Allegheny Outdoor Adventures Bradford, PA

The trees found at Marilla

The Giants of Marilla

With the opening of the new "Marilla Spring Trail" in Bradford, there is a new "discovery" of sorts. Undoubtedly, for years, some locals knew they were there. But, with many people hiking the new Marilla Spring Trail, many new people are discovering these Old Growth ancient trees "popping up" all over the place!

How did they get there? How old are they? Why weren't they cut? All good questions.

First of all, it seems because of the terrain, being rocky and very wet and soft, nobody wanted to, OR COULDN'T, cut these giants.

I am not by any stretch, a "tree expert", but I have been shown how to identify "old trees", by tree experts. I have been to many old growth forests in the eastern US, and these trees really measure up!

My best guess is that some are 300 to 350 years old and maybe older! This is quite a find for Bradford considering the fact that nearly every hill around was stripped bare, down to the dirt, around the turn of the century (the last one!). These trees were fortunate enough to have grown in the very secluded (and scenic) "hollow" if you will, tucked away where nobody noticed. Or like I said before, the ground was just too rocky and soft to be able to skid these giants out of where they grow. Even today with modern equipment, it would be quite a task.

The "Giants of Marilla" start near the road at the western end of the Marilla Reservoir off West Washington Street, or (Rt. 346 to you non-locals). If you hike the Marilla Reservoir Trail, you will see them from the "Horns Passage" bridge, where it crosses "Little Marilla Creek". You can stand on the bridge and look upstream and view quite a few of these majestic giants. If you are sharp, it's here you will spot the queen of all the giants in this stand, "Miss Marilla" as named by one of the early caretakers of this property. "She" measures 10'4" around her base!

After viewing this stand of Old Growth giants, you can hike the Reservoir in a southerly direction and cross a second wooden bridge. At the gazebo, you can turn right onto the new Marilla Spring Trail.

Right away you will notice you are among some really old trees! For the next few miles you will be in a mixed woods with plenty of old growth giants. There are reportedly small stands of Virgin White Pine, among the old Hemlocks, Maples, Oaks and Cherry.

It's actually remarkable to find a mix of these different trees all in one fairly small area.

You may notice that many are "stunted" near the tops where at one point the tops of the trees were "blown off" or broken, but the tree still grew.

On some, the bark is real coarse, while others show signs of "balding". You will also notice on some, how high off the ground the first branches are, all signs of ancient trees.

The trail goes south as you hike the Marilla Creek upstream toward it's origin. The creek, always alongside you, is a beautiful brook full of small cascades and waterfalls along the way. This makes for a very beautiful setting for these magnificent giants of the forest.

Who'd a thought Bradford would have an "old growth forest" in it's midst? Not I, for one.

I'm hoping to get a "tree expert" friend of mine, Bruce Kershner (famous book author) interested in checking these out and maybe identifying and aging the biggest of the bunch.

I've talked to a few locals who "always knew they were there", but now with the opening of the new Marilla Spring Trail, everybody can enjoy hiking among these truly remarkable trees I call "The Giants of Marilla".

John Stoneman 3/9/06


Also see my page about the Marilla Springs Trail at: MARILLA SPRINGS TRAIL


Update September 2009:

The Tree House Tree

the largest Eastern White Pine in Pennsylvania!" border="0">The Treehouse Tree! Pennsylvania's Champion Eastern White Pine Tree.

The locals just call it "The Treehouse Tree". What is it? The biggest pine tree in the state of Pennsylvania, a giant Eastern White Pine Tree, the state champion Eastern White Pine. Let me tell you a bit about how I first came across this Champion tree.

Years ago, when the Marilla Trails System was being built here in Bradford, on Bradford Water Authority property, the head of the water authority (Kim Benjamin) told me that their forester reported a stand of old growth or "virgin white pine" trees just off the main "Marilla Springs Trail" they were laying out. Kim thought I might be interested in checking them out. And he was right! I am very grateful for his tip.

After months of exploring the area, the proposed "Marilla Springs Trail" as well as the "Marilla Bridges Trail", I documented two giant Eastern White Pine trees, "Miss Marilla" and "King of the Marilla Giants", along with a stand of 13 other giant white pines.
Not being a "tree person" per se, I did recognize that the trees there were a significant find. There are not that many trees that big and that old left standing today, unfortunately.

