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From the collection of the 

^ v^ Jjibrary 

San Francisco, California 





., V -*^^> 


It gives the author and artist great pleasure to 
acknowledge their indebtedness to the following 
kind people who helped them in gathering and 
authenticating the material for this book: Elizabeth 
C. Hall, Librarian, Dr. H. A. Gleason, E. J. Alex- 
ander, of the New York Botanical Garden; Hazel 
Gay, Librarian, and Dr. H. K. Svenson. of the Amer- 
ican Museum of Natural History, New York. Spe- 
cial thanks to Clarence Lewis, Senior Instructor of 
the Long Island Agricultural and Technical Insti- 
tute, and to Carlton B. Lees of the Brooklyn Botanic 
Garden for their kindness in providing much of the 
living material used in the drawings in this book. 
Thanks also to Frederick Titus of the Harkness 
Estate, Glen Cove, L. I.; Joy Postle, Orlovista, 
Florida; W. D. Brush, University of Florida; Dr. T. 
W. Daniel, Utah State Agricultural College; Dr. 
Dale A. Buchanan, United States Department of 
Agriculture, Plumas National Forest, Quincy, Calif 

Copyright 1951 by Franklin Watts, Inc. 

Printed in the United States of America 
by W. S. Konecky Associates 







Director, Roger Williams Park Museum 
Providence, R. I. 

Pictures by HELENE CARTER 






Winter bud 


Growth of a tree 8 

Seeds 13 

Eastern cottonwood 14 

American basswood, or linden 15 

American elm . 16 

Leaf scars 17 

Leaves 18, 19 

Sycamore 21 

Sweet gum . . . . : 22 

Black walnut 23 

Twigs ., 24 

Shagbark hickory 27 

Mockernut hickory 28 

Trunk of a tree 30 

Northern red oak 32 

Pin oak 33 

Black oak 34 

Canyon live oak 35 

Live oak 36 

White oak 37 

Canoe birch 3& 

Gray birch 39 

White ash 40 

Catalpa 41 

Longleaf pine 43 

Pinyon pine 44 

Ponderosa pine 45 

Lodgepole pine 46 

Loblolly pine 47 

Jack pine 48 

Pitch pine 49 

Eastern and western white pine 50 

Eastern white pine tree 51 

Blue spruce 53 

Small maps show 

Red spruce 54 

Eastern hemlock 55 

Douglas fir 56 

Balsam fir 57 

White fir 58 

Northern white cedar 59 

Common juniper 60 

Utah juniper 61 

Giant sequoia 62 

Redwood 63 

Tamarack, or eastern larch 64 

Western larch 65 

Simple leaves 66 

Compound leaves 67 

Horse chestnut 68 

Ailanthus 69 

Honey locust 70 

Black locust 71 

Sugar maple 72 

Norway maple 73 

Red maple 74 

Silver maple 75 

Bigleaf maple 76 

Bald cypress 78 

Cypress swamp 79 

American beech 81 

Quaking aspen 82 

Tulip tree 83 

Joshua tree 84 

Black willow » . . 85 

Pussy willow 86 

Sassafras 90 

Ginkgo 91 

natural range of tree 


America is a land of trees. They grow almost everywhere 
in our country. Most of us see them so often that we some- 
times forget how important they are. Thousands and 
thousands of things come from trees. Right this minute 
you may be sitting in a chair made partly of wood from a 
tree. You may live in a wooden house. Perhaps you are 
wearing a rayon blouse. That was made from wood treated 
in a special way. The paper in this book was made from 
wood pulp, which comes from trees. You may have a camera 
and like to take pictures. The film you use was made from 
wood. Perhaps you had an orange for breakfast this morn- 
ing. That came from a tree. Apples, nuts, maple sugar, 
hickory baseball bats... you can think of many things that 
we wouldn't have if there were no trees. 


