Welcome to the WVBG Tree Trail!

Along this self-guided route, you will find 11 marked trees. A map showing the location of each tree is available below. For each of the trees along the trail, there is corresponding information that can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the tree itself, or clicking the appropriate button below.  We hope you enjoy learning about some of our resident trees at the Garden.

See the Map
#1

Northern Red Oak

#2

Shagbark Hickory

#3

Black Gum

#4

American Beech

#5

White Oak

#6

Sweet Birch

#7

Sourwood

#8

Tuliptree

#9

Eastern Hemlock

#10

Red Maple

#11

Chestnut Oak

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Northern Red Oak

Quercus rubra

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

4-9 inches long, oblong shape with 7-11 bristle-tipped lobes, regular U-shaped sinuses extending about halfway to the midrib, tufts of hair on veins on underside

Fall Color:

red to brown

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

acorn solitary or paired, .5-1 inch long, with a flat, thick, saucer-like cap

Flower:

blooms April-May; male flower is a green catkin, 1-4” long, composed of many tiny flowers, female flowers are more reddish-green and appear as small slender spikes in the axils of new growth

Twigs:

buds in clusters

Bark:

smooth early then with shallow reddish-orange fissures separated by flat silvery ridges (like ski trails)

Height:

generally 50–70 feet

Life Span:

100-150 years, but may live up to 400 years

People love it because…

Red oak was historically and still is a very important timber tree due to the strength and beauty of its wood. The wood is used in flooring, furniture, and more.

It is also a very important ornamental tree. One of its many special features is that it is easier than most trees to transplant and it can tolerate the conditions of cities and towns amazingly well. It is valued for the shade it provides, its brilliant fall colors, and its high degree of safety thanks to the superior strength of its wood.

Wildlife love it because…

Red oak acorns are eaten by blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, small rodents, deer, raccoons, and black bears. Deer also browse the buds and twigs in wintertime.

Fun Fact

Years when the oak trees collectively produce many acorns (every 2-5), are generally followed by an increase in wildlife species that feed on them.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

long (8-14 inches) pinnately compound leaf with 5 (rarely 7), slightly hairy leaflets; 3 leaflets at end larger than the side leaflets, leaflets are widest at the middle and pointed at the tip

Fall Color:

golden yellow

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

large (1-1.5 inches) nut with thick, green, 4-ribbed outer shell turning brown at maturity

Flower:

tiny male flowers in catkins and female flowers in spikes emerge before leaves

Twigs:

stout and somewhat fuzzy

Bark:

smooth and gray on young stems, breaking up and becoming shaggy with large plates curving away from the trunk

Height:

generally 40–80 feet

Life Span:

150-200 years

People love it because…

The heavy, strong, shock-resistant wood is used for bows, furniture, flooring, tools, ladder rungs, and drum sticks.

It makes excellent firewood and is used to smoke meat for “hickory smoked” flavor.

Its sweet nut, similar to pecan, is edible. 

Wildlife love it because…

Black bears, foxes, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and a number of birds enjoy the nuts.

Fun Fact

A yellow dye can be made from the inner bark.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Black gum (also known as Black Tupelo)

Nyssa sylvatica

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

Oblong (2-5 inches long), wider toward the pointed tip than at the base, shiny above, leaf edges smooth

Fall Color:

ranges from pastels in the shade to brilliant red in the open

Branching:

alternate, horizontal from trunk

Fruit/Nut:

clusters of 4-5 small (.5 inch) purple, oval-shaped drupes (“berries”)

Flower:

Small, greenish-white flowers appear in April – May during leaf set, male and female flowers on different trees

Twigs:

slender, leaf scar at base of buds resembling a monkey face

Bark:

gray and smooth on young trees, blocky on older trees resembling alligator hide

Height:

Generally 30-70’

Life Span:

50-100 years

People love it because…

Its splendid fall colors make it a desirable landscape tree.

Honey made from the nectar of tupelo flowers is light and mild-tasting. In Florida, tupelo honey production is a million-dollar a year business.

Wildlife love it because…

Flowers serve as an important source of nectar for pollinators in spring.

Its young sprouts are eaten by deer. The fruits are enjoyed by thrushes and other songbirds, wild turkeys, black bear, foxes, raccoons and opossums from August through October. It is one of the most important food sources for fall songbird migration.

