Albert Francis Blakeslee.

Trees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification online

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(see upper part of bark picture). The habit photograph was taken
from a specimen of the native form, grown in the Arnold Aboretum.
The American Plum, as growing wild, closely resembles the Canada
Plum and by some this latter species is considered merely a variety
of the former. The material examined shows smaller twigs than the
Canada Plum with buds generally under 4 mm. long. The most northern
station has been reported to be along the slopes of Graylock, Mass.
In Connecticut it is reported as rare in the southern district, becoming
occasional northward.


Prunus domestica L.
Illustrations on page 376.

The European Plum has a lighter bark than the other two types
without conspicuous horizontal lenticels, with stout, upright, long
shoots and an upright habit of growth.


Prunus triflora Roxbg.
Illustrations on page 377.

The Japanese Plum has a very dark deeply ridged bark without
conspicuous lenticels. The long shoots are rather slender and bright
colored and stout fruit spurs are numerous.

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European Plum



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Japanese Plum



Prunus Persica (L.) Stokes.
Amygdalus Persica L.

HABIT— A small tree g-enerally under 20 ft. in lieight with a trunk
diameter of about 6 inches; trunk low with spreadinj:^- limbs and ascend-
ing- branchlets forming a low broad rounded head.

BARK — Dark reddish-brown, smooth, with prominent horizontally-
elongated lenticels, becoming roughened and scaly at base.

TWIGS — Of medium thickness, smooth and very shiny, greenish to
bright reddish-purple, often green below and red abave toward the light,
becoming redder as spring approaches; on rapidly grown shoots branches
sometimes produced the same season; crushed twigs with odor and taste
of bitter almonds. LENTICELS — very numerous and very minute pale
dots, in reality stomata, best seen with hand-lens and on reddish
portions of twigs, only part of them elongating with age. PITH — rather
wide, often somewhat 5-pointed, whitish or tinged with brown.

liEAF-SCARS — Alternate, more than 2-ranked, elliptical to semi-
oval, strongly raised, often more or less decurrent. STIPULE-SCARS —
behind and above leaf-scars or raised on persistent bases of stipules,
often indistinct and readily confused with broken bud-scales; often
a small raised leaf-scar above and on either side of the main leaf-scar
in connection with the collateral buds when these are present. BUNDLE-
SCARS — 3, often inconspicuous.

BUDS — Ovate, rounded at apex or blunt-pointed, generally under 5
mm. long, densely pale-woolly at least toward apex and within, more
or less appressed, 1 or 2 collateral buds often present at a node —
these generally stout flower buds in sharp contrast to the narrower
leaf bud between (in the group of three buds on twig in plate all are
flower buds); terminal bud present often with one or more lateral
buds adjacent. BUD-SCALES — reddish-brown, often with ragged edges
and generally indistinct and covered with grayish wool.

FRUIT — A large downy drupe with an irregularly pitted stone.

COMPARISONS — The dense woolliness of its stout buds and the very
numerous and extremely minute pale dots on its highly colored and
polished twigs readily distinguish the Peach from its near relatives.

DISTRIBUTION — A native of Asia, cultivated in this country for its
fruit, naturalized throughout the greater portion of the northern states
and spontaneous in waste places and on road-sides in the northern

-WOOD — Rather soft, close-grained and light brown. The seeds
develop considerable hydrocyanic acid and are used in the manufacture
of a substitute for oil of bitter almonds.



Coffee Nut, Coffee Bean, Nicker Tree, Mahogany.

Gymnocladus dioica (L.) Koch.
G. canadensis Lam.

HABIT — A medium sized tree 30-60 ft. in height, trunk generally soon
dividing into 3 or 4 slightly spreading limbs or less frequently with a
continuous trunk, forming a narrow obovate head with thick branchlets
devoid of spray; the large stout pods often remaining on tree through-
out the winter.

BARK — Dark brown, characteristically roughened with thin tortuous
recurved scale-like ridges which are distinct even upon comparatively
young branches.

TAVIGS — Very stout, more or less contorted, blunt, brown or slightly
greenish, generally white-crusted, smooth or often velvety-downy.
LENTICELS — rather numerous, large, generally more conspicuous on
second year's growth. PITH — wide, salmon-pink to brown.

LEAF-SCARS — Alternate, more than 2-ranked, large, pale, raised,
broadly heart-shaped. STIPULE-SCARS — absent. BUNDLE-SCARS—
large, raised, generally 3-5.