Trail to old growth "Virgin White Pine trees"
Trail to old growth "Virgin White Pine trees"

It was quite a find! Eventually we laid out a side trail to the stand of 13 White pines, now called "The White Pine Trail", that is a spur off the main Marilla Springs Trail. The two named giants, as well as a few of the biggest in the stand of white pines may very well be champion trees. We have not as of yet, measured them! Except for their circumference. Miss Marilla measures 13' 4" around, while the King of the Marilla Giants, measures 13' 8" around. They both look to be about 125 feet tall.

"Miss Marilla", a giant Eastern White Pine
"Miss Marilla", a giant Eastern White Pine

The "King of the Marilla Giants"! It takes four tree huggers to hug this giant
White Pine!
The "King of the Marilla Giants"! It takes four tree huggers to hug this giant White Pine!

I was so excited about this find, I called my friend a world renowned "tree expert", Bruce Kershner who came down from Buffalo to see them, and he agreed we had quite a find here. Besides this group of giant, old growth Eastern White Pine trees, Bruce identified several old trees including an old Birch tree that he thinks might be about 450 years old! Being a Birch, it's not real big, but he believed it to be the oldest tree in the area. He thought some of the White Pine trees to be up to 350 years old.

My outdoor adventure club (www.alleghenyoutdooradventures.com ), did several hikes to the area, to visit these trees. On one particular hike, a woman named Lori Vickery said "they ARE big, but I know where there is a bigger one". I was intrigued, doubtful, but interested in seeing her big tree. Especially since I've been all over this area, and often hike Zoar Valley where there are old growth trees, and none of them are noticeably bigger than these trees here. But she insisted that she knew of another big tree right here in Bradford, that was bigger than the trees I just showed her. AND she said the tree was near-by! And offered to show it to me.

Of course I was a bit skeptical about her claims, but off we went to see this "real big tree" that Lori called "the tree house tree".

The champion "Tree House Tree", the largest Eastern White Pine in Pennsylvania!
The champion "Tree House Tree", the largest Eastern White Pine in Pennsylvania!

Lori explained that as a girl, she played in this tree, and that it once had a three story tree house in it, three stories! This tree is located just off Langmaid Lane in Bradford, behind the nursing home. It's just a short walk into the woods.

When I first laid eyes on this tree I just couldn't believe it! What a giant tree! It's hard to imagine how big this tree really is! Besides being big in diameter, it's also tall, and has an amazing spread to it's crown. Near the bottom and close to the ground are these giant branches coming off and turning to the sky. You can actually climb right up into this massive tree.

There is no longer a three story tree house in this tree, but it is there in pieces on the ground around it. And you can see some nails or some boards still in the tree where the tree house once was. Lori told us that as a young girl (back in the 1960's) she played in this tree. And in the three story tree house that was in it. She told me that she only got as high as the second floor of the tree house, and never made it to the third story.

Measuring the circumference, an amazing seventeen feet and six inches!
Measuring the circumference, an amazing seventeen feet and six inches!

Well, I went back to this tree to measure it's circumference, and was amazed that it's actually 17' 6" around 4 1/2' off the ground! Surely this must be a champion tree I thought. So I got on the internet an started looking up champion trees in Pennsylvania.

"Champion Trees of Pennsylvania" (http://www.pabigtrees.com) has the list of all the big trees in the state, broken down by species. This Eastern White Pine was bigger in diameter than any other pine tree in the state! So I reported this tree to the website and asked if they would be interested in coming up here and measuring the tree. I was contacted by a guy named Scott Wades and he put me in contact with Stan Hess, the DCNR/Bureau of Forestry County forester for McKean County.Stan Hess was very interested, and we made plans to meet and measure the tree together.

As it turned out, it was very difficult to measure. One, it was surrounded closely by other big trees. It was nearly impossible to sight the very top of the tree. And two,, the tree was on a fairly sharp slope. We measured the tree from three different directions to calculate the height of the tree. Measuring the "drip line", the furthest out branches for the size of the crown (from several different views) was also quite the task. The easy part was the circumference! As soon as we got the measurements we realized that we had a state champion on our hands.

"Champion Trees" are rated by a number that is calculated by the height in feet, the circumference in inches and the average of the width of the crown in feet. For more information go here: http://www.nativetreesociety.org/measure/tree_measuring_guidelines.htm

Our "Treehouse Tree" has a circumference of 308.6 inches, the height is 112 feet and the average crown spread is 69.5 feet, giving this tree a champion rating of 338. The previous state champion was a tree in Cook Forest that rates at 335. The tree in Cook Forest, has held the record for many years. And not only is the Tree House Tree, the largest Eastern White Pine tree in the state of Pennsylvania, it's also the largest pine tree of any species in the state of Pa.!