Fun Fact

Often found near streams or wetlands, it’s Latin name Nyssa refers to a water-loving nymph from Greek
mythology, and sylvatica means “of the woods”.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

American beech

Fagus grandifolia

 Leaves:

oval leaves, 2-5 inches long with sharp incurved teeth. Strong veins run parallel to each other from mid-vein to leaf edge

Fall Color:

yellow to bronze, dead leaves often stay on tree through winter

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

two pyramidal shaped nuts enclosed in a prickly bur, .5- 1 inches

Flower:

male flowers are small and yellow and clustered together into ball-like structures; female flowers are even smaller with reddish-bordered scales found on the ends of new twig growth

Twigs:

slender with slender lance-shaped, pointed buds

Bark:

gray and smooth, even at maturity

Height:

generally 50–80 feet

Life Span:

300-400 years

 

People love it because…

People love it because…
Its split-resistant wood is used for furniture and flooring as well as firewood.

The beautiful bark, golden fall color, shade-producing canopy, and longevity make it a valuable landscape tree.

Beech nuts (ground into a flour) and the inner bark served as a food source for Native Americans; early settlers roasted the nuts like coffee.

Wildlife love it because…

The nuts are preferred by squirrels, chipmunks, bears, deer, grouse, turkeys, and others.

Studies have shown that when beech nut production is high, black bears have more cubs because the high fat content the mothers gain from the nuts translates to more milk for young.

Fun Fact

Settlers used the presence of beech trees as an indication of fertile soil, so often cut them down in pursuit of agriculture.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

White Oak

Quercus alba

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

typical oak leaf shape, 4-9 inches long, with 7-9 rounded lobes, no bristles on tips of lobes

Fall Color:

orange-yellow, dark red or purple

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

single or paired acorn, .5-1.5 inches long, cap with warty scales covering top third of nut

Flower:

male flowers in 1-3 inch catkins, females in spikes at leaf axils appearing in spring with leaves

Twigs:

slender, reddish-brown, and smooth

Bark:

light ash gray, somewhat scaly, variable

Height:

generally 50-80 feet

Life Span:

150-250 years

 

People love it because…

The wood is strong and impermeable to water so is used in furniture, flooring, and especially items holding liquid such as wine barrels and kegs.

White oak is an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall color.

White oak bark contains a high level of tannins and is used in herbal treatments as an astringent, antiseptic, and an anti-inflammatory.

 

Wildlife love it because…

It is an excellent food source. The acorns are a staple for wildlife including squirrels, blue jays, crows, red-headed woodpeckers, deer, turkey, quail, mice, chipmunks, ducks, and raccoons. Leaf buds also are eaten by several bird species, and all parts of the tree are a favorite food for deer.

 

Fun Fact

White oak was combined with other oak lumber to build the famous USS Constitution or “Old Ironsides”.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Sweet birch (also known as black birch)

Betula lenta

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

2.5-5 inches long, oval with heart-shaped base and irregular, doubly serrate edge

Fall Color:

bright yellow

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

small samara arranged in an upright, .5-1 inch long cone-like structure

Flower:

male flowers 3-4 inch long drooping catkins, female flowers upright, light green and .5-1 inches long

Twigs:

slender, shiny, reddish-brown with lenticels and zig-zag appearance; strong wintergreen odor and taste when scratched

Bark:

smooth reddish-brown on young trees, brownish-black later on, with prominent horizontal lenticels

Height:

50–70 feet

Life Span:

100-150 years

 

People love it because…

The color of the heavy and hard wood deepens with exposure to air, making it look like mahogany, which is why it is commonly used to make furniture and cabinets.

Sweet birch was once a source of commercial supply for oil of wintergreen.

Also known as methyl salicylate, this oil was historically used to alleviate headaches and reduce fever. Synthetic salicylic acid is the main ingredient in modern aspirin. It was also used as a flavoring.

 

Wildlife love it because…

Black birch is browsed by deer. The seeds, buds, and catkins are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals including rabbits and porcupines.

The flowers provide food for pollinators and it acts as a host plant for some moths and butterflies.

