Click on photographs to enlarge and obtain additional information about each tree species.
Maple Family (Aceraceae)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
(also known as Swamp Maple, Scarlet Maple) Native to Vermont. Large tree with narrow or rounded, compact crown and red flowers, fruit, leafstalks and autumn foliage. Found in wet or moist soils of stream banks, valleys, swamps, and uplands and sometimes in dry ridges; in mixed hardwood forests. It has the greatest north-south distribution of all tree species along the East Coast.
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
(also known as Hard Maple, Rock Maple) Native to Vermont. Large tree with rounded, dense crown and striking, multicolored foliage in autumn. Found abundantly throughout Vermont in moist soils of uplands and valleys, sometimes in pure stands. Maple sugar and syrup are made largely from the sap of this tree.
Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
(also known as Soft Maple, River Maple, White Maple) Native to Vermont. Large tree with a short, stout trunk, few large forks, spreading, open irregular crown of long curving branches, and graceful cut-leaves. Found in wet soils of stream banks, especially near the shores of Lake Champlain, and floodplains and swamps; with other hardwoods.
Boxelder (Acer negundo)
(also known as Ash-Leaved Maple, Manitoba Maple) Naturalized in Vermont. Small to medium-sized tree with a short trunk and a broad, rounded crown of light green foliage. Escaped to localized areas from ornamental plantings. Short lived, fast-growing, brittle tree which is prone to ice and wind damage. Found in wet or moist soils along stream banks and in valleys with various hardwoods.
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Introduced. Grows rapidly and thrives in a variety of conditions. Planted as a street and shade tree, but because of it’s rapid growth and escape into the wild, it is considered a threat to native flora and fauna. Further planting is discouraged.
Birch Family (Betulaceae)
Speckled Alder (Alnus icana)
(also known as Tag Alder, Gray Alder) Native to Vermont. A low and clump-forming shrub, sometimes a small tree. Very common in Vermont, usually growing in wet areas along brooks, in swamps and pastures. Sprouts easily and planted as an ornamental at water edges.
American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
(also known as water beech, blue beech, musclewood) Native to Vermont. Small, shrubby tree with one or more short trunks angled or fluted, long slender, spreading branches and a broad rounded crown. Occurs statewide at lower elevations, most common in wet woods and the borders of swamps and streams. Distinguishable in the spring by its tiny flowers in loose catkins and in the summer by the leaf-like wings on the fruit.
Eastern Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
(also known as American Hophornbeam, Ironwood) Native to Vermont. Small tree with either an open or rounded crown. Found in open woods, slopes and ridges in the valleys and mountains, more common in western and southern portions of Vermont. Fruit closely resembles hops, and nutlets and buds are eaten ny wildlife. Wood is extremely tough. Planted as an ornamental and slow-growing.
Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
(also known as Canoe Birch, White Birch) Native to Vermont. Narrow, open crown of slightly drooping to nearly horizontal branches, sometimes a shrub. Bark separates into papery strips to reveal orange inner bark.
River Birch (Betula nigra)
(also known as Red Birch, Black Birch) Not native to Vermont. Often slightly leaning, forked tree with irregular spreading crown. Found in wet soil of stream banks, lakes, swamps, and flood plains; with other hardwoods. It is the southern-most New World birch. Resistant to Bronze birch borer.
Gray Birch (Betula populifolia)
(also known as White Birch, Wire Birch) Native to Vermont. Small, bushy tree with open, conical crown of short slender branches reaching nearly to the ground. Found in dry barren uplands and also moist soils in mixed woodlands. Growing rapidly but short-lived, it is a pioneer in clearings, abandoned farms and burned areas.
Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
(also known as Gray Birch, Silver Birch) Native to Vermont. Large tree with broad, rounded crown of drooping branches. Foundin cool, moist uplands including mountain ravines, with hardwoods and conifers. Largest of the native birches. When mature, easily recognized by its distinctive bark.
Sweet Birch (Betula lenta)
(also known as Black Birch, Cherry Birch) Native to southern Vermont. Aromatic tree with rounded crown of spreading branches. Wintergreen scent in crushed twigs and foliage. Trees can be tapped like Sugar Maples for the fermented sap. Found in cool, moist uplands with hardwoods and conifers.