Stan Hess, the DCNR/Bureau of Forestry County forester for McKean County measuring our
champion tree
Stan Hess, the DCNR/Bureau of Forestry County forester for McKean County measuring our champion tree

While we were measuring the tree and when Stan Hess was figuring out the final champion number, he looked up at me and said "now this is a serious matter, those who have champion trees take this stuff very seriously, everybody you bump down in rating with this tree will be very mad" .... he then told me that they might rush up here to re-measure this tree to confirm our measurements!

And Stan was right! Just a day after our tree was listed on the "Champion Trees of Pennsylvania" website, I got an e-mail from Dale Luthringer, the environmental education specialist at Cook Forest State Park, and an "old friend of Dr. Bruce Kershner". Yes, the same Cook forest that had the previous "state champion tree" for all those years! Dale in fact wants to come up and measure this tree with more accurate instruments, for a more accurate measurement, and to verify that we do in-fact have the state champion Eastern White Pine tree.

Here is a great twist to the story. Lori Vickery, the girl who showed me this tree, has an old letter her dad saved. Apparently her dad, back in 1980, reported the tree to the state. Stan Hess who measured trees way back then, came to Bradford and measured this tree in 1980! At the time, some thirty years ago or so, he measured the height as 95 feet and the circumference of 14'. Somewhat smaller than this tree is today, as expected. But when I told Stan of this letter Lori has, that he signed, he said he has no memory of ever measuring this tree before. That can be expected since he has probably measured thousands of trees since 1980!

Before seeing the "Treehouse Tree" in Bradford, I had already thought we had a significant find out in the Marilla Reservoir area with the Miss Marilla, the King of the Marilla Giants, and the stand of 13 old growth White Pine trees out there. I expect when we actually measure them, that we might add more to the "record books" from this area, but in the mean time, as of today, we do have the biggest pine tree in the whole state of Pennsylvania right here in Bradford Pa.! A great tourist attraction for sure. This tree has to be seen to be believed! But if you come to Bradford to see this giant, be sure to visit the other big Eastern White Pine trees in the Marilla area also. One is off the Marilla Bridges Trail, and the others are off the Marilla Springs Trail, and all our giant trees are within a relatively few miles of each other! Definitely worth the trip for the "tree people" among us! Or anybody who might want to see (and photograph) some really big, old trees!

Stony!

Some of the more common trees:

White Ash Banner
White Ash Leaf White Ash Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • compound
  • pinnately compound
  • margins toothed
  • leaflets similar in size and shape
  • leaves opposite
  • leaflets with short stems
  • leaflets irregularly toothed, or only near tip
  • twigs and leaf stalks smooth
Fruit Characteristics
  • single winged
  • elongate
  • seed cavity round or flattened
  • fruit straight
  • less narrow, less tapered, about 1/4" wide


 
White Ash
 Fraxinus americana

This is the largest of the Ash trees in North America, sometimes reaching 100 feet in height. The tallest specimen in Ohio today reaches 85 feet, and almost is 6 feet in diameter. The firm, gray bark of the White Ash has diamond-shaped furrows and interlacing ridges. The tree grows in the rich, moist, well-drained soil of bottomlands and not-so-dry slopes. It ranges throughout Ohio. The size and value of White Ash trees make this one of the primary commercial hardwoods in the United States. The wood is hard, strong, elastic, and very useful. It has a variety of applications, including interior finish, vehicles, furniture, containers, and wooden equipment. Also, it often has been used as a shade or street tree. Several kinds of birds eat the fruit.





White Ash Tree
Tree Size
     height 60' - 80'
     diameter 2' - 4'

White Ash Bark
Bark


Bigtooth Aspen Banner
Bigtooth Aspen Leaf Bigtooth Aspen Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • all teeth same size
  • long stem, wide leaf
  • rounded, without glands
  • few, course teeth
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • fruit in small capsules along stem
  • capsule with floss and disk at base
  • thin walled, narrow


Bigtooth Aspen
Populus grandidentata

As the name suggests, the leaves of this tree have large, coarse teeth. The tree grows in moist soil near streams, and frequently is one of the first trees to grow in abandoned fields and burned-over areas. Although widely distributed in Ohio, it is more common in the northern part of the state. Human use of this tree is mainly as pulpwood, although it sometimes is used in rough construction. Much of the tree, however, is used by animals. The beaver uses it both for food and construction, and several other mammals and birds use the bark, twigs and buds as food.





