Group 3 Notes
Caesalpiniaceae (also classified as a subfamily ((oideaea)) within Fabaceae)
Habit: Family of trees, shrubs, lianas and herbs. Leaves can be pinnately compound to bi-pinnately compound. Flowers are usually irregular in symmetry (zygomorphic), small and usually perfect, appearing before the leaves with greenish-white usually distinct petals In Cercis the lateral petals fuse) with one being larger and often different in color than the two lateral petals, and at most 10 stamens. Fruit is a legume.
Ecology: Members of this family make a valuable contribution to restoration given the nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the root nodules. Members in this family often found in tropical and subtropical locations.
Use: Restoration, ornamental.
Habit: Woody family with alternate and opposite leaf arrangement and simple complexity. Venation is arcuate with an entire or slightly serrated leaf margin. Pith in twigs can be diaphragmed or solid. Plants can be synoecious or dioecious. Flowers are perfect or imperfect with white petals or bracts and often make up a compound cyme inflorescence. Fruit is a drupe with purpleish-blue, red or white color. Floral formula is generally 4-5; 4-5; 4-5; 2
Ecology: Members from this family are found throughout the northern hemisphere. Many members in this family found locally in both shaded and sunny locations.
Use: Primarily ornamentals and provide food for wildlife. Some Native American groups used members of this family for making spears because of the hardness of the wood.
- Cornus amomum Silky dogwood
- Leaf: Opposite, simple, oval, 2 to 4 inches long, arcuately veined, margin entire, green above and maybe silky grayish when young, paler below.
- Flower: Monoecious; small, white, in flat-topped clusters, 2 inches in diameter that appear in late spring and early summer.
- Fruit: Berry-like drupes developing in flat-topped clusters, 1/4 inch in diameter, bluish with white blotches, maturing in late summer.
- Twig: Red-purple (may be green-tinged), bearing silky gray hairs with a salmon colored pith, buds are narrow, pointed, hairy, sessile, and close to the stem.
- Bark: At first red-purple (but may be green tinged); later turns brown and shallowly fissured.
- Form: A small to medium sized, multi-stemmed, suckering shrub up to 10 feet tall. Branches may bend down and root in wet soil.
- Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood
- Leaf: Opposite, simple, 3 to 5 inches long, oval in shape with an entire or slightly wavy margin, arcuately veined, green above and slightly paler below.
- Flower: Monoecious; very small and inconspicuous tight cluster, but surrounded by 4 very showy, large, white (occasionally pink) bracts, 2 inches in diameter, appearing in mid-spring.
- Fruit: A shiny, oval red drupe, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, in clusters of 3 to 5, maturing in fall.
- Twig: Slender, green or purple (purple on sunlit side), later turning gray, often with a glaucous bloom. The terminal flower buds are clove-shaped, vegetative buds resemble a dull cat claw.
- Bark: Gray and smooth when young, turning very scaly to finely blocky.
- Form: A small tree with a short trunk that branches low, producing a slightly rounded to flat-topped crown. Branches are opposite, and assume a "candelabra" appearance.
- Nyssa sylvatica blackgum
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, pinnately veined, oblong to obovate in shape with an entire margin, 3 to 5 inches long, occasionally shallow lobes (or coarse teeth) near tip, dark green above and slightly paler below.
- Flower: Primarily Dioecious; not showy, light green in color, in clusters hanging from slender stalks, appearing with the leaves.
- Fruit: A dark, purplish blue drupe, 1/2 inch long, with a fleshy coating surrounding a ribbed pit, ripen in late summer and fall.
- Twig: Moderately stout, red-brown to gray, diaphragmed pith; 1 to 2 inch curved spur shoots are often present; buds ovate, pointed, green and light brown, but darkening to brown in the winter.
- Bark: Gray-brown and shallowly, irregularly furrowed, on old stems it can become quite blocky, resembling alligator hide.
