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Full text of "Common trees"

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COMMON TREES 

BY 

J. FRANCIS MACBRIDE 
Assistant Curator of the Herbarium 




Botany 

Leaflet 11 

Second Edition 



FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 

CHICAGO 
1936 






The Botanical Leaflets of Field Museum are designed to give 
brief, non-technical accounts of various features of plant life, especially 
with reference to the botanical exhibits in Field Museum, and of the 
local flora of the Chicago region. 

LIST OF BOTANICAL LEAFLETS ISSUED TO DATE 

No. 1. Figs $ .10 

No. 2. The Coco Palm 10 

No. 3. Wheat 10 

No. 4. Cacao 10 

No. 5. A Fossil Flower 10 

No. 6. The Cannon-ball Tree 10 

No. 7. Spring Wild Flowers 25 

No. 8. Spring and Early Summer Wild Flowers . . .25 

No. 9. Summer Wild Flowers 25 

No. 10. Autumn Flowers and Fruits 25 

No. 11. Common Trees (second edition) 25 

No. 12. Poison Ivy 15 

No. 13. Sugar and Sugar-making 25 

No. 14. Indian Corn 25 

No. 15. Spices and Condiments 25 

No. 16. Fifty Common Plant Galls of the Chicago Area .25 

No. 17. Common Weeds 25 

STEPHEN C. SIMMS, Director 



Field Museum of Natural History 

DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY 
Chicago, 1936 

Leaflet Number 11 



COMMON TREES 



AMERICAN ELM 

( Ulmus americana) 

Even before George Washington took command of the 
Revolutionary troops under the now famous "Washington 
Elm," of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the elm, native to 
our river woods, was being planted as a shade tree. The 
Washington tree has recently died but many of its con- 
temporaries are still among the finest planted examples 
of this historic American tree. The best-known elm near 
Chicago is probably the old Blackhawk Treaty Tree at 
Evanston. 

The elm's manner of growth is usually very charac- 
teristic, the main branches being nearly upright with their 
foliage-bearing terminal branchlets curving and drooping. 



Field Museum of Natural History 




FLOWERS OF AMERICAN ELM 



For a few days in very early spring, long before the 
leaves come out, the twigs appear "fuzzy" due to the 
opening of the small clustered blossoms. These tiny incon- 
spicuous flowers are followed by small wafer-like fruits. 



Common Trees 




LEAVES OF AMERICAN ELM 

The slippery elm, so-called because of its mucilaginous 
inner bark, may be distinguished by the very rough upper 
surfaces of its leaves. The leaves of the cork elm, another 
rather common species, are smooth on both sides and the 
branches are usually corky ridged. (Elm Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 




COTTONWOOD CATKINS 



Common Trees 




COTTONWOODS 
(Populus species) 

The cottonwoods or poplars belong to the willow 
family, but our species are all easily distinguished from 
the willows by their broad, somewhat heart-shaped leaves. 
The leaf stalks of most species are flattened at right 
angles to the leaf blades, which accounts for the charac- 
teristic trembling of the foliage in the slightest breeze. 

The sticky buds begin to swell in early spring and the 
long drooping catkins of flowers emerge before the leaves. 
The familiar "cotton" that for a time is so conspicuous 
about the tree contains the ripe seeds, which are thus 
readily dispersed by the wind. 

The white or silver poplar, the Lombardy poplar with 
characteristic spire-like habit, and the aspen are species 
of cottonwoods. (Willow Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 




WILLOWS 

(Salix species) 

One of the welcome signs of spring is the "pussy 
willow." It is the opening catkin of the male flowers, 
with numerous tiny willow blossoms partly concealed 
and protected by an abundance of soft hairs. Female 
flowers grow on separate plants. In some species the 
catkins appear with, in others before, the leaves. 



Common Trees 




FRUITING CATKINS OF WILLOW 

Only a few of the very many species are trees. An 
example is the white willow said to have been brought 
over from Europe by the Pilgrims. The black willow 
is perhaps the most easily recognized of all species because 
of the presence of two ear-like appendages at the base 
of each leaf. (Willow Family) 



Field Museum of Natural History 




FLOWERING WALNUT 



Common Trees 




BLACK WALNUT 

(Juglans nigra) 

To many "black walnut" suggests fine old furniture 
rather than the tree that supplies the wood. 

The leaves of this valuable tree consist of many 
leaflets along a central stalk. The edible fruit is well 
known, and so is the stain from the fresh hull. 

Black walnut is now often cultivated for its timber. 
It is also a desirable shade tree although it bears its foliage 
for only a short season. (Walnut Family) 



10 



Field Museum of Natural History 




BUTTERNUT IN FLOWER 



Common Trees 



11 




BUTTERNUT 

(Juglans cinerea) 

The white walnut, as this tree is often properly called, 
is distinguished from the black by the clammy character 
of its leaves and fruits. The nuts are good while fresh 
but soon become rancid. Like the black walnut, it is a 
handsome tree of rich woods. The leaves of the walnuts 
and butternuts are easily distinguished from those of the 
hickories by their more numerous leaflets. (Walnut 
Family) 



12 Field Museum of Natural History 




HICKORIES 

(Carya species) 

The popular hickory nuts of markets are mostly from 
the shag-bark hickory shown here. It is a fine tree with 
loose or shaggy bark, and leaves mostly consisting of five 
leaflets. The nuts of the related bitternut and pignut 
hickories are bitter. The bark of these two species, how- 
ever, is never loose and the husk of the fruit is compara- 
tively thin. 