Bigtooth Aspen Tree
Tree Size
height 30' - 60'
diameter 1' - 2'

Bigtooth Aspen Bark
Bark


Quaking Aspen Banner
Quaking Aspen Leaf Quaking Aspen Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • all teeth same size
  • long stem, wide leaf
  • rounded, without glands
  • many, fine teeth
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • fruit in small capsules along stem
  • capsule with floss and disk at base
  • thin walled, narrow


Quaking Aspen
Populus tremuloides

The smaller, finer teeth on the leaves of this aspen contrast with those of the Bigtooth Aspen. The tree will grow in almost any soil except in the wettest swamps. As with its "bigtoothed" relative, it is a "pioneer" tree, growing readily in burned-over areas and unused fields. In northern Ohio this tree is common. In the southern part of the state it is widely distributed, but more local and less common. Human and animal use of the Quaking Aspen is similar to that of the Bigtooth Aspen.





Quaking Aspen Tree
Tree Size
     
height 20' - 60'
       diameter 1' - 2'

Quaking Aspen Bark
Bark


Basswood Banner
Basswood Leaf Basswood Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • all teeth same size
  • shorter stem
  • side veins near base longer than others
  • asymmetrical base, broad
  • large, 2" to 6" long
  • 4" to 6" long, pale green beneath
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • without husk or capsules
  • loose, not packed tightly together
  • fruit with pit
  • whole fruit less than 1 inch
  • not like rasperries
  • fruit not at end of single stalk
  • fruit loosely clustered
  • gray-green


Basswood
(American Basswood,
American Linden)

Tilia americana

The tree grows in rich, moist, well-drained soil. It is found throughout glaciated Ohio, in the western, northwestern and northern parts of the state. The tough, fibrous inner bark has been used by Native American Indians and settlers in making rope, mats, and thongs. The wood is light and soft, and is well suited for working. Although rather weak, it has been used for cheap furniture, containers, beekeeping supplies, and various woodenware. Honeybees feed on the flowers, producing what is reputed to be a choice grade of honey. Birds eat the buds, small mammals eat the fruit, and several species feed on the bark and sprouts.





Basswood Tree
Tree Size
     
height 60' - 80'
       diameter 2' - 3'

Basswood Bark
Bark


Beech Banner
Beech Leaf Beech Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • course teeth
  • 2" to 5" long
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • nut in a husk
  • thin, spiny husk
  • fruit less than 2" in diameter, weak, unbranched spines


Beech
(American Beech)
Fagus grandifolia

The tallest American Beech found today in Ohio, in Ashtabula County, is 130 feet tall. The smooth gray bark of this grand tree is familiar to many. Also distinctive are the long, slender, pale chestnut-brown buds, readily visible during the winter. The tree prefers deep, fertile, well-drained but moist soils. It is found throughout Ohio, probably in every county, and particularly in mature woods. In those parts of the state, however, where prairie grasses originally dominated plant growth, the American Beech is limited in its distribution. The tough, strong wood is used for flooring, furniture and other wooden ware. Hollows in beech trees provide shelter for many animals. And many mammals and birds, including deer, bear, squirrels, grouse and turkey, feed on the nuts. The smaller European Beech is widely planted in the United States as an ornamental tree.





Beech Tree
Tree Size
     
height 60' - 100'
       diameter 2' - 3'

Beech Bark
Bark

Beech Twig
Twigs and Buds


Yellow Birch Banner
Yellow Birch Leaf Yellow Birch Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • small teeth between larger teeth
  • base symmetrical
  • base not wedge-shaped
  • leaf long, oval
  • narrows toward tip
  • twice as long as wide
Fruit Characteristics
  • cone or cone-like
  • cone greater than 1 inch long
  • wings on both sides of scales
  • seed with wings
  • smooth winged nutlets
  • cone short, robust
  • cone 2 times as long as wide
  • scales hairy


Yellow Birch
Betula alleghaniensis

The bark on limbs and young trunks is silvery-yellowish in color, hence the name. On older trunks the smooth bark breaks open and curls back in thin plates. This tree is limited to a cool, moist habitat. In Ohio it most commonly occurs in the northeastern quarter of the state, but can be found southward in ravines along the western edge of the Allegheny Plateau. The Yellow Birch tree is the most frequently used birch for lumber. Its hard, strong wood is used for furniture and various small objects. Deer, rabbits and beaver feed on this tree, and Ruffed Grouse eat the buds during the winter.