A tree is a special kind of green plant with a wooden 
stem that grows upward. This stem is covered with bark 
and is called a trunk. Most trees have a single main trunk, 
but sometimes this divides into two or more. 

Most trees have branches growing from the big trunk. 

Air comes in to 
leaf through tiny 
windows in its 

Out of air and 
water, the leaf 
makes sugar. 

Sugar is changed 
into wood. 

Only green leaves 
can make food. No 
animals can make 
one morsel of food. 
If the green leaves 
went on strike we 
could not live on 
the earth. 

Water is taken 
from the soil par- 
ticles by each root 

Sunlight falls on 
the green leaf and 
gives it the energy 
to do its work. 

A big tree gives off 
fifty barrels a day 
as vapor. It mois- 
tens the winds. 
The leaf also gives 
off oxygen as a by- 
product of sugar- 

Water is passed up 
through the root, 
trunk, branch and 
twig into the stem 
of the leaf and out 
through the veins 
to each cell, where 
sugar is made. 

A growing tree, the most wonderful factory in the world 

Growing from these are smaller branches, and from these, 
even smaller twigs. All these spread out into various shapes 
—a different one for each kind of tree. The twigs hold the 
buds, leaves, flowers and seeds. 

Trees have roots that spread underground in great net- 
works that help to anchor them to the earth and keep them 
from being blown over. 

Trees live a long time. Some may have lived 5,000 years. 
They go on growing year after year instead of dying each 
fall when frost comes, as many plants do. 


In one way trees are like all plants with green leaves. 
They make their own food out of air and water. In the 
water are little bits of mineral. Imagine being able to make 
your food from water and the air you breathe. 

You are probably wondering what kind of food trees can 
make. They make sugar. We all know the sugar from one 
kind of tree: maple sugar. We get it from the tree's sap. 
Other trees make sugar, too, but we do not use it to eat. 

The trees use some of their sugar day by day for their 
needs. They make the rest into wood. 

It is strange to think of a tree making food from only 
air and water. No one really understands exactly how it 
does this, but we do know that chemistry helps. 

Air and water are made up of little atoms, or blocks, of 
the very chemicals needed to make sugar. 

Air is made of carbon, oxygen and some other substances. 
Water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. To make sugar you 
need all three things: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The 
trick is to take air and water apart and put them together 
again in the right way to make sugar. 

This is done in the weaves. Each leaf is a little work-shop. 
It does its work with the heat from the sun, and only green 
leaves can do it. The green coloring in leaves is called 
chlorophyll, a long word that comes from two Greek words 
meaning "leaf" and "green." Chlorophyll and sunlight are 
what leaves need to change air and water into sugar. 

Leaves get air through many tiny windows all over their 
surfaces. The water comes from farther away. The little 
root hairs on the underground roots take in moisture from 
the ground. The roots and trunk have special tubes just 
made for passing the water upward. Other tubes pass it 
out through every branch and every twig until it fiows into 
all the leaves. Each leaf has its own waterways, called 
veins. They carry water to every part of the leaf. 

Now the leaf has all it needs to make sugar. It splits the 
air and water and rebuilds the chemicals into sugar. Each 
night, when there is no more sunlight, and the leaf's work 
is done, it passes the liquid sugar down through other spe- 
cial tubes under the bark to the trunk and roots for storage. 

In great chemical laboratories, scientists are trying to 
discover the leaf's secret. If we could copy it we might take 


the leaf -green chlorophyll and make food for ourselves. Up 
until now only green plants have ever done this. 

And while they are doing it they purify the air. Pure 
oxygen, left over from food-making, flows out of the leaf 
windows. Out of them, too, comes moisture. The moisture 
and oxygen air-condition the places where the plants grow. 
That is why the air in a forest is so pleasant to breathe. 


Each part of the tree has its special job to do. The roots 
anchor the tree and hold it firmly in the earth. They also 
store food. The little root hairs collect water to send up to 
the leaves. 

