Illustration of Black Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Black Oak
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Black Oak. Charles Sprague Sargent

Black oak is the most common eastern United States oak. The oak has spiny leaves and acorns that take two years to ripen.

Black oak (Quercus velutina) is a common, medium-sized to large oak of the eastern and midwestern United States. It is sometimes called yellow oak, quercitron, yellowbark oak, or smoothbark oak. It grows best on moist, rich, well-drained soils, but it is often found on poor, dry sandy or heavy glacial clay hillsides where it seldom lives more than 200 years. Good crops of acorns provide wildlife with food. The wood, commercially valuable for furniture and flooring, is sold as red oak. Black oak is seldom used for landscaping.

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Illustration of Black Walnut - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Black Walnut, Juglans nigra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Black walnut has fragrant leaves of 15 or more leaflets. The round nut grows in a thick green husk, from which pioneers made a brown dye.

Black walnut (Juglans nigra), also called eastern black walnut and American walnut, is one of the scarcest and most coveted native hardwoods. Small natural groves frequently found in mixed forests on moist alluvial soils have been heavily logged. The fine straight-grained wood made prize pieces of solid furniture and gunstocks. As the supply diminishes, the remaining quality black walnut is used primarily for veneer. The distinctive tasting nuts are in demand for baked goods and ice cream, but people must be quick to harvest them before the squirrels. The shells are ground for use in many products.

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Illustration of Black Willow - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Black Willow, Salix nigra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Black Willow, Salix nigra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Black willow is found along many streams in the eastern United States. The thin, narrow leaves often have heart-shaped stipules at their base.

Black willow (Salix nigra) is the largest and the only commercially important willow of about 90 species native to North America. It is more distinctly a tree throughout its range than any other native willow; 27 species attain tree size in only part of their range. Other names sometimes used are swamp willow, Goodding willow, southwestern black willow, Dudley willow, and sauz (Spanish). This short-lived, fast-growing tree reaches its maximum size and development in the lower Mississippi River Valley and bottom lands of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Stringent requirements of seed germination and seedling establishment limit black willow to wet soils near water courses, especially floodplains, where it often grows in pure stands. Black willow is used for a variety of wooden products and the tree, with its dense root system, is excellent for stabilizing eroding lands.

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Illustration of Boxelder - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Boxelder, Acer Negundo
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Boxelder, Acer Negundo. Charles Sprague Sargent

Boxelder is the most widely distributed of all the North American maples, ranging from coast to coast and from Canada to Guatemala.

Boxelder (Acer negundo) is one of the most widespread and best known of the maples. Its other common names include ashleaf maple, boxelder maple, Manitoba maple, California boxelder, and western boxelder. Best development of the species is in the bottom-land hardwood stands in the lower Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, although it is of limited commercial importance there. Its greatest value may be in shelterbelt and street plantings in the Great Plains and the West, where it is used because of its drought and cold tolerance.

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Illustration of Butternut - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Butternut, Juglans cinerea
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Butternut, Juglans cinerea. Charles Sprague Sargent

Butternut is found from southeastern New Brunswick throughout the New England States except for northwest Maine and Cape Cod.

Butternut (Juglans cinerea), also called white walnut or oilnut, grows rapidly on well-drained soils of hillsides and streambanks in mixed hardwood forests. This small to medium-sized tree is short lived, seldom reaching the age of 75. Butternut is more valued for its nuts than for lumber. The soft coarse-grained wood works, stains, and finishes well. Small amounts are used for cabinetwork, furniture, and novelties. The sweet nuts are prized as a food by man and animals. Butternut is easily grown but must be transplanted early because of the quickly developing root system.

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Illustration of Cucumber Magnolia - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Cucumbertree, Magnolia acuminata
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Cucumbertree, Magnolia acuminata. Charles Sprague Sargent

Cucumbertree is the hardiest of the native tree-size magnolias. The climate is described as humid to subhumid throughout its range.

Cucumbertree (Magnolia acuminata), also called cucumber magnolia, yellow cucumbertree, yellow-flower magnolia, and mountain magnolia, is the most widespread and hardiest of the eight native magnolia species in the United States, and the only magnolia native to Canada. They reach their greatest size in moist soils of slopes and valleys in the mixed hardwood forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Growth is fairly rapid and maturity is reached in 80 to 120 years. The soft, durable, straight-grained wood is similar to yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). They are often marketed together and used for pallets, crates, furniture, plywood, and special products. The seeds are eaten by birds and rodents and this tree is suitable for planting in parks.