Bignonia Family (Bignoniaceae)
Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
Northernmost New World example of its tropical family. Native to the Midwestern United States, widely naturalized in New England. It is planted as a shade and ornamental tree. Grows in moist soils in open areas.
Beech Family (Fagaceae)
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Native to Vermont. Large tree with rounded crown of many long, spreading and horizontal branches. Producing edible beechnuts. Found in moist rich soils of uplands and well-drained lowlands. Sometimes forms nearly pure stands with shoots often springing up from the tree’s roots.
Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Native to Vermont. Large tree with rounded crown of stout, spreading branches. Most common oak species in Vermont, particularly through the Champlain Valley and lower Connecticut River valleys. Grows in moist, loamy, sandy, rocky and clay soils; often in pure stands. The northernmost, eastern oak.
White Oak (Quercus alba)
(also known as Stave Oak) Native to Vermont. The classic eastern oak, with widespreading branches and a rounded crown, the trunk irregularly divided into spreading, often horizontal, stout branches. Occurs naturally in southern and middle Vermont. Found in moist, well-drained uplands and lowlands, often in pure stands.
Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
(also known as Swamp Oak, Spanish Oak) Native to Vermont. Straight trunked tree with spreading to horizontal branches, very slender “pin-like” twigs, and a broadly conical crown. Found in nearly pure stands on poorly drained wet sites, including clay soils on level uplands. A popular lawn tree with a regular compact form and fine textured foliage. Pin Oaks are hardy and easily transplanted because of the shallow, fibrous root system that lacks tap roots.
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
(also known as Blue Oak, Mossycup Oak) Native to Vermont. Generally uncommon in New England, but found in western counties of Vermont. Stout trunk, large acorns, and broad, rounded open crown of large spreading branches. Sometimes a shrub. Grows in low rich bottomland, rarely on dry soil.
Walnut Family (Juglandaceae)
Hickories and Pecans (Carya)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
(also known as Scalybark Hickory) Native to Vermont. Large tree with tall trunk, narrow, irregular crown and distinctive rough shaggy bark. Found throughout Vermont except the Northeast Kingdom. Grows in moist, well-drained soils.
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
Native to Vermont. The fastest grower of all hickories, and grows in a variety of sites although best in moist bottomland soil and along borders of streams. Although common further south in the lower elevations of the Green Mountains, it is rare in Vermont. Yellow buds distinguish it from all other hickories.
Butternut and Walnuts (Juglans)
Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
(also known as White Walnut, Oilnut) Native to Vermont. Tree with a short straight trunk, stout branches, broad open crown and large egg-shaped fruit in drooping clusters with a sticky husk. Occurs naturally or in cultivation nearly statewide. Found in rich moist soil and on rocky hills.
Legume Family (Leguminosae)
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
(also known as Yellow Locust, Locust) Naturalized in Vermont. Large, spiny tree with forking, often crooked and angled trunk and irregular, open crown of upright branches. Found in moist to dry sandy and rocky soils, especially in old fields and other open areas, and in woodlands. Black Locust are widely planted for ornament and erosion control.
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
(also known as Sweet Locust, Thorny Locust) Naturalized in Vermont. Large, spiny tree with open, flattened crown of spreading branches. Found in moist soils of river flood plains in mixed forests; sometimes on dry upland limestone hills. This hardy species is popular for shade, hedges and attracting wildlife.
Magnolia Family (Magnoliaceae)
Yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
(also known as Tulip Tree, Tulip-poplar) Native to Vermont. One of the tallest eastern hardwoods with a long straight trunk and a narrow crown that spreads with age. Found in well-drained soils, especially valleys and slopes; often in pure stands.
Olive Family (Oleaceae)
Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
(also known as Swamp Ash, Water Ash) Native to Vermont. Tree with dense, rounded or irregular crown of shiny green foliage. Found in most alluvial soils along stream in floodplain forests. The most widespread native ash, found throughout Vermont, particularly along major rivers.