The trunk supports the branches and twigs. It has the 
tubes that take water up and food down. 

The branches hold the twigs. The twigs hold the buds, 
leaves, flowers and seeds. Notice that each leaf seems to be 
reaching up for the sun. Each stem bends and twists until 
its leaf gets all the sunlight it can. If you stand under a 
tree in summer it makes an almost perfect parasol. 

The bark is a waterproof coating that covers the wood 
of the tree. It helps keep the water inside of the trunk, and 
protects the food tubes that are just under the bark. Many 
animals eat bark. Porcupines and beavers strip it off for 
food. Hungry deer eat it in winter. Then the trunk is un- 
protected. The food tubes are broken, and often the tree 


dies. Sometimes a tree heals over, where bark was stripped 
off, but an ugly wart or lump is left on the tree. 

Trees have three kinds of buds: some that make leaves, 
some that make flowers, and some that make both leaves 
and flowers. Different trees have different kinds of buds. 

Different trees have different kinds of flowers, too. 
Some, like those on the catalpa and horse chestnut, are 
large, beautiful and showy. Others are small, dull and not 
very noticeable. The flowers are male and female. Some- 
times the male and female parts are both in the same blos- 
som. Sometimes there are two separate kinds of flowers, 
male and female, on the same tree — oaks, hickories and 
birches are among those that are like this. And sometimes 
the male and female flowers grow on separate trees — wil- 
lows and poplars are two that are like this. The male flower 
makes a powder called pollen, which blows onto the female 
flower, or is carried there by bees and other insects, and 
starts the making of seeds and fruit. And the seeds and 
fruit scatter to grow into new trees. 


Trees have seeds shaped in many ways so that they will 
spread as far as possible, to grow. 

Some of the seeds have wings to help them float through 
the air. Maple trees have twin-winged seeds called keys. 
They look like old-fashioned clock keys. 


Eastern cottonwood 

Northern white cedar 

Cottonwood seeds are covered with white fluff, like 
cotton, to help them float some distance through the air. 
The basswood tree has seeds in clusters of little balls, with 
a sort of airplane rudder on each cluster to carry it away. 
Some trees, like pines, have their seeds in cones, and each 
seed has a wing. When the cone opens, the seeds blow away. 
Bladdernut's seeds float on the water like air-chamber 
canoes. Many trees have fruits you can eat. These fruits 
are the tree's way of tempting animals and people to take 
the seeds and scatter them. Be sure to notice the seeds of 
trees. They come in surprise packages, very neatly designed. 
It's fun to watch for them. 


FLOWERS: In drooping catkins, ap 
pearing before the leaves. 


Populus deltoides 

Deciduous. Grows to 1 00 feet. One of 
the poplar family, to which the quak- 
ing aspen also belongs. Like the aspen, 
the Cottonwood has leaves forever 
rustling. This is a tree that can endure 
the prairie heat and cold, and was a 
blessing to the pioneers on their west- 
ward journey. Where no other tree 
would grow, there was the cotton- 
wood, A fast-growing tree that is used 
only for very rough lumber. 


LEAVES: 4-6 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate. Shiny and green, wide at the 
bottom, but ending in a sharp point. 


FRUIT: Seeds in small balls, formed 
after flowers. Wing-like leaf is pro- 
peller when balls drop from tree. 

LEAVES: 3-6 inches long. Simple; 
alternate. Shaped somewhat like a 
heart, but with a sudden sharp point 
at the tip. Yellow in autumn. 

FLOWERS: Clusters of small white 
flowers, hanging on stalks; each stalk 
joined to a wing-like leaf. 


Tilia americana 

Deciduous. Grows to about 100 feet. 
Bees love the fragrant jfiowers of this 
tree, and make a fine honey from their 
nectar. The inner bark has a tough 
fiber that Indians used to make rope 
and thread. Also called "linden," 
"lime," and "limetree." 