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Illustration of Dogwood - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida. Charles Sprague Sargent

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is one of America's most popular ornamental trees. Most known as dogwood, other names are boxwood and cornel.

Flowering dogwood grows well on flats and on lower or middle slopes, but not very well on upper slopes and ridges. The inability to grow on extremely dry sites is attributed to its relatively shallow root system. The species name florida is Latin for flowering, but the showy petal-like bracts are not in fact flowers. The bright red fruit of this fast-growing short-lived tree are poisonous to humans but provide a great variety of wildlife with food. The wood is smooth, hard and close-textured and now used for specialty products.

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Illustration of Eastern Cottonwood - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Eastern Cottonwood, Populus deltoides
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Eastern Cottonwood,Populus deltoides. Charles Sprague Sargent

Eastern cottonwood (typical) (Populus deltoides var. deltoides) is also called southern cottonwood, Carolina poplar, eastern poplar, necklace poplar, and álamo.

Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), one of the largest eastern hardwoods, is short-lived but the fastest-growing commercial forest species in North America. It grows best on moist well-drained sands or silts near streams, often in pure stands. The lightweight, rather soft wood is used primarily for core stock in manufacturing furniture and for pulpwood. Eastern cottonwood is one of the few hardwood species that is planted and grown specifically for these purposes.

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  • Eastern Cottonwood Links

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Illustration of Eastern Hemlock - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Eastern Hemlock
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Eastern Hemlock. Charles Sprague Sargent

The species is found from New England and through the middle Atlantic States, extending westward to the Appalachian Mountains and south to Georgia and Alabama.

Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), also called Canada hemlock or hemlock spruce, is a slow-growing long-lived tree which unlike many trees grows well in shade. It may take 250 to 300 years to reach maturity and may live for 800 years or more. A tree measuring 76 inches in d.b.h. and 175 feet tall is among the largest recorded. Hemlock bark was once the source of tannin for the leather industry; now the wood is important to the pulp and paper industry. Many species of wildlife benefit from the excellent habitat that a dense stand of hemlock provides. This tree also ranks high for ornamental planting.

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Illustration of Eastern Redcedar - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Eastern Redcedar
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Eastern Redcedar. Charles Sprague Sargent

Eastern redcedar is the most widely distributed conifer of tree size in the Eastern United States and is found in every State east of the 100th meridian.

Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), also called red juniper or savin, is a common coniferous species growing on a variety of sites throughout the eastern half of the United States. Although eastern redcedar is generally not considered to be an important commercial species, its wood is highly valued because of its beauty, durability, and workability. The number of trees and volume of eastern redcedar are increasing throughout most of its range. It provides cedarwood oil for fragrance compounds, food and shelter for wildlife, and protective vegetation for fragile soils.

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Illustration of American Elm - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

American Elm, Ulmus americana
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection American Elm, Ulmus americana. Charles Sprague Sargent

American elm is found throughout Eastern North America.

American elm (Ulmus americana), also known as white elm, water elm, soft elm, or Florida elm, is most notable for its susceptibility to the wilt fungus, Ceratocystis ulmi. Commonly called Dutch elm disease, this wilt has had a tragic impact on American elms. Scores of dead elms in the forests, shelterbelts, and urban areas are testimony to the seriousness of the disease. Because of it, American elms now comprise a smaller percentage of the large diameter trees in mixed forest stands than formerly. Nevertheless, the previously developed silvical concepts remain basically sound.

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Illustration of Green Ash - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Green Ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Green Ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Charles Sprague Sargent

Green ash extends from eastern Canada south through central Montana, northeastern Wyoming, to southeastern Texas; east to northwestern Florida and Georgia.

Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), also called red ash, swamp ash, and water ash, is the most widely distributed of all the American ashes. Naturally a moist bottom land or stream bank tree, it is hardy to climatic extremes and has been widely planted in the Plains States and Canada. The commercial supply is mostly in the South. Green ash is similar in property to white ash and they are marketed together as white ash. The large seed crops provide food to many kinds of wildlife. Due to its good form and resistance to insects and disease, it is a very popular ornamental tree.

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  • Green Ash Links

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Illustration of Hackberry - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis. Charles Sprague Sargent

Hackberry is widely distributed in the eastern United States.

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), is a widespread small to medium-size tree, known also as common hackberry, sugarberry, nettletree, beaverwood, north ern hackberry, and American hackberry. On good bottom-land soils it grows fast and may live to 20 years. The wood, heavy but soft, is of limited commercial importance. It is used in inexpensive furniture where a light-colored wood is desired. The cherrylike fruits often hang on the trees throughout the winter providing many birds with food. Hackberry is planted as a street tree in midwest cities because of its tolerance to a wide range of soil and moisture conditions.