- Form: A medium sized tree reaching up to 80 feet tall on moist sites, generally much shorter in the mountains. On younger trees the branches often stand at right angles to the trunk with numerous short, curled spur shoots present.
Habit: Many sub-families in this family due to variety of features. Members can be herbs, shrubs or trees. Leaves usually alternate, simple and often persistent. Inflorescence is of solitary flowers, clusters, racemes, corymbs, umbels and panicles, Flowers are regular with a capsule or drupe fruit type.
Ecology: Members of this family occur from polar regions to the tropics. Most commonly found in acidic nutrient poor soils and have mycorrhizal fungi that are essential to the plants
Use: Ornamentals (Rhododendron, Erica (heather)) and food crops Vaccinium (Blueberry and ccranberry)
- Kalmia latifolia Mt Laurel
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, elliptical, 2 to 5 inches long, entire margin, pointed tip, mid-vein raised on upper surfaces, shiny/waxy green above, yellow green below.
- Flower: Monoecious; very showy clusters (3 to 6 inches across), white to rose colored with purple markings, each flower 1 inch across, with the petals forming a distinct firm bowl around the pistil and stamens, appear in late spring and early summer.
- Fruit: A round, brown dehiscent capsule, 1/4 inch long, splitting into 5 valves when dry, occur in open clusters; releasing very small seeds when mature in the fall.
- Twig: Generally forked and twisted, green or red when young, later brownish red, leaves cluster at branch tips.
- Bark: Thin, dark brown to red in color, shredding and splitting on old stems.
- Form: A small tree or shrub with many twisted stems reaching up to 10 feet tall in mountains (occasionally 25 feet on Piedmont of southeastern U.S.)
Vaccinium corymbosum Highbush blueberry
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, deciduous, elliptical, 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, entire or serrated margins, green above, green or sometimes pubescent and paler below.
- Flower: Small, white, bell-shaped, in clusters (corymbs), appearing in spring with the leaves.
- Fruit: Small (1/3 inch), dark blue berry ripens in mid to late summer. Fruits are sweet and edible.
- Twig: Slender, zigzag, green and red; vegetative buds are small, red and pointed; flower buds are considerably larger and round.
- Bark: Gray-brown to reddish brown, very shreddy.
- Form: An upright shrub typically with several main stems and an open crown reaching up to 10 feet tall.
- Gaultheria procumbens teaberry
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, oval to elliptical, 1 to 2 inches long, minutely serrated, thickened with a wintergreen odor when crushed, leaves appear whorled since they cluster at tips of plant; dark shiny green above, much paler below often with black dots.
- Flower: Monoecious; small (1/4 inch), white, urn-shaped, hanging from short stems from leaf axils, appearing in mid to late summer.
- Fruit: Red, round, 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter, hanging beneath the leaves, mild wintergreen taste, ripen in late summer and persist into winter.
- Twig: Slender, green turning brown with age.
- Bark: Light brown.
- Form: Low plant with a height of only 3 to 5 inches; stems shoot out of the ground and end in a tight cluster of leaves.
Rhododendron maximum Great Rhododendron
- Leaf: Alternate, evergreen, simple, elliptical, 4 to 10 inches long, pinnately veined, entire margins or slightly revolute, leathery, dark green above and paler with rust-colored hair below.
- Flower: Monoecious; showy, pale pink or white with a corolla of five rounded petals, occur in large clusters (5 to 8 inches across) in late spring to early summer.
- Fruit: Red-brown elongated capsule (1/2 inch long), splitting along five lines, containing many tiny seeds, borne in a long-stemmed cluster, maturing in fall.
- Twig: Stout, yellow-green in color, often with reddish brown hair; vegetative buds are small, appearing enclosed in tiny leaves, ovate shaped flower buds are quite large (1/2 inch), enclosed in green rusty, pubescent scales.
- Bark: Thin, light brown and smooth when young; broken into thin scales on older stems.
- Form: A large shrub or small tree with several twisted stems that may form an impassable, dense thicket up to 20 feet tall.