LEAVES: 2-5 inches long. Simple; 
alternate. With evenly spaced veins 
branching out from either side of a 
midrib. Edges toothed like a saw. 
Yellow in fall. 

FLOWERS: Small green and red clus- 
ters that develop into seeds, each 
surrounded by a broad flat wing. 


Ulmus americana 

Deciduous. Grows to about 100 feet, 
sometimes higher. This graceful tree 
is the glory of many an old New Eng- 
land village, where elms tower above 
the houses in shapes like spreading 
vases. The Iroquois Indians used its 
bark for canoes, or twisted it for mak- 
ing rope. The strong wood can be 
scoured to a gleaming white. It makes 
good lumber for many things, among 
them shipbuilding, flooring, and fur- 


In many parts of the world there is a season each year 
when it is either very cold or very dry. During this season, 
the trees stop working and wait for warmer or moister 
weather to come again. And many trees lose their leaves. 
You remember that all summer long they gave off moisture. 
If they did this in winter when they can get no water from 
the soil, they would die. They are "deciduous" trees. 

Most trees with broad leaves like maples and elms must 
drop their leaves in autumn. That is why we have given 
this season another name: fall. 

Before each leaf drops, it seals up the spot where it grew 
from the twig. It does this with a layer of cork. So, when the 
leaf drops there is no open wound where it left the tree, but 
a nicely healed cork scar. This is called a leaf scar. 

Each kind of tree has its own kind of scar, always 
shaped the same way. The horse chestnut has one that 
looks somewhat like a horseshoe, with little dots that look 
like nails in the shoe. These dots mark the ends of the tubes 
that brought water up to the leaf. 

t "~'.S ' Horse chestnut leaf scar 

Before they fall, some leaves turn to brilliant shades of 
red, yellow and purple. This is because they are stopping 
work and they no longer have green chlorophyll. Without 
chlorophyll, leaves fade to yellow. But some kinds of trees 
that live in cool climates and that are very rich in sugar 
turn other colors. Oak and maple leaves are often very red, 
ash are sometimes purplish, and sweet gum may be red and 
yellow, red and orange, or purple. 


If you look closely at twigs on several different kinds of 
trees, you'll see that their leaves do not all grow out in the 
same way. Some of them branch out from the twig in pairs, 
directly opposite to each other. When they do this they are 
called "opposite" leaves. Horse chestnut, ash and maples 
grow this way. Other leaves grow one on one side of the 
twig, the next on the other side of the twig, higher up, the 
next on the first side, still higher up, and so on, taking turns 
growing on either side of the twig. These are "alternate" 
leaves. Alternate means taking turns. Elm, basswood and 
beech grow in this way. Still other leaves grow in a circle 
of three or more around the twig in what is called a whorl. 

C Ota I pa 

These are "whorled" leaves. The best-known tree that 
grows this way is the catalpa. Each kind of tree has its 
own kind of leaf plan that never changes. That is one way 
you can tell which tree it is. 


Leaves don't grow out on twigs just anywhere. There 
are very exact points where they can grow. We call these 
points on the twig the "nodes." Nodes are easy to see. In 
summer there is a leaf at most of them. 

Now look just above the place where one of the leaves 
grows from the twig. Here is an angle that is called the leaf's 
"axil," or armpit. You can see that the leaf's armpit really is 
shaped much the way your armpit is, only it faces up in- 
stead of down. In the leaf's armpit you will see a little bud 
on the twig. Some trees may fool you. A sycamore leaf looks 
as if it has no bud. But just pull the leaf stem off. The bud 

Horse chestnut 

is hidden on the twig inside the stem. A sycamore leaf's 
stem is hollow and fits right over the bud. Walnut and 
butternut leaves sometimes have more than one bud in 
each armpit. All these armpit buds are called side buds 
because they are on the side of the twigs. 

Most twigs also have buds at their tips. These are called 
end buds. 

All these buds are very important. They show you where 
the tree will grow the next year. Nothing can grow out of 
a branch except from a bud. 