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Illustration of Mockernut Hickory - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Mockernut Hickory, Carya tomentosa
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Mockernut Hickory, Carya tomentosa. Charles Sprague Sargent

Mockernut hickory grows from Massachusetts west to southern Michigan; then to southeastern Iowa, Missouri, south to eastern Texas and east to northern Florida.

Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa), also called mockernut, white hickory, whiteheart hickory, hognut, and bullnut, is one of the most abundant hickories in North America. It is long lived, sometimes reaching the age of 500 years. A high percentage of the wood is used for products where strength, hardness, and flexibility are needed. It makes an excellent fuelwood, too.

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Illustration of Laurel Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Laurel Oak, Quercus laurifolia
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Laurel Oak, Quercus laurifolia. Charles Sprague Sargent

Laurel oak is native to the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains from southeastern Virginia to southern Florida and westward to southeastern Texas.

Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) is also called Darlington oak, diamond-leaf oak, swamp laurel oak, laurel-leaf oak, water oak, and obtusa oak. There has been a long history of disagreement concerning the identity of this oak. It centers on the variation in leaf shapes and differences in growing sites, giving some reason to name a separate species, diamond-leaf oak (Q. obtusa). Here they are treated synonymously. Laurel oak is a rapid-growing short-lived tree of the moist woods of the southeastern Coastal Plain. It has no value as lumber but makes good fuelwood. It is planted in the South as an ornamental. Large crops of acorns are important food for wildlife.

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Illustration of Live Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Live Oak, Quercus virginiana
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Live Oak,Quercus virginiana. Charles Sprague Sargent

Live oak is found in the lower Coastal Plain of Southern United States from lower Virginia to Georgia and Florida; west to southern and central Texas.

Live oak (Quercus virginiana), also called Virginia live oak, is evergreen with a variety of forms, shrubby or dwarfed to large and spreading, depending upon the site. Usually live oak grows on sandy soils of low coastal areas, but it also grows in dry sandy Woods or moist rich woods. The wood is very heavy and strong but is little used at present. Birds and animals eat the acorns. Live oak is fast-growing and easily transplanted when young so is used widely as an ornamental. Variations in leaf sizes and acorn cup shapes distinguish two varieties from the typical, Texas live oak (Q. uirginiana var. fusiformis (Small) Sarg.) and sand live oak (Q. virginiana var. geminata (Small) Sarg.).

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Illustration of Loblolly Pine - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Loblolly Pine, Pinus taeda
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Loblolly Pine, Pinus taeda. Charles Sprague Sargent

The native range of loblolly pine extends through 14 States from southern New Jersey south to central Florida and west to eastern Texas.

Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), also called Arkansas pine, North Carolina pine, and oldfield pine, is the most commercially important forest species in the southern United States, where it is dominant on about 11.7 million ha (29 million acres) and makes up over one-half of the standing pine volume. It is a medium-lived, intolerant to moderately tolerant tree with rapid juvenile growth. The species responds well to silvicultural treatments and can be managed as either even-aged or uneven-aged natural stands, or can be regenerated artificially and managed in plantations.

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Illustration of Black Locust - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia. Charles Sprague Sargent

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) grows naturally and does best on rich moist limestone soils. It has become naturalized throughout eastern North America.

Black locust is a legume with root nodes that, along with bacteria, "fixes" atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. These soil nitrates are usable by other plants. Most legumes have pea-like flowers with distinctive seed pods. Black locust is native to the Ozarks and the southern Appalachians but have been transplanted in many northeastern states and Europe. The tree has become a pest in areas outside its natural range. You are encouraged to plant the tree with caution.

More on Black Locust

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Illustration of Longleaf Pine - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Longleaf pine, Pinus palustris
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Longleaf pine, Pinus palustris. Charles Sprague Sargent

The natural range of longleaf pine includes most of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains to eastern Texas and south through the northern two-thirds of Florida.

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), whose species name means "of the marsh," has been locally referred to as longstraw, yellow, southern yellow, swamp, hard or heart, pitch, and Georgia pine. In presettlement times, this premier timber and naval stores tree grew in extensive pure stands throughout the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. At one time the longleaf pine forest may have occupied as much as 24 million ha (60 million acres), although by 1985 less than 1.6 million ha (4 million acres) remained.