BUDS — Terminal bud absent, lateral buds small, bronze, silky, downy,
partially sunken, scarcely projecting beyond the surface of the twig,
surrounded by an incurved downy rim of the bark; axillary bud in the
depression at top of leaf-scar, one or sometimes 2 superposed buds pres-
ent. BUD-SCALES — sometimes 2 lateral scales visible.

FRUIT — A reddish-brown, large, broad, flat, oblong, abruptly pointed
pod, 4-10 inches long by li/^-2 inches wide, frequently remaining un-
opened on tree during winter, generally somewhat larger than shown
in the photograph. Seed, dark brown, flattish.

C03IPARIS0NS — A superficial glance at the habit of the Kentucky
Coffee Tree might lead one to mistake its stout branchlets for those of
the Ailanthus. Its curious narrow ridged bark, however, should at
once prevent any confusion between the two trees. The silky bronze
superposed buds partially sunken in downy dimples of the bark in
connection with the stout twigs and salmon-colored pith are sufl^cient
characters to distinguish this tree from all other forms.

DISTRIBUTION — Not native in New England but frequently cultivated
as an ornamental tree; grows wild in rich deep soil from central New
York and southern Minnesota southward to Tennessee and Oklahoma.

WOOD — Heavy, though not hard, strong, coarse-grained, very durable
in contact with soil, rich light brown tinged with red, with thin lighter
colored sapwood of 5-6 layers of annual growth; it takes a fine polish
and is occasionally used in cabinet-making and for fence-posts, rails
and in construction. Its seeds were formerly used as a substitute
for coffee.

Kentucky Coffee Tree


Three-thorned Acacia, Honey Shucks, Sweet Locust, Thorn


Gleditsia triacanthus L. (Sometimes called Gleditschia.)

HABIT — A medium sized tree 40-60 ft. in. height. with a trunk diameter
of 1-3 ft.; trunk commonly short dividing into a number of slightly
spreading limbs, with somewhat drooping lateral branches, forming
a broad rounded obovate or flat-topped head. Seen against the sky
the smaller branches appear zigzag with characteristic swellings at
the nodes often surmounted with thorns and rudimentary branchlets
developed from the extra buds. (See branches at side of trunk in
bark picture.)

BARK — Grayish-brown darkening with age, on young trunks and
branches smooth, with raised oblong lenticels, on older trunks more
or less roughened into broad ridges with firm, persistent recurved edges.
Some trunks have bark practically smooth except for a few deep fissures;
some trunks are thickly fringed with dense masses of long branched
spines, while others are free from them.

TWIGS — Slender, shining, smooth, reddish to greenish-brown, often
light mottled or streaked, zigzag with enlarged nodes; a large branched
thorn with pale reddish-brown pith, discontinuous with that of the
stem, generally present above node. LENTICELS — minute, scattered,
becoming conspicuous brown raised dots on older growth. PITH —
thick, whitish.

LEAP-SCARS — Alternate, generally more than 2-ranked, V-shaped
with upper margins and apex generally swollen. STIPULE-SCARS
— absent or inconspicuous. BUNDLE-SCARS — 3, rather inconspicuous.

BUDS — Terminal bud absent, the lateral buds small, generally about
5 more or less distinct at a node, separated one above the other,
decreasing in size from above downward, the uppermost a superposed
smooth scaly bud breaking through the bark, the next also scaly
covered by or breaking through the leaf-scar, the lower buds without
scales, covered by bark and seen as minute green dots in a longitudinal
section of twig; buds often continue to be produced at the nodes for
several years especially when the twigs aie trimmed as in hedges and
give rise to a bunch of more or less rudimentary branches.

FRUIT — A long, flat, reddish-brown, more or less twisted, indehiscent
pod 10 to 18 inches long, containing numerous flat oval seeds about
10 mm. long. The photograph of the fruit is reduced to about % nat-
ural size.

COMPARISONS — The Honey Locust is at once distinguished from the
various other thorny species such as the Hawthorn and Common Locust
by its large branched thorns situated above the leaf-scar. When the
thorns are absent, as is sometimes the case, the vertical row of separated
smooth buds, the upper scaly and superposed, the lower hidden by
the bark, are sufficient points of distinction.