 

Fun Fact

Seedlings establish easily on old stumps or logs, leaving the birch roots exposed when the old log rots away.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Sourwood

Oxydendrum arboreum

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

4-7 inch long, oval-shaped leaf with rounded base and very finely serrated edge, shiny on top

Fall Color:

dark reddish-purple to scarlet, sometimes yellow

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

small gray capsule held upright on the drooping branches of the flower stalk, releasing 2 tiny seeds

Flower:

.25 inch white, urn-shaped flowers in drooping clusters appear in mid-summer

Twigs:

slender, yellow-green to red; buds are partly embedded in the twigs

Bark:

brown to grey with fissures, blocky when mature

Height:

generally 20-30 feet

Life Span:

typically about 80 years but may live up to 200 years

 

People love it because…

A very ornamental plant, the fragrant flowers will begin blooming 4 to 5 years after planting from seed and the leaves provide gorgeous fall color.

Honey made from the nectar of these flowers is highly prized for its color and flavor.

 

Wildlife love it because…

Deer browse sourwood twigs and leaves and the flowers are an important source of nectar for bees.

Natural hollows in these trees are refuge for climbing reptiles and amphibians, bats, and other small wildlife.

 

Fun Facts

Leaves and twigs have an acidic taste, hence the name sourwood. It gets its other common name, lily of the valley tree, because its flowers look similar to those of the lily of the valley plant.

A native tree of North America, the sourwood is one of the few endemic trees that is not found in other continents unless planted and has no related species.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Tuliptree (also known as Yellow Poplar)

Liriodendron tulipifera

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

flowersLeaves:

uniquely shaped, 3-6 inch, palmately lobed with truncated top, smooth leaf margin

Fall Color:

yellow to golden

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

an erect cone-like bundle of samaras, 2.5-3 inches long, each samara 1-1.5 inches long

Flower:

large (1-2inch) tulip-shaped flowers, yellow-green petals with an orange base appear in spring

Twigs:

stout, green to reddish-brown and smooth; large buds shaped like a duck’s bill

Bark:

smooth and greenish-grey when young, maturing to brown with deep and wide furrows

Height:

90-120 may reach 200’

Life Span:

100-150 years

 

People love it because…

Used as an ornamental if space allows due to its fast growth rate, straight trunk, and attractive flowers.

Valuable timber tree, used for plywood. Historically used to make lightweight canoes, railroad ties, and fence posts.

The abundant nectar can be made into poplar honey.

 

Wildlife love it because…

Flower nectar supports pollinators including hummingbirds.

The tree is a larval host plant for several species of butterflies including eastern tiger swallowtail.

Sprouts, buds, flowers, and seeds are food for both birds and mammals.

 

Fun Facts

This tree is the tallest of North American hardwoods frequently reaching heights of over 100 feet and historically reaching up to 200 feet.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Eastern Hemlock (also known as Canada Hemlock)

Tsuga canadensis 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

singular, .5-1 inch flat green needles with 2 white lines below

Fall Color:

no color change in fall, stays green

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

small cone less than 1 inch hangs down from tips of branches

Flower:

small yellow male and small light green female

Twigs:

slender, yellow-brown with bumps where needles attach

Bark:

reddish-brown to gray brown and thick with deep furrows at maturity

Height:

generally 40–80 feet

Life Span:

150-200 years but may live 600 years or more

 

People love it because…

Wood is important to the pulp and paper industry.

It is a popular ornamental tree, providing year-round color and shelter.

Hundreds of cultivars are known to exist.

The leaves, which are high in vitamin C, were used by Native Americans and settlers for tea. The tannin in the bark was used in leather production.

 

Wildlife love it because…

It provides winter and extreme weather coverage for many types of wildlife including birds and deer. It is an important thermal cover component along streams for amphibians and fish and it provides nest sites for birds, including many warbler species.

Red crossbills and small mammals eat the seeds. Ruffed grouse eat the buds and deer browse the foliage in winter.

 

Fun Facts

Eastern hemlock is the most shade tolerant of all trees and individuals may remain in the understory in natural stands for 25-400 years.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Red Maple

Acer rubrum

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

3-6 inches long and palmately 3-lobed (sometimes with 2 smaller additional lobes), coarsely serrate edges, red petiole

Fall Color:

red, sometimes orange or yellow

Branching:

opposite

Fruit/Nut:

red to brown, .5-1 inch double samara appearing in spring to summer

Flower:

small, .5 inch and red/orange, in clusters, appearing before leaves in spring; male and female often on separate trees

Twigs:

stems slender, red, and shiny with lenticels; buds are round and red, appearing in winter

Bark:

variable, light gray and smooth when young becoming more furrowed and scaly when mature

Height:

40-60 feet

Life Span:

generally 130 years but may live up to 300

People love it because…

People love it because…
The wood is used for small items and musical instruments.