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Illustration of Southern Magnolia - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora. Charles Sprague Sargent

Southern magnolia extends from North Carolina, south to central Florida, then west to Texas. It is most prevalent in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Southern magnolia is an aristocrat of trees. It grows as a native throughout the lower South, is widely adaptable to a variety of soils, and has few pest problems. With glossy evergreen foliage and large white fragrant blossoms in spring, it truly is one of the most handsome and durable native trees for Southern landscapes. The largest privately planted grove of these trees are located at Milky Way Farm (Mars candy family) in Southern Tennessee.

More on Magnolia

  • Magnolia grandiflora Links

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Illustration of Red Maple - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Red Maple, Acer rubrum
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Red Maple, Acer rubrum. Charles Sprague Sargent

Red maple is one of the most abundant and widespread trees in eastern North America. Its range is throughout the eastern United States

Red maple (Acer rubrum) is also known as scarlet maple, swamp maple, soft maple, Carolina red maple, Drummond red maple, and water maple. Many foresters consider the tree inferior and undesirable because it is often poorly formed and defective, especially on poor sites. On good sites, however, it may grow fast with good form and quality for saw logs. Red maple is a subclimax species that can occupy overstory space but is usually replaced by other species. It is classed as shade tolerant and as a prolific sprouter. It has great ecological amplitude from sea level to about 900 m (3,000 ft) and grows over a wide range of microhabitat sites. It ranks high as a shade tree for landscapes.

More on Red Maple

  • Acer rubrum grandiflora Links

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Illustration of Mimosa - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Mimosa
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Mimosa. Charles Sprague Sargent

Unfortunately, Mimosa (vascular) wilt is a widespread problem in many areas of the country and has killed many roadside trees. Mimosa is not native to the U.S.

This fast-growing, deciduous tree has a low branching, open, spreading habit and delicate, lacy, almost fern-like foliage. Fragrant, silky, pink puffy pompom blooms, two inches in diameter, appear from late April to early July creating a spectacular sight. But the tree produces numerous seed pods and harbors insect (webworm) and disease (vascular wilt) problems. Although short-lived (10 to 20 years), Mimosa is popular for use as a terrace or patio tree for its light shade and tropical look.

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Illustration of Red Mulberry - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Red mulberry, Morus rubra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Red mulberry, Morus rubra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Red mulberry extends from Massachusetts west through southern New York to southeastern Minnesota; south to into Oklahoma, central Texas and east to Florida.

Red mulberry or Morus rubra is widespread in the Eastern United States. It is a rapid-growing tree of valleys, flood plains, and low moist hillsides. This species attains its largest size in the Ohio River Valley and reaches its highest elevation (600 m or 2,000 ft) in the southern Appalachian foothills. The wood is of little commercial importance. The tree's value is derived from its abundant fruits, which are eaten by people, birds, and small mammals.

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Illustration of Northern Red Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Northern Red Oak grows all over the eastern United States with the exception of the Southern coastal plain.

Northern red oak (Quercus rubra), also known as common red oak, eastern red oak, mountain red oak, and gray oak, is widespread in the East and grows on a variety of soils and topography, often forming pure stands. Moderate to fast growing, this tree is one of the more important lumber species of red oak and is an easily transplanted, popular shade tree with good form and dense foliage.

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Illustration of Yellow Buckeye - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Yellow Buckeye, Aesculus octandra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Yellow Buckeye, Aesculus octandra. Charles Sprague Sargent

The range of yellow buckeye extends west from western Pennsylvania into Illinois; south to northern Alabama; east to northern Georgia north and West Virginia

Yellow buckeye (Aeseulus octandra), also called sweet buckeye or big buckeye, is the largest of the buckeyes and is most abundant in the Great Smoky Mountains of southeastern United States. It grows best on moist and deep, dark humus soils with good drainage in river bottoms, coves, and northern slopes. The young shoots and seeds contain a poisonous glucoside that is harmful to animals, but the shape and foliage make this an attractive shade tree. The wood is the softest of all American hardwoods and makes poor lumber; but it is used for pulpwood and woodenware.

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  • Aesculus octandra Links

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Illustration of Pecan - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Pecan, Carya illinoensis
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Pecan, Carya illinoensis. Charles Sprague Sargent

Pecan grows naturally in the lower Mississippi Valley. It extends westward to eastern Kansas and central Texas, eastward to west Mississippi and west Tennessee.