After the leaves fall off the trees in autumn these buds 
lie quiet all winter long. In the spring they start to grow. 
They may be flower buds, or leaf buds, or they may be 
mixed buds that will grow both flower and leaf. Flowers 
and leaves were formed last summer and have been packed 
away all winter long in the tightly sealed buds. They need 
only water and the warmth of the spring sun to make them 
swell and burst from the bud. 

New twigs grow from buds, too. They grow from side 
buds, and, in time, will become branches. The end buds 
of each twig and branch grow a new little section each year, 
also. Some grow barely an inch, others many feet in a single 
year. Wrinkled lines all around the twig mark the place 
where it started growing each year, as in the sweet gum. 



Platanus occidentalis 

Deciduous. Grows to 120 feet, some- 
times more. This is one of the biggest 
of our hardwood trees, with sturdy 
trunk and long side branches. You can 
always tell it by the bark, which peels 
off in large flakes to leave white, 
green or yellowish spots in a giraffe- 
like pattern. Also called "buttonwood" 
for its seed balls; or "plane tree," 

FLOWERS: Two kinds — not very 
noticeable: small red clusters; 
and small green balls on thread- 
like stems. 


Liquid ambar styraciflua 

Deciduous. Grows to 120 feet. This 
tree is at its finest in the South, where 
it is an important lumber tree. Every- 
thing about it is striking. Its leaves, 
star-shaped, and brilliant-colored in 
fall, may well be the handsomest of 
any forest tree. The inner wood of the 
twig is star-shaped, too. The seed balls, 
hanging on in winter, give the tree an 
always-decorated look. Especially in 
the South, the bark gives off a fragrant 
gum. The tree is also called "liquid- 
ambar," for its gum; "red gum," for its 
reddish heartwood; and"alligatortree" 
because it sometimes has rough bark 
that looks like alligator skin. 

LEAVES: About 7 inches long. Sim- 
ple; alternate, or growing in clus- 
ters at tips of branches. Star-shaped, 
5-7 points; shiny green. Red, yel- 
low, orange or purplish in autumn. 

FRUIT: Seeds, some winged, some 
unwinged, which drop in autumn 
from brown seed balls. Empty balls 
often hang on tree all winter, like 

FLOWERS: Two kinds -clusters of 
green stalks, 2 or 3 inches long, at 
end of new growth; and green balls 
about one inch across, hanging 
from stems at base of leaves. 

'^'JCFof MtX 

FLOWERS: Two kinds — drooping 


Juglans nigra 

Deciduous. Grows to 100 feet, some- 
times more. A magnificent tree that 
loves rich soils and lots of sunshine. 
The wood is beautiful, with an unusual 
grain; it takes a soft, satiny finish. This 
is one of our best woods for furniture. 
Black walnut is a favorite for making 
gunstocks; it is light and seems to re- 
sist the shock of gunfire. This tree's 
bark was often used by the pioneers 
in making dye: a yellow one. 

LEAVES: 1-2 feet long. Compound; 
each leaf made up of 15-23 leaflets, 
each about 3 inches long; alternate. 
Graceful and feather-like. 



This is the way that a tree's branches grow longer and 
spread out each year: They grow a Httle at the tip, and also 
branch out from side buds. As a twig or branch grows, its 
tip moves forward each year. 

A branch doesn't grow longer each year between the 
places where there are buds. It makes new buds at its nodes 
and tip each summer and lets them lie quiet all winter. 
Then in the spring it grows from the new buds. Notice the 
distance between the branches on a tree. Several years 
from now they will be the same distance apart because a 
tree grows wider and taller from the tips of its twigs and 
branches only. It starts new branches from its side buds. 