Hickory leaves suggest those of the ash but unlike 
the leaves of the latter they are placed alternately on the 
branches. 

The very hard, tough wood is especially desirable for 
use in making tool handles. (Walnut Family) 



Common Trees 



13 




BIRCHES and ALDERS 

(Betula and Alnus) 

Birches and alders are rather small and slender trees 
with catkins produced either before or with the finely 
or sharply toothed leaves. The fruiting catkins of the 
alder are cone-like and persist on the tree for a long time. 
The white or paper birch, often grown for ornament, was 
the canoe birch of the Indians. (Birch Family) 



14 



Field Museum of Natural History 




BEECH FRUIT 



Common Trees 



15 




BEECH 

(Fagus grandifolia) 

The smooth light-gray bark of the tall-growing beech 
can be recognized from afar. The tree, moreover, has the 
habit of growing in groves or "pure stands" on rich 
uplands. 

Its leaves are strongly parallel- veined. The nuts are 
yellowish and when ripe in late autumn have a sweet 
kernel. Beech wood is considered particularly desirable 
for smoking meats. It is also used in the manufacture 
of creosote and for furniture and tools. (Beech Family) 



16 



Field Museum of Natural History 




WHITE OAK 
(Quercus alba) 
The acorn is the unique and well-known fruit of the 
oak. It is interesting to observe the different kinds, for 
they differ in size and shape for each species of oak. 



Common Trees 



17 




WHITE OAK CATKINS 



There are even several closely related kinds of 
white oaks. A common one is the bur oak with shaggy 
acorn cups. Another is the swamp white oak. Its leaves, 
and those of its relatives, the chestnut oaks, are very 
shallowly lobed, or have a margin merely wavy. (Beech 
Family) 



18 



Field Museum of Natural History 




RED OAK 

(Quercus species) 

This group of oaks, which includes the black oaks, 
is easily recognizable from all the white oaks by the 
sharp or bristle-like points of the leaf lobes. The various 
r.ed oaks are closely related and consequently distinguished 
with difficulty. Their wood is used mostly for cheap 
furniture. The white oaks supply more valuable wood 
for general construction and for furniture. (Beech Family) 




CHESTNUT BURS 



Common Trees 



19 











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AMERICAN CHESTNUT 
(Castanea dentata) 

This, the true American chestnut, is related to the 
oaks and beeches. Its prickly burs open on the tree after 
heavy frosts, releasing the sweet nuts which are familiar 
to us as "roasted chestnuts." The tree is tall and stately, 
a rapid grower, and is often planted for ornament. (Beech 
Family) 



20 



Field Museum of Natural History 




BLACK CHERRY FRUIT 



Common Trees 



21 



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BLACK CHERRY 

(Prunus serotina) 
The black fruit of the rum cherry, ripe in late summer, 
is better known than the attractive white blossoms borne 
in the spring. The tree grows in mixed woods and usually 
is rather irregular in form, although large and tall. The 
bitter bark is the source of a tonic drug. This cherry 
is related to the grape or bird cherry of Europe. (Rose 
Family) 



22 



Field Museum op Natural History 




PLANE TREE. SYCAMORE 
(Platanus occidentalis) 

The rather maple-like foliage and the characteristic 
pendent balls or "buttons" of small flowers or fruits and 
the smooth bark peeling off in broad plates are the con- 
spicuous features of this tree. Sometimes it is called 
buttonwood. 

It is at home in rich soils along streams where it is 
one of our largest and finest trees. (Plane Tree Family) 



Common Trees 



23 




LOCUSTS 
(Gleditsia and Robinia) 
The picture shows the pods of the honey locust, a 
large thorny tree with small green flowers that is often 
planted. The common or black locust has clusters of 
large fragrant white flowers and fewer and larger leaflets. 
It is not thorny. (Pea Family) 



24 



Field Museum of Natural History 




TREE OF HEAVEN 

(Ailanthus altissima) 
This tree can be distinguished easily from any other 
by its extremely long, compound leaves with very many 
leaflets, mostly borne near the tips of the thick branches. 
The branches are unusually robust and stocky. The 
small male and female flowers are produced on different 
individuals. The winged fruits, in large clusters, ripen 
late in autumn. 



Common Trees 



25 




FRUIT OF TREE OF HEAVEN 

The common name is said to refer to the great height 
the tree attains in China, its native land. It is frequent 
in America as a shade tree, particularly in cities, because 
of its immunity to smoke. Since it spreads by "suckers" 
it often forms clumps of many stems. (Quassia Family) 



26 



Field Museum of Natural History 











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FLOWERS OF RED MAPLE 



Common Trees 



27 




RED MAPLE 

{Acer rubrum) 

In early spring the bright red flowers of the swamp 
or red maple cover the leafless twigs and redden the low- 
land maple woods. In autumn the leaves turn crimson. 
They are characterized by the oblong or parallel-edged 
base of the middle lobe. 