Yellow Birch Tree
Tree Size
        height        60' - 80'
        diameter    2' - 4'

Yellow Birch Bark
Bark


Black Cherry Banner
Black Cherry Leaf Black Cherry Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • all teeth same size
  • shorter stem
  • all side veins same length
  • long, not narrow
  • veins curved
  • less than 5" long
  • stem less than 1/3 length of leaf
  • short tip, veins not dense
  • narrow
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • without husk or capsules
  • loose, not packed tightly together
  • fruit with pit
  • whole fruit less than 1 inch
  • fruit without strap-like modified leaf
  • not like rasperries
  • fruit not at end of single stalk
  • loosely clustered
  • various colors but leaves not modified
  • round, dark red to black
  • 0.5" in diameter
  • with stone or pit


Black Cherry
Prunus serotina

The tree grows on deep, moist but well-drained, fertile soils. It is found in forests, and also in open fields, second-growth woodlands, and along fence-rows. This is one of the most valuable timber trees in Ohio. Its strong, heavy wood has been used extensively for furniture, veneer, and interior finish. Although small in size, the fruit has been used in making wine and jelly. Many kinds of birds and mammals feed on the prolific fruit.





Black Cherry Tree
Tree Size
    
 height    50' - 60'
     diameter    1' - 3'

Black Cherry Bark
Bark

Black Cherry Flower
Flower


American Elm Banner
American Elm Leaf American Elm Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • small teeth between larger teeth
  • base asymmetrical
  • not rough beneath
Fruit Characteristics
  • single winged
  • oval to circular
  • wing edges hairy


American Elm (White Elm)
Ulmus americana

This is the largest and most widespread elm in the United States. The tallest example in Ohio today, growing in Hamilton County, stands 97 feet. The tall, drooping crown growing above divided trunks gives the mature tree a distinctive, vase-like appearance. The tree grows on rich, moist bottomlands and in ravines, and sometimes on moist slopes and woodlands. Although widespread in Ohio, many trees have been destroyed by the Dutch Elm disease. In the past it extensively was used as a shade and ornamental tree. The wood has been used in much the same way as that of the Slippery Elm. Both birds and mammals feed on fruit and buds, and mammals will the the bark and twigs of younger trees.





American Elm Tree
Tree Size
     height 75' - 100+'
     diameter 2' - 4'

American Elm Bark


Eastern Hemlock Banner
Eastern Hemlock Leaf Eastern Hemlock Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • flattened leaves (needles)
  • needles wide, with 2 white lines beneath
Fruit Characteristics
  • cone or cone-like
  • cone less than 1 inch long
  • oblong cone
  • 0.5 - 0.8 inches long


Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis

This tree, the only hemlock found in Ohio, is large, growing to a height of 60 to 75 feet and a diameter of 1 to 3 feet. In virgin forests it grew to more than 100 feet in height and 4 feet in diameter. The distinctive, flat needles are glossy green above, and pale green with two white lines below. The scaly bark of mature trees is dark purplish brown and deeply furrowed. The tree grows best in cool, moist locations such as the north-facing slopes of deep ravines in eastern Ohio. The wood is inferior to that of White Pine and is used for rough construction lumber, and as pulpwood. Formerly, the bark was much in demand for its tannic acid, used in tanning leather. Several birds and mammals feed on the seeds.





Eastern Hemlock Tree
Tree Size
     height 60' - 75'
     diameter 1' - 3'


Shagbark Hickory Banner
Shagbark Hickory Leaf Shagbark Hickory Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • compound
  • pinnately compound
  • margins toothed
  • 3 end leaflets usually distinctly larger than basal leaflets
  • 5 to 7 leaflets
  • leaves large
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • nut in a husk
  • thinner husk
  • husk 0.25" or more thick
  • nut yellowish white
  • nut rounded at base


Shagbark Hickory
Carya ovata

The distinctive, shaggy bark, conspicuous on tall straight trees, gives this species its name. It grows well in both wet and dry areas, but prefers well-drained soils. In Ohio it is widely distributed, and probably can be found in every county. It commonly is found in association with oak trees. The wood is hard, strong, tough and elastic, and is used in handles for tools and in athletic equipment. The wood also makes excellent firewood, and often is used in smoking meat. As with other edible nuts, squirrels compete with humans for this fruit.