DISTRIBUTION — In its native habitat growing in a variety of soils;
rich woods, mountain sides, sterile plains. Southern Ontario; spreading
by seed southward; indigenous along the western slopes of the Al-
leghanies in Pennsylvania; south to Georgia and Alabama; west from
western New York through southern Ontario and Michigan to Nebraska,
Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Not native, but frequently planted as an orna-
mental tree or for hedges and escaped from cultivation; Maine — young
trees in the southern sections said to have been produced from self-
sown seed; New Hampshire and Vermont — introduced; Massachusetts — •
occasional; Connecticut — rare, occasional or local; Rhode Island — intro-
duced and fully at home. Probably sparingly naturalized in many other
places in New England.

WOOD — Hard, strong, coarse-grained, very durable in contact with
soils, red or bright red-brown, with thin, pale sapwood of 10-12 layers
of annual growth; largely used for fence posts and rails, for the hubs
of wheels and in construction.

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Honey Locust


Judas Tree.

Cercis canadensis L.

- HABIT — A small tree up to 40 ft. in height though generally smaller,
developing an upright or a low, broad, irregular head.

BARK — Reddish-brown to almost black, somewhat ridged and scaly.

TAVIGS — Slender, dark reddish-brown, smooth, more or less zigzig.
LENTICELS — very numerous, minute. PITH — especially of older growth,
generally with reddish longitudinal streaks.

L.EAF-SCARS — Alternate, 2-ranked, small, slightly raised, inversely
triangular, with short, decurrent, spreading, more or less evident ridge
from outer edges. STIPULE-SCARS — absent. BUNDLE-SCARS— 3,

BUDS — Terminal bud absent, lateral buds small, 3 mm. long, or
generally much smaller, blunt, dark purplish red, somewhat flattened
and appressed, one or more superposed buds often present the upper-
most the largest; flower buds conspicuously present on older wood
often at the base of a branch (see plate) or even on the trunk itself.
BUD-SCALES — overlapping, somewhat hairy on the edges, about 2
visible to a leaf bud, several to a flower bud.

FRUIT — A flat pod about 3 inches long, with small compressed

COMPARISONS — The stout purplish flower buds below the insertion
of the branches on the old wood will serve to identify this small tree.
The reddish streaks in the older pith seem to be a constant character
so far as investigated and if so will be a" useful mark of distinction.

DISTRIBUTION — Not native to New England but frequently planted
as an ornamental tree. It grows native along the borders of streams
and rich bottom land from Ontario to New Jersey south to Florida and
west to Minnesota and Arkansas.

W^OOD — Heavy, hard, not strong, close-grained, rich dark brown
tinged with red, with thin lighter colored sapwood of 8-10 layers of
annual growth; of little commercial importance.




Virgilia, Gopher Wood.
Cladrastis lutea (Mx. f.) Koch.

HABIT — A small tree under 50 ft. in height with trunk diameter of
1-2 ft.; trunk generally dividing low down into several slightly
spreading limbs with numerous slender more or less zigzag branches,
the lower often strongly declined, forming a broad rounded head.

BARK — Thin, gray to light brown, in general smooth, resembling
bark of the Beech with slight protuberances or ridges and horizontal

TAVIGS — Rather slender, more or less zigzag, brittle, smooth bright
reddish-brown, covered often by a grayish skin, odor and taste resembl-
ing that of a raw dried pea or bean, LENTICELS — pale, scattered,
generally conspicuous. PITH — wide, white, round in section.

LEAF-SCARS — Alternate, 2-ranked, or more than 2-ranked, raised,
pale yellow, forming a V-shaped collar of almost uniform diameter
nearly encircling the bud. STIPULE-SCARS — absent. BUNDLE-SCARS
— typically 5 (4-9) generally regularly spaced and raised or at times
some of the five indistinct or lacking.

1*UDS — Terminal bud absent, lateral buds naked, superposed, 3-4,
the uppermost the largest and generally alone developing, flattened,
closely packed together to form a pointed bud-like hairy cone generally
under 5 mm. long, nearly surrounded by the leaf-scar. BUD-SCALES — •
absent, their place taken by the densely hairy immature leaves.

FRUIT — A smooth flat margined pod 5-10 cm. long, containing a few
small oblong compressed seeds.

COMPARISONS — The ' Yellow Wood is well characterized by its
beech-like bark, its slender twigs, and its superposed hairy buds closely
clustered into a bud-like cone and practically surrounded by the leaf-
scar and is therefore scarcely to be confused with any other tree.

DISTRIBUTION — In rich soil, limestone ridges and often along
mountain streams, rare and local. Western North Carolina, Kentucky,
Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri; often cultivated in New England as an
ornamental tree.