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
Native to Vermont. Large tree with straight trunk and dense, conical or rounded crown of foliage with whitish lower surfaces. Found in moist soils of valleys and slopes, especially deep well-drained loams; in forests with many other hardwoods.
Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra)
(also known as Basket Ash, Hoop Ash) Native to Vermont. The northernmost native ash, it takes its name from the dark brown heartwood. Occurs statewide in Vermont, grows slowly and almost entirely on rich moist ground or in cold wet swamps and along banks of streams. Dioecious, male and female flower occur on different trees.
Rose Family (Rosaceae)
Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
(also known as Shadbush, Juneberry) Native to Vermont. Small, sometimes multi-trunked, trees that grow to 30 and 40 feet in height with star-shaped, white flowers. Found in open hardwood stands or along the margins of open areas.
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
(also known as Wild Cherry, Rum Cherry) Native to Vermont. Tree with tall trunk, oblong crown, abundant small white flowers and small black cherries. Crushes foliage and bark have distinctive cherrylike odor and bitter taste. Largest of the native cherries and widely distributed throughout Vermont. Grows on a variety of soils, but best grown on rich moist land.
Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
(also known as Eastern Chokecherry) Native to Vermont. Shrub or small tree often forming dense thickets with dark red or blackish berries. Occurs throughout Vermont, especially along fencerows in farming communities.
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
(also known as Fire Cherry, Bird Cherry, Wild Red Cherry) Native to Vermont. Small tree or shrub with horizontal branches and a narrow, rounded open crown and shiny red twigs, bitter, aromatic bark and foliage and tiny red cherries. Often called fire cherry because its seedlings come up after forest fires. Provides shade and cover for soil and the establishment of seedlings on recent clearcuts or burned areas.
Willow Family (Salicaceae)
Weeping Willow (Salix tristis)
Naturalized in Vermont. A naturalized tree with a short trunk and broad, open, irregular crown of drooping branches. Found in parks, gardens, homes, especially near water. Native to China, it is one of the first willows to bear leaves in the spring and the last to shed them in the autumn.
Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
(also known as Carolina Popular, Southern Cottonwood) Native Vermont. Large tree with massive trunk often forked in stout branches and broad open crown of spreading and slightly drooping branches. Found bordering streams and in wet soils in valleys; in pure stands or often with willows. Pioneers on new sandbars and bare floodplains.
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
(also known as Trembling Aspen, Golden Aspen) Native to Vermont. The most widely distributed tree in North America with a narrow, rounded crown of thin foliage. Found in many soil types, especially sandy and gravelly slopes; often in pure stands and in an altitudinal zone below spruce-fir forest.
Bigtooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata)
Native to Vermont. Occurs statewide and commonly grows with the Quaking Aspen. Medium sized tree with a narrow, rounded crown. Rapid grower in various soils and conditions, but grows best in rich, sandy and fairly moist soil. More shade tolerant than the Quaking Aspen.
Linden Family (Tiliaceae)
American Basswood (Tilia americana)
(also known as American Linden, Bee Tree) Native to Vermont. Large tree with long trunk and a dense crown of many small, often drooping branches with large leaves. Northernmost basswood species and often used as a shade or street tree. When flowering, this species is favored by bees over others and produces a strongly flavored honey. (The European Linden (Tilia europaea) and Little-leaf linden (Tilia cordata) are non-native species frequently planted as shade trees, they are not as tall and have smaller leaves.)
Elm Family (Ulmaceae)
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
(also known as Sugarberry, Nettletree) Native to Vermont, although population is limited. Occurs naturally in small portions of southeastern and western Vermont along larger rivers such as the Connecticut River. Tree with rounded crown of spreading or slightly drooping branches, often deformed as bushy growths (witches brooms). Distinctive bark with corky knobs or ridges that extend perpendicular from otherwise smooth bark.
American Elm (Ulmus americana)
(also known as White Elm, Soft Elm) Native to Vermont. Large, graceful tree, often with enlarged buttresses at base usually forked into many spreading branches, drooping at ends, ofrming a very rounded, flat-topped or vase-like crown, often wider than high. Found in moist soils, especially valleys and floodplains; in mixed hardwood forests.