It is a popular landscape tree due to fall color, relatively fast growth, and adaptability to a wide range of soils and conditions.

Pioneers made dark ink and dyes from a bark extract. Sap can also be made into syrup/sugar but much more is needed than from the sugar maple.

Wildlife love it because…

Flower nectar attracts bees and other pollinators.

Seeds are enjoyed by birds. The seeds, along with the buds, are a primary food source for gray squirrels in late winter and early spring and the sprouts are a favorite food for deer.

Cavities may be used by wood ducks and other cavity-nesting birds.

Fun Facts

Red maple boasts the greatest north–south range of any tree species living entirely in the eastern forests (Newfoundland to southern Florida).

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Fruit/Nut

Flower

Chestnut Oak

Quercus montana

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

4-8 inch long oval dark green leaves, wider just beyond the middle, with wavy shallow lobes and a pointed, but rounded tip

Fall Color:

yellow, gold

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

1-1.5 inch egg-shaped acorn, cap is thin with fused scales that cover 1/3 the length of the acorn and may fall off at maturity

Flower:

small, appearing in spring, male flowers are yellow-green drooping catkins, female flowers are spikes in the leaf axis

Twigs:

stout, brown, and smooth with lenticels

Bark:

light to dark brown, deeply and irregularly furrowed

Height:

generally 60-90 feet

Life Span:

300-400 years

 

People love it because…

The bark is high in tannins and was once used in the leather industry.

The wood is sold and used similar to white oak for construction, furniture, flooring, etc.

Due in part to a well-developed tap root, the chestnut oak can grow on steep, rocky hills where many other trees cannot survive.

 

Wildlife love it because…

The acorns are an important food source for songbirds, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, mice, deer, and other mammals. Birds may also use cavities in the tree for nesting.

It is a host plant for a variety of moth and butterfly caterpillars. 

Fun Facts

The leaves resemble those of American Chestnut, hence the name. (The leaves of the now rare American Chestnut have pointed tips on the lobes).

Welcome to the WVBG Tree Trail!

Along this self-guided route, you will find 11 marked trees. A map showing the location of each tree is available below. For each of the trees along the trail, there is corresponding information that can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the tree itself, or clicking the appropriate button below.  We hope you enjoy learning about some of our resident trees at the Garden.

See the Map
#1

Northern Red Oak

#2

Shagbark Hickory

#3

Black Gum

#4

American Beech

#5

White Oak

#6

Sweet Birch

#7

Sourwood

#8

Tuliptree

#9

Eastern Hemlock

#10

Red Maple

#11

Chestnut Oak

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Northern Red Oak

Quercus rubra

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

4-9 inches long, oblong shape with 7-11 bristle-tipped lobes, regular U-shaped sinuses extending about halfway to the midrib, tufts of hair on veins on underside

Fall Color:

red to brown

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

acorn solitary or paired, .5-1 inch long, with a flat, thick, saucer-like cap

Flower:

blooms April-May; male flower is a green catkin, 1-4” long, composed of many tiny flowers, female flowers are more reddish-green and appear as small slender spikes in the axils of new growth 

Twigs:

stout and somewhat fuzzy

Bark:

smooth and gray on young stems, breaking up and becoming shaggy with large plates curving away from the trunk

Height:

generally 40–80 feet

Life Span:

150-200 years

 

People love it because…

Red oak was historically and still is a very important timber tree due to the strength and beauty of its wood. The wood is used in flooring, furniture, and more.

It is also a very important ornamental tree. One of its many special features is that it is easier than most trees to transplant and it can tolerate the conditions of cities and towns amazingly well. It is valued for the shade it provides, its brilliant fall colors, and its high degree of safety thanks to the superior strength of its wood.

Wildlife love it because…

Red oak acorns are eaten by blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, small rodents, deer, raccoons, and black bears. Deer also browse the buds and twigs in wintertime.