If you want to see how the buds grow, gather some twigs 
in February or March and put them in some water in a 
warm, light place indoors. Notice how different the buds 
are. Some are covered with scales like overlapping shingles. 
Some of the scales are sticky, like the horse chestnut bud's. 
Some buds, like the walnut's, are covered with a sort of 
wool instead of with scales. The scales and wool protect 
the buds against cold weather. Change the water for your 
indoor buds everyday, and soon they will swell and start 
to grow. 


End and side buds of tulip tree 

Wrinkled twig of Norway maple 
showing growth 


Trees grow in another way each year. They grow bigger 
around. To understand the way they do this, you must un- 
derstand what the trunk of a tree is like. It is round, and 
covered with a layer of bark. Under the bark is a very thin 
layer of food tubes all around the tree. These are made of 
many long little tubes joined end to end, with little sieves 
between them. They are called "sieve tubes." Through 
these the food travels downward from the leaves, passing 
through the sieves from one little tube to the next one. 

Farther inside the tree is another collection of tubes 
through which the water passes upward from the roots to 
the leaves on the twigs. 

Between these two sets of tubes is the important part 
of the trunk that makes it grow bigger around each year. 
This is another very thin layer all around the tree. Each 
spring this little layer starts growing out thicker. It adds 
new layers of growth to the food and water tubes on either 
side of it. This makes the trunk bigger all around. The same 
thing happens in all the branches, too. 

The tree does this growing in the spring and early sum- 
mer. By midsummer the thin growing layer has finished its 
work and the trunk is through growing till the next year. 

Look at the trunk of a tree that has been cut down. You 
can see how much the tree grew each year. Each year's 


layer of growth looks like a double ring on the trunk. There 
is a ring of light-colored wood that grew in spring when 
there was plenty of water, and there is a ring of dark- 
colored wood that grew in early summer when water was 
scarcer. It is darker because it grew more slowly. 

As the tree gets bigger around each year, the older parts 
in the middle of its trunk and branches become solid wood 
that cannot grow any more. This is called "heartwood" and 
is darker-colored than the newer wood around it. The new 
part toward the outer edge of the trunk is the "sapwood." 
The part of the tree that makes it bigger around each year 
is just a thin growing layer not far below the bark. 


Of course, as trees grow bigger around, their bark must 
grow bigger, too. The very innermost part of the bark keeps 
making new layers of cork to protect the inside of the tree. 
As the tree grows larger and larger the outside bark 
stretches so far that it splits. That is why the outer bark of 
many trees is so rough and ridged. 

Each kind of tree has bark that splits in its own special 
way. Shagbark hickory bark hangs from the tree in long 
shaggy strips; sycamore bark peels off in patches; white 
ash bark cracks into a network of regular little ridges, al- 
most diamond-shaped. Old woodsmen can tell trees apart 
just by their bark. 


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FLOWERS: Two kinds -clusters of 
hanging catkins; and small spikes 
covered with rust-colored down. 

LEAVES: 8-14 inches long. Com- 
pound, usually made up of 5 leaflets— 
the three upper ones 4-6 inches long 
— the lower ones shorter; alternate. 
Dark green above, paler below. 

FRUIT: A nut enclosed in a thick 
husk about 2 V2 inches around. 
When ripe the husk splits into 
four parts, showing nut. 


Carya ovata 

Deciduous. Grows to 90 feet, often 
more. It's easy to see how this tree got 
its name; on older trees the bark splits 
in great plates, sometimes one foot 
long, which curl away from the trunk, 
giving the shagbark a truly shaggy 
look. Shagbark hickory nuts are sweet, 
and fine to eat. Its wood is tough and 
strong and makes excellent handles 
for tools. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds -long cat- 
kins and small blooms in spikes. 