Pine Family (Pinaceae)
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
(also known as White Pine, Northern White Pine) Native to Vermont. The largest northeastern conifer with a straight trunk and crown of horizontal branches, becoming broad and irregular. Occurs throughout the state in uplands up to 1,000 feet and on sandy soils, but grows best on fertile, well drained soils in the Champlain and Connecticut River Valleys. Often in pure stands on sandy soil.
Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
Native to Vermont. Medium sized tree often bearing tufts of needles on trunk with broad rounded, or irregular crown of horizontal branches. Grows on sandy barren or plains and on gravelly soil in uplands. Common in the northern part of the Champlain Valley and along the major river courses.
Red Pine (Pinus resinosa)
Native to Vermont. Large tree, with small cones and a broad irregular crown of spreading branches. Found locally on dry rocky ridges or light sandy soils in river valleys. Less frequent in southern Vermont.
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
(also known as Scotch Pine) Introduced. Native to Europe, Northern Asia and south to Turkey. Large tree with a crown of spreading branches that become rounded and irregular with rich blue-green foliage. Planted along roadsides and also as ornamentals.
Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana)
(also known as Gray Pine) One of the rarest of Vermont’s native trees. It’s southern most limit passes through northern Vermont. Medium-sized tree with spreading branches and very short needles, sometimes a shrub.
Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
(also known as Bog Spruce, Swamp Spruce) Native to Vermont. Tree with open, irregular, conical crown of short, horizontal or slightly drooping branches. Occurs statewide along streams, swamp borders and in peat bogs of the Champlain Valley. Also grows in cool upland soils.
Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
Not native to Vermont. Native to the Rocky Mountains of the US. Planted as an ornamental due it is shape and blue color, does not become naturalized in Vermont, therefore is not found in natural forests.
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
Introduced. Native to Europe. Large, cone-bearing tree with straight trunk and pyramid-shaped crown of spreading, drooping and weeping branches. Adapts well to moist soils and climates, therefore it is a common planting for forest regeneration and as an ornamental.
Red Spruce (Picea rubens)
(also known as Eastern Spruce, Yellow Spruce) Native to Vermont. Tree with a broad, or narrow conical crown. Common throughout Vermont. Grows on well-drained, rocky upland soils and mountain slopes, where it is the main species.
White Spruce (Picea glauca)
(also known as Canadian Spruce, Skunk Spruce) Native to Vermont. Tree with rows of horizontal branches, forming a conical crown. Smaller and shrubby at treeline. Found primarily in the northeastern quadrant of Vermont and some isolated areas including the Lake Champlain islands. It does not tolerant shade.
Tamarack (Larix laricina)
(also known as Eastern Larch, Hackmatack) Found in scattered stands throughout Vermont. Deciduous tree with straight, tapering trunk and thin open, conical crown of horizontal branches. Grows rapidly and intolerant of shade, with its primary habitat of cold, deep swamps.
Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
(also known as Canada Hemlock, Hemlock Spruce) Native to Vermont. Tree with conical crown of long, slender, horizontal branches often drooping with a slender, curved and drooping leader. Found in nearly every part of Vermont from rocky woods and hillsides, to the borders of swamps, low river banks and mountain forests. Best grown in cool, moist sites.
Cypress Family (Cupressaceae)
Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana)
(also known as Red Juniper) Native to Vermont. Aromatic tree with trunk angled and buttressed at base with narrow, compact columnar crown, sometimes broad and irregular. Common in lower altitudes of western Vermont. Grow in poor soils, gravelly slopes, rocky rides and moist, sandy ground.
Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
(also known as Eastern Arborvitae) Native to Vermont. Resinous and aromatic tree with an angled, buttressed, often branched trunk with narrow, conical crown of short, spreading branches. Generally found in swamps, along streams, mountain slopes and in old pastures. Widely used as an ornamental.
All Photographs taken by Courtney Ley Photography, LLC. Tree species descriptions obtained from the National Audubon Society Field Guide for Trees, Eastern Region, 2000, Forest Trees of Vermont, Trevor Evans, 2016 and Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast, Michael Wojtech, 2011.
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