Shagbark Hickory Tree
Tree Size
     height 50' - 90'
     diameter 1' - 3'

Shagbark Hickory Bark
Bark


American Hornbeam Banner
American Hornbeam Leaf American Hornbeam Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat leaves
  • simple leaves
  • not lobed
  • fine, double teeth
  • base symmetrical
  • base not wedge-shaped
  • leaf longer, oval
  • narrows toward tip
  • 3x OR 2x as long as wide
Fruit Characteristics
  • winged
  • single winged
  • elongated
  • nut at base of 3-lobed wing-like sac


American Hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana

In 1985, a 41-foot-tall specimen of this tree was recorded in Hamilton County. The spread of the same tree at that time was 63 feet. The trunk of this tree is deeply rippled and looks like sinewy muscles. The bark is blue-gray and smooth. This combination of trunk and bark is unique, and it should confirm identification of a specimen. This tree, also sometimes called "Ironwood," and the Eastern Hophornbeam have an unusual history of confusion in common names. Each tree has at some time been called by the common name of the other. Also, because of similarities in the bark, the name "beech" (Blue Beech or Water Beech) has been misapplied to this tree. The American Hornbeam grows in moist to wet soils and commonly occurs in swamps, along streams, and in wet bottomlands. This tree grows throughout the eastern United States, westward to eastern Texas and Oklahoma, and in southeastern Canada. It is found throughout Ohio. Unlike the Eastern Hophornbeam, the wood of the American Hornbeam decays rapidly when in contact with soil. Still, the wood is hard and tough and is used in making tool handles and small wooden articles. Also, it is planted as an ornamental, especially on wet sites. Deer browse this tree's twigs and foliage. Squirrels and birds such as turkey, grouse, pheasant and quail eat the fruit.





American Hornbeam Tree
Tree Size
     height   20' - 40'
     diameter    1' - 2'

American Hornbeam Bark
Bark

American Hornbeam Flower


Red Maple Banner
Red Maple Leaf Red Maple Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • palmately lobed
  • notches between lobes V-shaped
  • appears 3-lobed, with weak basal lobes
Fruit Characteristics
  • paired wings
  • wings close, less than 45 degrees apart
  • winged seed about 3/4" long


 
Red Maple
Acer rubrum

This species and the Silver Maple often are referred to as the "soft maples." The bright red flowers make this tree conspicuous in early spring. In autumn the changing leaves become scarlet to orange in color. The tree grows in moist soils in swamps, bottomlands, and uplands. Distributed throughout Ohio, it is most common in the southwestern and eastern parts of the state and near Lake Erie. The wood is soft, not very strong and not durable. It is used for some furniture, boxes, and woodenware. Although not as productive as Sugar Maple, the Red Maple can be tapped for syrup and sugar. The tree often is planted as an ornamental. Several kinds of mammals feed on parts of the tree.





Red Maple Tree
Tree Size
 
   height 60' - 80'
     diameter 1' - 2'

Red Maple Bark
Bark

Red Maple Twig
Twigs and Buds

 


Sugar Maple Banner
Sugar Maple Leaf Sugar Maple Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • palmately lobed
  • notches U-shaped
  • small notches
  • without milky juice
  • not hairy beneath
Fruit Characteristics
  • paired wings
  • wings 60 to 90 degrees apart
  • winged seed about 1" long


Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum

In spring, the numerous yellow flowers give this tree a distinctive appearance. The tree grows well in fertile, moist, and well-drained soils. Still, it can be found in poorer, rocky soil as well. It is widely distributed in Ohio. The wood is hard, close-grained, and heavy, making this a very valuable timber tree. It has many uses, including for flooring, furniture, veneer, musical instruments, and a variety of woodenware. In terms of quantity produced, this tree is the best source of maple sugar, and has been used as such since the days of early settlement. Before then it was used by Native American Indians.





Sugar Maple Tree
Tree Size
     height   75' - 100'
     diameter    2' - 4'

Sugar Maple Bark
Bark

Sugar Maple Twig
Twigs and Buds


Red Oak Banner
Red Oak Leaf Red Oak Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • pinnately lobed
  • bristle tips
  • not deeply lobed
  • thin leaves, lobes narrow toward tip
Fruit Characteristics
  • acorn
  • cup without fringe, without long stalk
  • acorn no longer than 1"
  • scales not swollen, mostly flat
  • shallow cup
  • acorn oblong


Red OaK
(Northern Red Oak)
Quercus rubra

The bark darkens and roughens near the base of older trees, while becoming fissured with broad, grayish ridges on the upper trunk. The tree grows on rich, well-drained soils. It occurs commonly throughout most of Ohio, except in poorly-drained or swampy areas. The wood is similar to that of the White Oak, and although more porous and less resistant to decay, is used extensively used in construction and interior work. The Red Oak grows more rapidly than most oaks and is useful for planting in residential areas. The acorns are not as tasty as those of the White Oak, but many kinds of wildlife feed on them.