Fun Fact

Years when the oak trees collectively produce many acorns (every 2-5), are generally followed by an increase in wildlife species that feed on them.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

long (8-14 inches) pinnately compound leaf with 5 (rarely 7), slightly hairy leaflets; 3 leaflets at end larger than the side leaflets, leaflets are widest at the middle and pointed at the tip

Fall Color:

golden yellow

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

large (1-1.5 inches) nut with thick, green, 4-ribbed outer shell turning brown at maturity

Flower:

tiny male flowers in catkins and female flowers in spikes emerge before leaves

Twigs:

stout and somewhat fuzzy

Bark:

smooth and gray on young stems, breaking up and becoming shaggy with large plates curving away from the trunk

Height:

generally 40–80 feet

Life Span:

150-200 years

 

People love it because…

The heavy, strong, shock-resistant wood is used for bows, furniture, flooring, tools, ladder rungs, and drum sticks.

It makes excellent firewood and is used to smoke meat for “hickory smoked” flavor.

Its sweet nut, similar to pecan, is edible. 

 

Wildlife love it because…

Black bears, foxes, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and a number of birds enjoy the nuts.

 

Fun Fact

A yellow dye can be made from the inner bark.

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Black Gum

(also known as Black Tupelo)

Nyssa sylvatica

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

Oblong (2-5 inches long), wider toward the pointed tip than at the base, shiny above, leaf edges smooth

Fall Color:

ranges from pastels in the shade to brilliant red in the open

Branching:

alternate, horizontal from trunk

Fruit/Nut:

clusters of 4-5 small (.5 inch) purple, oval shaped drupes (“berries”)

 

Flower:

Small, greenish-white flowers appear in April – May during leaf set, male and female flowers on different trees

 

Twigs:

slender, leaf scar at base of buds resembling a monkey face

Bark:

gray and smooth on young trees, blocky on older trees resembling alligator hide

Height:

Generally 30-70’

Life Span:

50-100 years

 

People love it because…

Its splendid fall colors make it a desirable landscape tree.

Honey made from the nectar of tupelo flowers is light and mild-tasting. In Florida, tupelo honey production is a million-dollar a year business.

 

Wildlife love it because…

Flowers serve as an important source of nectar for pollinators in spring.

Its young sprouts are eaten by deer. The fruits are enjoyed by thrushes and other songbirds, wild turkeys, black bear, foxes, raccoons and opossums from August through October. It is one of the most important food sources for fall songbird migration.

 

Fun Fact

Often found near streams or wetlands, it’s Latin name Nyssa refers to a water-loving nymph from Greek mythology, and sylvatica means “of the woods”.

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

American beech

Fagus grandifolia

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

oval leaves, 2-5 inches long with sharp incurved teeth. Strong veins run parallel to each other from mid-vein to leaf edge

Fall Color:

yellow to bronze, dead leaves often stay on tree through winter

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

two pyramidal shaped nuts enclosed in a prickly bur, .5- 1 inches

 

Flower:

male flowers are small and yellow and clustered together into ball-like structures; female flowers are even smaller with reddish-bordered scales found on the ends of new twig growth

 

Twigs:

slender with slender lance-shaped, pointed buds

Bark:

gray and smooth, even at maturity

Height:

generally 50–80 feet

Life Span:

300-400 years

 

People love it because…

Its split-resistant wood is used for furniture and flooring as well as firewood.

The beautiful bark, golden fall color, shade-producing canopy, and longevity make it a valuable landscape tree.

Beech nuts (ground into a flour) and the inner bark served as a food source for Native Americans; early settlers roasted the nuts like coffee.

 

Wildlife love it because…

The nuts are preferred by squirrels, chipmunks, bears, deer, grouse, turkeys, and others.

Studies have shown that when beech nut production is high, black bears have more cubs because the high fat content the mothers gain from the nuts translates to more milk for young.

 

Fun Fact

 Settlers used the presence of beech trees as an indication of fertile soil, so often cut them down in pursuit of agriculture.

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

White Oak

Quercus alba

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

typical oak leaf shape, 4-9 inches long, with 7-9 rounded lobes, no bristles on tips of lobes

Fall Color:

orange-yellow, dark red or purple

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

single or paired acorn, .5-1.5 inches long, cap with warty scales covering top third of nut

 

Flower:

male flowers in 1-3 inch catkins, females in spikes at leaf axils appearing in spring with leaves

 

Twigs:

slender, reddish-brown, and smooth

Bark:

light ash gray, somewhat scaly, variable

Height:

generally 50-80 feet

Life Span:

150-250 years

 

People love it because…

The wood is strong and impermeable to water so is used in furniture, flooring, and especially items holding liquid such as wine barrels and kegs.