Pecan (Carya illinoensis) is one of the better-known pecan hickories. It is also called sweet pecan and in its range where Spanish is spoken, nogal morado or nuez encarcelada. The early settlers who came to America found pecans growing over wide areas. These native pecans were and continue to be highly valued as sources of new varieties and as stock for selected clones. Besides the commercial edible nut that it produces, the pecan provides food for wildlife. Pecans are an excellent multipurpose tree for the home landscape by providing a source of nuts, furniture-grade wood, and esthetic value.

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Illustration of Persimmon - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

persimmon, Diospyros virginiana
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection persimmon, Diospyros virginiana. Charles Sprague Sargent

It is native to the mid and lower eastern United States. From Connecticut south to Florida; west to Texas, Oklahoma up through eastern Kansas to southeast Iowa.

Common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), also called simmon, possumwood, and Florida persimmon, is a slow-growing tree of moderate size found on a wide variety of soils and sites. Best growth is in the bottom lands of the Mississippi River Valley. The wood is close grained and sometimes used for special products requiring hardness and strength. Persimmon is much better known for its fruits, however. They are enjoyed by people as well as many species of wildlife for food. The glossy leathery leaves make the persimmon tree a nice one for landscaping, but it is not easily transplanted because of the taproot.

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  • Diospyros virginiana Links

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Illustration of Post Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Post Oak Quercus stellata
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Post Oak Quercus stellata. Charles Sprague Sargent

The range of post oak reaches from the humid East to semiarid portions of Oklahoma and Texas.

Post Oak (Quercus stellata), sometimes called iron oak, is a medium-sized tree abundant throughout the Southeastern and South Central United States where it forms pure stands in the prairie transition area. This slow-growing oak typically occupies rocky or sandy ridges and dry woodlands with a variety of soils and is considered drought resistant. The wood is very durable in contact with soil and used widely for fenceposts, hence, the name. Due to varying leaf shapes and acorn sizes, several varieties of post oak have been recognized-sand post oak (Q. stellata var. margaretta (Ashe) Sarg.), and Delta post oak (Quercus stellata var. paludosa Sarg.) are included here.

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Illustration of White Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

White Oak, Quercus Alba
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection White Oak, Quercus Alba. Charles Sprague Sargent

White oak grows throughout most of the Eastern United States.

White oak (Quercus alba) is an outstanding tree among all trees and is widespread across eastern North America. The most important lumber tree of the white oak group, growth is good on all but the driest shallow soils. Its high-grade wood is useful for many things, an important one being staves for barrels, hence the name stave oak. The acorns are an important food for many kinds of wildlife.

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Illustration of Southern Red Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Southern Red Oak, Quercus falcata
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Southern Red Oak, Quercus falcata. Charles Sprague Sargent

Southern red oak extends from Long Island, NY, southward to northern Florida, west across the Gulf States to Texas; north southern Illinois and Ohio.

Southern red oak (Quercus falcata var. falcata), also called Spanish oak, water oak, or red oak, is one of the more common upland southern oaks. This medium-size tree is moderately fast growing on dry, sandy, or clay loams in mixed forests. It is also often found growing as a street or lawn tree. The hard strong wood is coarse grained and used for general construction, furniture, and fuel. Wildlife depend upon the acorns as food.

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Illustration of Redbud - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Redbud, Cercis canadensis. Charles Sprague Sargent

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.

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  • Cercis canadensis Links

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Illustration of River Birch - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

River Birch, Betula nigra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection River Birch, Betula nigra. Charles Sprague Sargent

River birch grows all the way from southern New Hampshire to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The most beautiful of American trees-that's what Prince Maximilian thought of river birch (Betula nigra) when he toured North America before he became the short-lived Emperor of Mexico. Also known as red birch, water birch, or black birch, it is the only birch whose range includes the southeastern coastal plain and is also the only spring-fruiting birch. Although the wood has limited usefulness, the tree's beauty makes it an important ornamental, especially at the northern and western extremes of its natural range.

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  • Betula nigra links

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Illustration of Sassafras albidum - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Sassafras albidum
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Sassafras albidum. Charles Sprague Sargent

Sassafras grows from southern New England to north Florida, west to eastern Texas and up to southern Illinois.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), sometimes called white sassafras, is a medium-sized, moderately fast growing, aromatic tree with three distinctive leaf shapes: entire, mittenshaped, and threelobed. Little more than a shrub in the north, sassafras grows largest in the Great Smoky Mountains on moist well-drained sandy loams in open woodlands. It frequently pioneers old fields where it is important to wildlife as a browse plant, often in thickets formed by underground runners from parent trees. The soft, brittle, lightweight wood is of limited commercial value, but oil of sassafras is extracted from root bark for the perfume industry.