Red Oak Tree
Tree Size
     
height 50' - 70'
     diameter 1' - 3'

Red Oak Bark
Bark


White Oak Banner
White Oak Leaf White Oak Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • pinnately lobed
  • smooth, without bristle tips
  • main vein ends in lobe
  • end lobe small
  • end lobes similar to others
Fruit Characteristics
  • acorn
  • cup without fringe, without long stalk
  • acorn no longer than 1"
  • scales swollen, warty


White Oak
Quercus alba

This is one of the largest trees of forests in the eastern United States. The tallest known in Ohio today is an 84-foot tree in Mahoning County. The distinctive bark is light ash-gray in color, and often fissured into scaly plates. The tree grows best on deep, well-drained upland soils. Still, it is found in a wide variety of habitats throughout Ohio, probably occurring in every county. The close-grained, strong wood is one our best for furniture and hardwood flooring. Native American Indians made flour from its acorns. Both Indians and early settlers boiled the acorns to make them more palatable. Many kinds of wildlife feed on the acorns as well.





White Oak Tree
Tree Size
    height 60' - 100'
    diameter 2' - 4
'

White Oak Branch
 Bark


White Pine Banner
White Pine Leaf White Pine Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • needle-like
  • needles in clusters of 5
Fruit Characteristics
  • cone
  • cones mostly larger than 1"
  • each scale of cone with an end wing
  • cone dry and hard
  • scales thick
  • cone 4" to 8" long, with stalk


White Pine
(Eastern White Pine)
Pinus strobus

This is the largest conifer in the northeastern United States. The tallest of these trees in Ohio is a 137-foot giant in Ashland County. The bark on young trees is smooth and gray, while on older trees it is broken into small rectangular blocks. It prefers moist, sandy loam soils. It is native only to a small portion of northeastern Ohio, but has been planted throughout most of the state. This tree is important for its lumber and is used extensively in reforestation. In the days of wooden sailing ships the long, straight trunks of this tree provided many ships' masts.





White Pine Tree
Tree Size
  height 75' - 100'
 diameter 2' - 4'

White Pine Bark
Bark

White Pine Flower
Flower


Red Pine Banner
Red Pine Leaf Red Pine Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • needle-like
  • needles in clusters of 2
  • long needles, 3" to 8" long
  • brittle
Fruit Characteristics
  • cone or cone-like
  • cone greater than 1 inch long
  • scales with end wings
  • cone dry and hard
  • scales thick
  • cone less than 4 inches
  • scales without spines
  • scales smooth, without pyramid tips


Red Pine
(Norway Pine)
Pinus resinosa

The bark of this tree is reddish-brown in color. On older trunks the bark becomes broken into wide flat-topped ridges separated by shallow splits. The Red Pine is often confused with the introduced Austrian Pine . However, the reddish-brown bark of the Red Pine should help to distinguish this tree from the Austrian Pine with its grayish to blackish bark. Typically, the Red Pine grows in light sandy soils. It seems to grow well in soils that are too poor for the larger White Pine . In spite of being native to North America (not Norway) this tree also is known as the Norway Pine. The Red Pine grows naturally in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Builders use the wood of this tree in building construction, but it must be chemically treated in order to used in contact with the soil. In marine applications it is used for piling and for ships' masts and spars. Also it often is used as an ornamental tree.





Red Pine Tree
Tree Size
     height   50' - 100'
     diameter    1' - 1.5'

Red Pine Bark
Bark

Red Pine Flower
Flower


Sassafras Banner
Sassafras Leaf Sassafras Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • palmately lobed
  • lobes sometimes unballanced
  • notches between lobes U-shaped
  • smooth
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • without husk or capsules
  • loose, not packed tightly together
  • fruit with pit
  • whole fruit less than 1 inch
  • fruit without strap-like modified leaf
  • not like rasperries
  • fruit not at end of single stalk
  • loosely clustered
  • leaves not modified
  • ovoid, dark red to black
  • fruit at ends of club-shaped stalks


Sassafras
Sassafras albidium

Although generally considered to be a small tree, the Sassafras sometimes reaches substantial height. The tallest specimen known in Ohio today, in Montgomery County, is 90 feet tall and has a diameter of almost 3.5 feet. The unusual leaves can be found in 3 forms, often on the same tree: 3-lobed; 2-lobed with a large central lobe and 1 smaller, side lobe; and without lobes. The tree grows in poorer soils than many other trees, and often is found in abandoned fields, along roadsides and fencerows, and on open slopes. It is widely distributed throughout Ohio, although less frequently in the northern and western parts of the state. The wood while soft, weak, and brittle is durable. It has been used for furniture as well as posts. Since the days of early settlement of the Ohio Country, Sassafras has been better known for the tea that is made by boiling the bark of its roots. Also, oil of Sassafras, which is distilled from roots and root bark, has been used in a variety of ways, including the flavoring of candies and medicines, and to perfume soaps and rubbing lotions. A variety of birds and a few mammals feed on the fruit.