White oak is an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall color.

White oak bark contains a high level of tannins and is used in herbal treatments as an astringent, antiseptic, and an anti-inflammatory.

 

Wildlife love it because…

It is an excellent food source. The acorns are a staple for wildlife including squirrels, blue jays, crows, red-headed woodpeckers, deer, turkey, quail, mice, chipmunks, ducks and raccoons. Leaf buds also are eaten by several bird species, and all parts of the tree are a favorite food for deer.

 

Fun Fact

White oak was combined with other oak lumber to build the famous USS Constitution or “Old Ironsides”. 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Sweet birch

(also known as black birch)

Betula lenta

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

2.5-5 inches long, oval with heart shaped-base and irregular, doubly serrate edge

Fall Color:

bright yellow

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

small samara arranged in an upright, .5-1 inch long cone-like structure

 

 

Flower:

male flowers 3-4 inch long drooping catkins, female flowers upright, light green and .5-1 inchets long

 

Twigs:

slender, shiny, reddish-brown with lenticels and zig-zag appearance; strong wintergreen odor and taste when scratched

Bark:

smooth reddish-brown on young trees, brownish-black later on, with prominent horizontal lenticels

Height:

50–70 feet

Life Span:

100-150 years

 

People love it because…

The color of the heavy and hard wood deepens with exposure to air, making it look like mahogany, which is why it is commonly used to make furniture and cabinets.

Sweet birch was once a source of commercial supply for oil of wintergreen.

Also known as methyl salicylate, this oil was historically used to alleviate headaches and reduce fever. Synthetic salicylic acid is the main ingredient in modern aspirin. It was also used as a flavoring.

 

Wildlife love it because…

Black birch is browsed by deer. The seeds, buds, and catkins are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals including rabbits and porcupine.

The flowers provide food for pollinators and it acts as a host plant for some moths and butterflies.

 

Fun Fact

Seedlings establish easily on old stumps or logs, leaving the birch roots exposed when the old log rots away.

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Sourwood

Oxydendrum arboreum

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

4-7 inch long, oval-shaped leaf with rounded base and very finely serrated edge, shiny on top

Fall Color:

dark reddish-purple to scarlet, sometimes yellow

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

small gray capsule held upright on the drooping branches of the flower stalk, releasing 2 tiny seeds

Flower:

.25 inch white, urn-shaped flowers in drooping clusters appear in mid-summer

Twigs:

slender, yellow-green to red; buds are partly embedded in the twigs

Bark:

brown to grey with fissures, blocky when mature

Height:

generally 20-30 feet

Life Span:

typically about 80 years but may live up to 200 years

People love it because…

A very ornamental plant, the fragrant flowers will begin blooming 4 to 5 years after planting from seed and the leaves provide gorgeous fall color.

Honey made from the nectar of these flowers is highly prized for its color and flavor.

 

Wildlife love it because…

Deer browse sourwood twigs and leaves and the flowers are an important source of nectar for bees.

Natural hollows in these trees are refuge for climbing reptiles and amphibians, bats, and other small wildlife.

 

Fun Facts

Leaves and twigs have an acidic taste, hence the name sourwood. It gets its other common name, lily of the valley tree, because its flowers look similar to those of the lily of the valley plant.

A native tree of North America, the sourwood is one of the few endemic trees that is not found in other continents unless planted and has no related species.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Tuliptree

(also known as Yellow Poplar)

Liriodendron tulipifera

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

uniquely shaped, 3-6 inch, palmately lobed with truncated top, smooth leaf margin

Fall Color:

yellow to golden

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

an erect cone-like bundle of samaras, 2.5-3 inches long, each samara 1-1.5 inches long

Flower:

large (1-2inch) tulip-shaped flowers, yellow-green petals with an orange base appear in spring

Twigs:

stout, green to reddish-brown and smooth; large buds shaped like a duck’s bill

Bark:

smooth and greenish grey when young, maturing to brown with deep and wide furrows

Height:

90-120 may reach 200’

Life Span:

100-150 years

 

People love it because…

Used as an ornamental if space allows due to its fast growth rate, straight trunk, and attractive flowers.

Valuable timber tree, used for plywood. Historically used to make lightweight canoes, railroad ties, and fence posts.

The abundant nectar can be made into poplar honey. 

 

Wildlife love it because…

Flower nectar supports pollinators including hummingbirds.