This maple is sometimes planted as a shade tree. 
(Maple Family) 



28 



Field Museum of Natural History 




Common Trees 



29 




SUGAR MAPLE 
{Acer saccharum) 

The sugar or rock maple is the source of maple sugar, 
and its wood is highly valued. It is a slow-growing 
tree found in rich woods and is planted generally for its 
dense shade and for its brilliant, yellow and scarlet 
autumn foliage. 

The sugar maple unfolds its flowers and leaves at the 
same time. Its leaves are lobed but not toothed. (Maple 
Family) 



30 



Field Museum of Natural History 




ASHES 
(Fraxinus species) 

The foliage of the ash tree suggests that of the hickory, 
but the leaves of the ash are placed opposite each other. 
The fruit is winged, as is that of the maple, although it 
is not double like the latter, and it is often borne in large 
masses. The blossoms come out in tight bunches before 
the foliage. 



Common Trees 



31 




FRUITS OF ASH 



The ash is one of the last trees to leaf out in the 
spring, along with the oak and walnut, but drops its 
leaves early in the fall. Among the ashes are several 
species with exceptionally tough wood. (Olive Family) 



32 



Field Museum of Natural History 




HORSE CHESTNUT 



Common Trees 



33 




HORSE CHESTNUT. BUCKEYE 
(Aesculus species) 

The horse chestnut need never be confused with the 
chestnut, if the decided difference in the leaves is noticed, 
for they consist of seven leaflets, spreading fan-like from 
the end of the leaf stem. 

The horse chestnut is a European tree commonly 
planted, and now also escaped from cultivation, in this 
country. It has pyramidal clusters of showy white 
flowers spotted with purple and yellow. The Ohio buck- 
eye is a similar native tree but with usually only five 
leaflets, smoother fruit, and much less conspicuous blos- 
soms. (Buckeye Family) 



34 



Field Museum of Natural History 




LINDEN. BASSWOOD 
(Tilia americana) 

This is the famous "bee- tree" of rich woods, its 
fragrant cream-colored flowers, which appear in May 
or June, attracting myriads of bees. The honey is highly 
prized, especially by those who have become accustomed 
to it. 



Common Trees 



35 




LINDEN FRUIT 

The linden is a beautiful tree with a rounded top. 
It has an abundance of large heart-shaped leaves and is 
a favorite shade tree. Its flower and fruit stalks seem- 
ingly come out of the center of a wing-like structure. 
The round fruit is dry and woody. (Linden Family) 



36 



Field Museum of Natural History 




PODS OF CATALPA 



Common Trees 



37 




Courtesy of Frank M. Woodruff, Curator, The Chicago Academy of Sciences 



CATALPA 

(Catalpa species) 

The catalpa and the horse chestnut are our showiest 
trees when in bloom. The catalpa has loose clusters of 
large bell-shaped white flowers, which bloom for several 
weeks. The very large, heart-shaped leaves borne on 
long stalks mark the tree well. Its long cylindrical pods, 
known as Indian beans, filled with winged seeds, remain 
on the tree until spring. 

The catalpa has been generally planted for ornament, 
and in groves for its rapid production of rot-resistant wood, 
but the tree is readily injured by the wind and is very 
subject to attack by insects. (Trumpet Vine Family) 



38 



Field Museum of Natural History 




white PINE 



Common Trees 



39 




PINE 
(Pinus species) 

There are many different species of pines, but they 
can all be recognized from other evergreen trees by the 
bundled needle-like leaves. The white pine shown in the 
picture has five needles in each bundle ; most other species 
have only two or three. 

Pines grow in the northern hemisphere and are very 
important timber trees. Some have large seeds, known 
as "pine nuts." (Pine Family) 



40 



Field Museum of Natural History 




spruce 



Common Trees 



41 




SPRUCE 
(Picea species) 

Spruces are, perhaps, the most popular evergreens in 
cultivation. Their branches are usually arranged closely 
in whorls, which partly accounts for their dense habit. 
Colorado spruce, often planted, has a gray-blue hue. 

The needles of the spruce always occur singly on the 
branchlets and are never in bundles. The cones do not 
fall readily or break up. (Pine Family) 



42 



Field Museum of Natural History 




fir 



Common Trees 



43 




FIR 

(Abies species) 

The fir trees are very similar to spruces in general 
appearance and also have their needles borne singly. 
They can be distinguished easily if the leaves are closely 
observed, for these are flat. Those of the spruce are 
keeled on both surfaces, making them four-sided. 

Some species of firs are among our largest and most 
valuable timber trees. (Pine Family) 



44 



Field Museum of Natural History 




TAMARACK. LARCH 

(Larix species) 
In the summertime this tree with spreading branches 
resembles an evergreen but its soft leaves or needles fall 
with the frost. They are in bundles like those of the 
pine, but there are many of them in each bundle and they 
are borne on a curious knob. The tamarack grows in 
swamps. (Pine Family)