Sassafras Tree
Tree Size
     height   30' - 60'
     diameter    1' - 3'

Sassafras Bark
Bark

Sassafras Flower
Flower


Norway Spruce Banner
Norway Spruce Leaf Norway Spruce Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • needle-like
  • needles single, not in clusters
  • shiny green
Fruit Characteristics
  • cone or cone-like
  • cones greater than 1 inch long
  • scales with end wings
  • cones dry and hard
  • scales thin
  • cones 4 - 8 inches long


Norway Spruce
Picea abies

The bark is reddish-brown and roughened with thick scales. Twigs also are reddish-brown and somewhat rough. The cones are the largest of the spruces. In 1987, the Ohio Forestry Association recorded a 90-foot tall specimen of the Norway Spruce in Summit County, Ohio. This tree generally grows taller than its relative, the White Spruce. The Norway Spruce can tolerate a great deal of cold, winter weather. It grows well in a variety of moist soils in temperate habitats that are humid and cool. In its native habitat of northern and central Europe the Norway Spruce is a very important commercial true. As an introduced tree in the United States, including Ohio, it is planted as an ornamental. And it is widely used in replacing forests. Also, the Christmas tree industry cultivates and uses this tree.





Norway Spruce Tree
Tree Size
     height   60' - 90'
     diameter    1' - 3'

Norway Spruce Bark
Bark


Tulip Tree Banner
Tulip Tree Leaf Tulip Tree Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • simple
  • pinnately lobed
  • smooth, without bristle tips
  • main vein ends in notch
Fruit Characteristics
  • cone or cone-like
  • cone longer than 1"
  • cone soft & fleshy
  • scale ends with single wing
  • narrow, elongate scales
  • seed cavity 4-angled


Tuliptree
(Yellow Poplar)

Liriodendron tulipifera

This is the tallest hardwood tree in eastern North America, reportedly reaching 200 feet in height. At 164 feet, a specimen of this tree growing in Belmont County is the largest single tree presently known in Ohio. Coincidentally, both the bright green leaves (in outline) and greenish-yellow flowers are tulip-shaped. The tree grows in deep, rich, and moist soil, and commonly is found in bottomlands. Its widespread distribution in Ohio is limited by drier portions of the west-central and northwestern parts of the state. The wood is soft and weak, but is very easily worked, and has many uses. Early settlers used the wood extensively in building, and made home remedies from the inner bark of the roots. Bees make honey from the blossoms, and various wildlife eat the fruit and twigs.





Tulip Tree Tree
Tree Size
     
height 80' - 150'
     diameter 4' - 6'

Tulip Tree Bark
Bark

Tulip Tree Twig
Twigs and Buds

Tulip Tree Flower
Flower


Black Walnut Banner
Black Walnut Leaf Black Walnut Fruit
Leaf Characteristics
  • broad, flat
  • compound
  • pinnately compound
  • margins toothed
  • leaflets similar in size and shape
  • leaves alternate
  • no wing-like projections
  • without milky sap
  • leaflets greater than 8 inches long
  • end leaflet small or absent
Fruit Characteristics
  • other fruit (not cone, winged, acorn, or in pod or capsule)
  • enclosed by husk
  • thick husk
  • husk without seams, nut with ridges
  • oblong, nut ridges rounded


Black Walnut 
Juglans nigra

The Black Walnut is one of the tall trees of Ohio's original forests. Ohio's tallest today is 105 feet and grows in Holmes County. The tree commonly is found in bottomlands, but also grows on hillsides with rich soils. It is found throughout most of Ohio except in prairie areas. Its rich, dark brown, close-grained wood makes this tree one of the most valuable of our hardwoods. Historically, the wood was widely used in building construction. Today, it is prized for cabinet work and fine furniture. Humans compete with squirrels for the tasty nuts. Because of a toxic substance coming from the roots of the Black Walnut, many garden plants such as tomatoes and blackberries cannot grow under these trees.





Black Walnut Tree
Tree Size
     
height 70' - 100'
     diameter 2' - 4'

Black Walnut Bark
Bark

Black Walnut Twig
Twigs and Buds

Black Walnut Flower
Flower

 


Back to the Allegheny Outdoors Page :

ALLEGHENY OUTDOORS PAGE

Stoneman Guitars Main Page

CONTACT US!

NEW! FAQ! Frequently asked Questions Page

All text and photos on this page © John V Stoneman