The tree is a larval host plant for several species of butterflies including eastern tiger swallowtail.

Sprouts, buds, flowers, and seeds are food for both birds and mammals. 

 

Fun Facts

This tree is the tallest of North American hardwoods frequently reaching heights of over 100 feet and historically reaching up to 200 feet.

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Eastern Hemlock

(also known as Canada Hemlock)

Tsuga canadensis

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

singular, .5-1 inch flat green needles with 2 white lines below

Fall Color:

no color change in fall, stays green

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

small cone less than 1 inch hangs down from tips of branches

Flower:

small yellow male and small light green female

Twigs:

slender, yellow-brown with bumps where needles attach

Bark:

reddish-brown to gray brown and thick with deep furrows at maturity

Height:

generally 40–80 feet

Life Span:

150-200 years but may live 600 years or more

 

People love it because…

Wood is important to the pulp and paper industry.

It is a popular ornamental tree, providing year-round color and shelter.

Hundreds of cultivars are known to exist.

The leaves, which are high in vitamin C, were used by Native Americans and settlers for tea. The tannin in the bark was used in leather production.

 

Wildlife love it because…

It provides winter and extreme weather coverage for many types of wildlife including birds and deer. It is an important thermal cover component along streams for amphibians and fish and it provides nest sites for birds, including many warbler species.

Red crossbills and small mammals eat the seeds. Ruffed grouse eat the buds and deer browse the foliage in winter.

 

Fun Facts

Eastern hemlock is the most shade tolerant of all trees and individuals may remain in the understory in natural stands for 25-400 years.

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Red Maple

Acer rubrum

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

3-6 inches long and palmately 3-lobed (sometimes with 2 smaller additional lobes), coarsely serrate edges, red petiole

Fall Color:

red, sometimes orange or yellow

Branching:

opposite

Fruit/Nut:

red to brown, .5-1 inch double samara appearing in spring to summer

Flower:

small, .5 inch and red/orange, in clusters, appearing before leaves in spring; male and female often on separate trees

Twigs:

stems slender, red, and shiny with lenticels; buds are round and red, appearing in winter

Bark:

variable, light gray and smooth when young becoming more furrowed and scaly when mature

Height:

40-60 feet

Life Span:

generally 130 years but may live up to 300

People love it because…

The wood is used for small items and musical instruments.

It is a popular landscape tree due to fall color, relatively fast growth, and adaptability to a wide range of soils and conditions.

Pioneers made dark ink and dyes from a bark extract. Sap can also be made into syrup/sugar but much more is needed than from the sugar maple.

Wildlife love it because…

Flower nectar attracts bees and other pollinators.

Seeds are enjoyed by birds. The seeds, along with the buds, are a primary food source for gray squirrels in late winter and early spring and the sprouts are a favorite food for deer.

Cavities may be used by wood ducks and other cavity-nesting birds.

Fun Facts

Red maple boasts the greatest north–south range of any tree species living entirely in the eastern forests (Newfoundland to southern Florida).

 

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Chestnut Oak

Quercus montana

WVBG Tree Trail Red Oak

Leaves:

4-8 inch long oval dark green leaves, wider just beyond the middle, with wavy shallow lobes and a pointed, but rounded tip

Fall Color:

yellow, gold

Branching:

alternate

Fruit/Nut:

1-1.5 inch egg-shaped acorn, cap is thin with fused scales that cover 1/3 the length of the acorn and may fall off at maturity

Flower:

small, appearing in spring, male flowers are yellow-green drooping catkins, female flowers are spikes in the leaf axis

Twigs:

stout, brown, and smooth with lenticels

Bark:

light to dark brown, deeply and irregularly furrowed

Height:

generally 60-90 feet

Life Span:

300-400 years

 

People love it because…

The bark is high in tannins and was once used in the leather industry.

The wood is sold and used similar to white oak for construction, furniture, flooring, etc.

Due in part to a well-developed tap root, the chestnut oak can grow on steep, rocky hills where many other trees cannot survive.

 

Wildlife love it because…

The acorns are an important food source for songbirds, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, mice, deer, and other mammals. Birds may also use cavities in the tree for nesting.

It is a host plant for a variety of moth and butterfly caterpillars. 

Fun Facts

The leaves resemble those of American Chestnut, hence the name. (The leaves of the now rare American Chestnut have pointed tips on the lobes).

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