Habit: The family is made up of shrubs and trees with simple alternating, stipulate leaves often pinnately lobed or serrated margins. Plants are monecious with staminate inflorescence making up an erect spike and pistillate inflorescence surrounded by numerous connate bracts. Flowers therefore imperfect, but having regular symmetry. Fruit generally a nut surrounded by a woody cup-like or bur-like covering.
Ecology: Members of this family found in both northern and southern hemispheres. Shrub oaks are an important member of the chaparral of western North America.
Use: Lumber, (Quercus = charcoal), acorns and chestnuts eaten as a staple by early Native Americans (after special treating because of high tannin levels), baskets, food for wildlife.
Quercus alba white oak
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblong to ovate in shape, 4 to 7 inches long; 7 to 10 rounded, finger-like lobes, sinus depth varies from deep to shallow, apex is rounded and the base is wedge-shaped, green to blue-green above and whitish below.
- Flower: Monoecious; male flowers are yellow-green, borne in naked, slender catkins, 2 to 4 inches long; female flowers are reddish green and appear as very small single spikes; appearing with the leaves in mid-spring.
- Fruit: Ovoid to oblong acorn, cap is warty and bowl-shaped, covers 1/4 of the fruit; cap always detaches at maturity; matures in one growing season in the early fall.
- Twig: Red-brown to somewhat gray, even a bit purple at times, hairless and often shiny; multiple terminal buds are red-brown, small, rounded (globose) and hairless.
- Bark: Whitish or ashy gray, varying from scaly on smaller stems to irregularly platy or blocky on large stems. On older trees smooth patches are not uncommon.
- Form: A very large tree; when open grown, white oaks have rugged, irregular crowns that are wide spreading, with a stocky bole. In the forest crowns are upright and oval with trees reaching up to 100 feet tall and several feet in diameter.
Quercus rubra red oak
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, 5 to 8 inches long, oblong in shape with 7 to 11 bristle-tipped lobes, sinuses extend 1/3 to 1/2 of the way to midvein, generally very uniform in shape, dull green to blue-green above and paler below.
- Flower: Monoecious; males in yellow-green slender, hanging catkins, 2 to 4 inches long; females are borne on short axiliary spikes, appearing with the leaves in spring.
- Fruit: Acorns are 3/4 to 1 inch long and nearly round; cap is flat and thick, covering about 1/4 or less of the acorn, resembling a beret; matures in 2 growing seasons, in late summer and fall.
- Twig: Quite stout, red-brown and glabrous; terminal buds multiple, quite large, conical, and covered with red-brown, mostly hairless scales but terminal scales may bear some frosty pubescence.
- Bark: On young stems, smooth; older bark develops wide, flat-topped ridges and shallow furrows. The shallow furrows form a pattern resembling ski tracts.
- Form: A medium sized to large tree that reaches up to 90 feet tall, develops a short trunk and round crown when open grown, straight with a clear, long bole when grown with competition.
Quercus prinus chestnut oak
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, 4 to 6 inches long, obovate to elliptical in shape with a crenate margin, shiny green above and paler below.
- Flower: Monoecious; male flowers are yellow-green, borne in naked catkins, 2 to 4 inches long; female flowers are reddish and appear as single spikes, appearing with the leaves in mid-spring.
- Fruit: Acorns are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, ovoid in shape and separate from the cap when mature; cap is thin, warty and shaped like a teacup, edges of cap are very thin; matures in one growing season, ripening in the fall.
- Twig: Medium textured, lacking hair, orange-brown or grayish in color with chestnut brown multiple terminal buds that are pointed, narrowly conical and quite long.
- Bark: Gray-brown to brown, very smooth when young; developing hard and wide flat-topped ridges which later become thicker and more sharply pointed ridges; somewhat resembling the back of an alligator or ridge tops.
- Form: A medium sized tree to 80 feet tall that on better sites will develop a straight trunk and narrow crown; on drier ridge tops it is much smaller with a crooked stem.