"WOOD — Heavy, very hard, strong and close-grained, with a smooth,
satiny surface, bright, clear yellow changing to light brown on ex-
posure, with thin nearly white sapwood; used for fuel, occasionally for
gun stocks and yielding a clear yellow dye.

Yellow Wood


Black, Yellow or White Locust, Locust, Acacia.

Robinia Pseudo-Acacia L.

HABIT — Generally a small tree 20-35 ft. or occasionally 50-75 ft. in
height with a trunk diameter of eight 'inches to 2% ft.; trunk erect or
inclined, frequently dividing into a number of ascending limbs with
slender scraggly branches forming a narrow oblong open head; often
spreading by underground stems and forming thickets of small trees.
A rapidly growing tree but short lived and subject to the attacks of

BARK — Rough even on young trunks, dark reddish to yellowish-
brown, becoming deeply furrowed into rounded ridges, not flaky.

TAVIGS — Rather slender, brittle, often zigzag, light reddish to green-
ish-brown, smooth or nearly so, more or less angled with decurrent
ridges from base and outer angles of leaf-scars, generally spiny with
paired stipular prickles at nodes. LENTICELS — pale, scattered. PITH
— wide, more or less angled.

L.EAF-SCARS — Alternate, more than 2-ranked, generally large and
conspicuous, inversely triangvilar to pentagonal, raised, covering the
buds. STIPULES — in the form of prickles, sometimes poorly developed
or entirely lacking. BUNDLE-SCARS— 3.

BUDS — Terminal bud absent; lateral buds minute, rusty-downy, 3-4
superposed, generally close together, enclosed in a rusty-downy cavity
below the leaf-scar, which cracks between the bundle-scars at the
development of a branch usually from the uppermost bud exposing the
long rusty hairs attached to under side of the three persistent lobes
of the leaf-scar; on rapidly grown shoots, the uppermost bud often
develops into a branch the first season, which may be rudimentary and
deciduous, leaving a small scar above leaf-scar.

FRUIT — A dark brown flat pod, 5-10 cm. long, containing 4-8 small
brown mottled fiattish seeds, persistent on the tree throughout the

COMPARISONS — The paired prickles at the nodes form the most
striking character of the Common Locust but since they are absent on
some twigs and entirely lacking on certain varieties, the hidden, closely-
packed downy buds must be taken as the chief distinguishing features.
They separate the Common Locust from the Honey Locust when the
characteristic branched thorns are not present on the latter species. The
Clammy Locust IRobinia viscosa Vent.] is a small southern tree fre-
quently cultivated and established at many points throughout New
England. It has the general characters of the Common Locust but
the stipular prickles are less well developed and its twigs are covered
with a sticky glandular coating. The Bristly Locust IRoMnia hispida
L.] is a mere shrub with twigs beset with bristly hairs but generally
without stipular prickles. The Prickly Ash or Toothache Tree
[Zanthoxylon americanum L.], a shrub occurring throughout New Eng-
land, resembles the Locust in its stipular prickles (lower twig in plate).
It is readily distinguished from the Locusts, however, by the red downy
exposed clustered buds, the presence of a terminal bud and the pun-
gent flavor of its twigs.

DISTRIBUTION — In its native habitat growing upon mountain slopes,
along the borders of forests, in rich soils. Naturalized from Nova
Scotia to Ontario. Native from southern Pennsylvania along the
mountains to Georgia; west to Iowa and southward. Formerly much
planted as an ornamental and timber tree; more cultivated in Europe
than any other American tree.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Maine — thoroughly at home, forming wooded
banks along streams; New Hampshire — abundant enough to be reel ->ned
among the valuable timber trees; Vermont — escaped from cultivation in
many places; Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island — common in
patches and thickets and along the roadsides and fences.

W'OOD — Heavy, exceedingly hard and strong, close-grained, very
durable in contact with the soil, brown or rarely light green, witn
pale yellow sapwood of two or three layers of annual growth; exten-
sively used in shipbuilding for all sorts of posts, in construction and
turner.v; preferred for tree nails and valued as fuel.









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Common- Locust
Prickly Ash (lower twig only)



Tree of Heaven, Chinese Sumach.

Ailanthus glandulosa Desf.