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Illustration of Sweetgum - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua. Charles Sprague Sargent

Sweetgum grows from Connecticut southward throughout the East to central Florida and eastern Texas.

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), also called redgum, sapgum, starleaf-gum, or bilsted, is a common bottom-land species of the South where it grows biggest and is most abundant in the lower Mississippi Valley. This moderate to rapidly growing tree often pioneers in old fields and logged areas in the uplands and Coastal Plain and may develop in a nearly pure stand. Sweetgurn is one of the most important commercial hardwoods in the Southeast and the handsome hard wood is put to a great many uses, one of which is veneer for plywood. The small seeds are eaten by birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. It is sometimes used as a shade tree.

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Illustration of Shagbark Hickory - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata. Charles Sprague Sargent

Shagbark hickory is evenly distributed throughout the Eastern States and, together with pignut hickory, furnishes the bulk of the commercial hickory.

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) is probably the most distinctive of all the hickories because of its loose-plated bark. Common names include shellbark hickory, scalybark hickory, shagbark, and upland hickory. The tough resilient properties of the wood make it suitable for products subject to impact and stress. The sweet nuts, once a staple food for American Indians, provide food for wildlife.

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  • Carya ovata Links

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Illustration of Water Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Water Oak, Quercus nigra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Water Oak, Quercus nigra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Water oak is found along the Coastal Plain from southern New Jersey south to southern Florida; west to eastern Texas.

Water oak (Quercus nigra), sometimes called possum oak or spotted oak, is commonly found along southeastern watercourses and lowlands on silty clay and loamy soils. This medium-sized rapid-growing tree is often abundant as second growth on cutover lands. It is also planted widely as a street and shade tree in southern communities.

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Illustration of White Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

White Oak, Quercus alba
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection White Oak, Quercus alba. Charles Sprague Sargent

White oak grows throughout most of the Eastern United States.

White oak (Quercus alba) is an outstanding tree among all trees and is widespread across eastern North America. The most important lumber tree of the white oak group, growth is good on all but the driest shallow soils. Its high-grade wood is useful for many things, an important one being staves for barrels, hence the name stave oak. The acorns are an important food for many kinds of wildlife.

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Illustration of Yellow Buckeye - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Yellow Buckeye, Aesculus octandra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Yellow Buckeye, Aesculus octandra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Yellow buckeye is a mountain tree Pennsylvania down the Ohio River Valley to Illinois; south to Kentucky and northern Alabama; east to northern Georgia.

Yellow buckeye (Aeseulus octandra), also called sweet buckeye or big buckeye, is the largest of the buckeyes and is most abundant in the Great Smoky Mountains of southeastern United States. It grows best on moist and deep, dark humus soils with good drainage in river bottoms, coves, and northern slopes. The young shoots and seeds contain a poisonous glucoside that is harmful to animals, but the shape and foliage make this an attractive shade tree. The wood is the softest of all American hardwoods and makes poor lumber; but it is used for pulpwood and woodenware.

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Illustration of Yellow Poplar - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Yellow Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Yellow Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera. Charles Sprague Sargent

Yellow-poplar grows throughout the Eastern United States from New England, west through southern Michigan, south to Louisiana, then east to central Florida.

Yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called tuliptree, tulip-poplar, white-poplar, and whitewood, is one of the most attractive and tallest of eastern hardwoods. It is fast growing and may reach 300 years of age on deep, rich, well-drained soils of forest coves and lower mountain slopes. The wood has high commercial value because of its versatility and as a substitute for increasingly scarce softwoods in furniture and framing construction. Yellow-poplar is also valued as a honey tree, a source of wildlife food, and a shade tree for large areas.

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  • Liriodendron tulipifera Links

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Illustration of Water Oak - Charles Sprague Sargent Tree Leaf Plate

Water Oak, Quercus nigra
Botanist Charles Sprague Sargent's Tree Illustration Collection Water Oak, Quercus nigra. Charles Sprague Sargent

Water oak is found along the Coastal Plain from southern New Jersey south to Florida; west to eastern Texas; and north to southeastern Oklahoma.

Water oak (Quercus nigra), sometimes called possum oak or spotted oak, is commonly found along southeastern watercourses and lowlands on silty clay and loamy soils. This medium-sized rapid-growing tree is often abundant as second growth on cutover lands. It is also planted widely as a street and shade tree in southern communities.