Fagus grandifolia American beech
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, elliptical to oblong-ovate, 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches long, pinnately-veined, 11-14 pairs of veins, with each vein ending in a sharp distinct tooth, shiny green above, very waxy and smooth, slightly paler below.
- Flower: Monoecious; male flowers borne on globose heads hanging from a slender 1 inch stalk, female flowers borne on shorter spikes, appearing just after leaves in the spring.
- Fruit: Nuts are irregularly triangular, shiny brown and edible, found in pairs within a woody husk covered with spines, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, maturing in the fall.
- Twig: Very slender, zigzag, light brown in color; buds are long (3/4 inch), light brown, and slender, covered with overlapping scales (best described as "cigar-shaped"), widely divergent from the stems, almost looking like long thorns.
- Bark: The bark is smooth, thin, and gray in color even on the largest stems. Beech bark diseases severely deforms the smooth bark.
- Form: A medium to large tree up to 100 feet tall with a rounded crown. Often found in thickets produced by root suckering. Old trees may be surrounded by a ring of young beech.
Castanea dentata American chestnut
- Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblong to lanceolate, 5 to 8 inches long, pinnately veined, sharply and coarsely serrated with each serration bearing a bristle tip, dark green above and paler below. Both sides are hairless.
- Flower: Monoecious; many small, pale green (nearly white) male flowers found tightly occuring along 6 to 8 inch catkins; females found near base of catkins (near twig), appearing in late spring to early summer.
- Fruit: Large, round spiny husk (very sharp), 2 to 2 1/2 inch in diameter, enclosing 2 to 3 shiny, chestnut brown nuts, 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter, mostly round but flattened on 1 or 2 sides ripen in early fall.
- Twig: Moderately stout, hairless, chestnut- to orange-brown in color, numerous lighter lenticels; buds are orange-brown, 1/4 inch long, covered with 2 or 3 scales (they somewhat resemble a kernel of wheat), buds are set slightly off center from semicircular leaf scar.
- Bark: Smooth and chestnut-brown in color when young, later shallowly fissured into flat ridges, older trees develop distictive large, interlacing ridges and furrows. Blight infested bark is sunken and split, often with orange fungal fruiting bodies.
- Form: Once a very tall, well formed, massive tree reaching over 100 feet tall. The chestnut is now found mostly as stump sprouts, less than 20 feet tall. Larger stems are often deformed by blight and sprouting below cankers.
Habit: Largest of the flowering plant families in terms of species diversity. Family is made up of herbs, shrubs, trees, and woody vines. Leaves are usually alternate, most commonly pinnate or bi-pinnate with stipules. Flowers usually perfect with inflorescence a solitary flower or racemes, or umbels. Fruit a legume.
Ecology: Members of this family are found worldwide.
Use: Economically one of the most important families due to the food crops it provides (peanuts, lentils, peas, soybeans, clover, alfalfa, cowpeas). Members in this family also used for soil restoration and to increase soil fertility.
Robinia pseudoacacia Black Locust
- Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, with 7 to 19 leaflets, 8 to 14 inches long. Leaflets are oval, one inch long, with entire margins. Leaves resemble sprigs of grapes; green above and paler below.
- Flower: Monoecious; perfect, showy and fragrant, white, 1 inch long and pea-like, borne in long (5 inches) hanging clusters, appear in mid to late spring.
- Fruit: Flattened legume, light brown, 2 to 4 inches long; containing 4 to 8 kidney-shaped, smooth, red-brown seeds, ripen in the fall.
- Twig: Zigzag, somewhat stout and angular, red-brown in color, numerous lighter lenticels. Paired spines at each leaf scar (often absent on older or slow growing twigs); buds are submerged beneath the leaf scar.
- Bark: Gray or light brown, thick and fibrous, heavily ridged and furrowed, resembles a woven rope.
- Form: A medium sized tree to 70 feet, with a relatively straight trunk and a crown of crooked branches. Often forms thickets by root suckering.
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