HABIT — A small to good sized tree 50-75 ft. in height with a trunk
diameter of 2-3 ft.; forming a wide flat-topped head with stout branch-
lets devoid of spray; freely sprouting from the roots; the female trees
which are more frequently planted than the male often retaining the
clusters of winged fruit throughout the winter.

BARK — Grayish, slightly roughened with fine light colored longitu-
dinal streaks in striking contrast to the darker background.

TWIGS — Stout, 3'ellowish to reddish-brown covered with very short
fine velvety down, or smooth, rather rank-smelling when crushed, older
twigs often shedding the down in the form of a thin skin and exposing
very fine light longitudinal striations below. LENTICELS — scattered,
pale, somewhat longitudinally elongated becoming on older growth con-
spicuous more or less diamond-shaped cracks. PITH — wide, chocolate

IjEAF-SCARS — Alternate, more than 2-ranked, large, conspicuous
heart-shaped. STIPULE-SCARS— absent. BUNDLE-SCARS— conspicu-
ous, often compound or curved, generally under a dozen in number,
forming a curved line.

BUDS — Terminal bud absent, lateral buds relatively small, generally
under 4 mm. long, half-spherical, reddish-brown, downy. BUD-SCALES
— thick, the 2 opposite lateral scales generally alone showing.

FRUIT — About 4 cm. long, winged, spirally twisted, the seed in the
center borne in conspicuous clusters which frequently remain on tree
during winter. The species is dioecious, there being male trees bear-
ing only staminate flowers and hence producing no fruit and female
trees bearing only pistillate flowers and producing fruit. Owing to
the vile smelling character of the staminate flowers, the male trees are
now seldom planted.

COMPARISONS — The Ailanthus in its stout twigs resembles somewhat
the Kentucky Coffee Tree but its buds are solitary and not sunken, its
pith is brown rather than salmon-colored and its bark is not ridged as
is the bark of the Kentucky Coffee Tree. From the stout-twigged
Black Walnut and Butternut it is distinguished by its solitary buds
and continuous pith; from the Staghorn and Smooth Sumachs by its
broad leaf-scars.

DISTRIBUTION — A native of China sparsely and locally naturalized
in southern Ontario, New England and southward; a very rapid grower,
thriving under the most unfavorable conditions of city existence.

WOOD — Light, brownish-yellow, with lighter sapwood, soft, weak,
rather open-grained; in Europe used in the manufacture of woodeaware
and charcoal, little used in this country.





Rhus typhina L.

R. hirta (L.) Sudw.

(Left hand twig- and lower habit picture in plate)

tr,^;l HT.~:;"ttf i"^ or sman tree rarely over 25 ft. in height with a
trunk diameter less than a foot; making a straggling growth with
forked branching forming a flat head with conspicuous red fruit clusters
generally present and stout velvety branchlets; sprouting abundantly
::rom the roots and thus forming broad thickets.

BARK — Thin, dark brown, smooth or in older trees more or less

TWIGS— Stout, conspicuously covered with long velvety olive brown
cO almost black hairs, whence the common name from resemblance to
a stags antlers in the "velvet"; the tips often killed back several
^"Sil^^^t>y the frost; cut twig exuding a copious white milky .juice
l^li-NllCl^Lfe — conspicuous except as covered by the hairs, orange
colored, becoming laterally enlarged rough dots on older growth. PITH
— wide, yellowish brown.

LEAF-SCARS — Alternate, more than 2-ranked, deeply V-shaped,
almost encircling the bud. STIPULE-SCARS— absent. BUNDLE-SCARS
— scattered or frequently arranged in 3 groups, generally not con-

BUDS — Terminal buds absent, lateral buds conical, densely coated
with long rusty hairs.

FRUIT — In rather compact, erect, cone-like clusters; individual fruits,
drupes about 4 mm. in diameter, coated with acid-tasting red hairs and
enclosing a small bony-covered seed. It is said that a good lemonade or
"sumachade" may be made by extracting the acid from the drupes
with water and sweetening to taste. The conspicuous red fruiting
clusters are persistent throughout the winter but, since the species
tends to be dioecious, are not borne by all trees.

COMPARISOIVS — A somewhat smaller form, the Smooth Sumach
[Rhus glabra L.], closely resembles the Staghorn Sumach in habit, twig
and fruit characters, but the twigs are smooth (except the fruit stalks
which may be downy) and generally are covered with a bloom. (See
twig on right and upper habit picture in plate.) The Dwarf Sumach

Online LibraryAlbert Francis BlakesleeTrees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification → online text (page 27 of 31)