Carya tomentosa 

Deciduous. Grows to 90 feet. The shell 
of this nut looks so big that you ex- 
pect to find a large kernel inside when 
you open it. The joke is on you. After 
all the work of cracking the shell, the 
kernel is tiny. It mocks and teases you. 
That's the "why" of its name. Also 
called "white hickory"— or "bigbud 
hickory" because the end buds on the 
twigs are unusually large. This is the 
toughest of all the tough hickory 

* . ■# 


LEAVES: 8-12 inches long. Com- 
pound, made up of 5, 7, or 9 leaf- 
lets, each from 3 to 8 inches long; 
alternate. Top leaflets are bigger 
than bottom ones, giving the leaf 
a top-heavy look. Leaves dark 
green above, paler below. Yellow 
in fall. 

FRUIT: Small four-cornered nut, 
inside thick brown husk, 2 inches 


Like the branches, the tree's roots also grow longer each 
year at their tips. Right behind the tips grow the root hairs 
that take in the water to send up to the leaves. Old root hairs 
die after a while, but new ones keep forming behind the root 
tips as they grow. Roots also have places where they branch 
out; and they grow bigger around each year. 


Trees furnish many clues to anyone who wishes to do a 
little detective work to find out their stories. You can only 
guess at the age of a living tree. A pine may grow a foot 
thick in 50 years; an oak may take 100 years to grow that 
large. But by counting the double rings on a tree trunk— 
a double ring for each year— you can be quite sure of the 
age of a tree that has been cut down. 

Rings aren't always the same width throughout a tree. 
In rainy years, trees grow fast and make thick rings of new 
wood; in dry years they don't grow so much and their rings 
are thin. By looking at the width of the rings you can tell 
how much the tree grew each year; and which years of its 
life were rainy and which were dry. 

People have been able to discover the ages of old Indian 
pueblos by the rings in the wooden beams. They matched 
the rings in these old timbers to rings of trees just like them 
whose age they knew. 


i r^i^' 

Trunk rings 

By studying the width of rings in old trees, scientists are 
also working out a history of the past weather in some 
parts of the country that are now desert. The wide rings 
tell them that once rain was more plentiful. 

You can tell how old twigs are by looking at the growth 
scars that are like rings in the bark around them. Each ring 
counts for one year. 

By looking at the twigs and leaf buds of a little tree you 
can tell quite well what shape it is going to be when it is 
full-grown. If there are no side buds at all, the tree trunk 
will not branch. It will grow up straight like a column, with 
leaves on the top. Palm trees do this. 


A tree with side buds will have branches. Sometimes the 
side branches do not grow very much and the end buds do 
most of the growing. This makes tall, slender trees like 
Lombardy poplars. 

Other trees have side buds that grow more than their 
end buds. You can tell these by their round shapes. Each 
spring, new twigs grow from the side buds. These make 
the tree spread out. Apple, pear and other fruit trees have 
side buds that grow as much or more than their end buds. 
They are round-headed trees. 


Each kind of tree has its own special way of growing, 
its own bark, buds, flowers, leaves and seeds. You can learn 
to tell the trees apart if you start noticing these things. 
Match them to the pictures in this book and you will find 
out the names of many trees. 

Perhaps you already know that the acorn is from an oak, 
and you'd never mistake it for a hickory nut. The white 
birch has a papery bark you couldn't forget. 

In winter, even leaf scars help you tell the trees apart. 
White ash has a scar like a half moon. Catalpa's is round 
like the mark of a signet ring. Winter buds are different 
for each tree, too. 

But the very easiest way to tell trees apart is by their 
leaves. You can soon learn to recognize them. 



Quercus borealis 

Deciduous. Grows to 90 feet. The Latin 
name for the oaks is "quercus," which 
comes from an old word meaning 
"beautiful tree." Like the other oaks, 
this one deserves the name. It is a well- 
shaped tree with wide branches spread- 
ing into a crown of leaves. Twigs and 
bark are reddish brown, and heart- 
wood and inner bark are often reddish. 
Its acorns are bitter, not good to eat. 

FRUIT: Acorns 1-1 Va inches 
long, rising high from shallow 

FLOWERS: Two kinds — long droop- 
ing catkins; and small greenish 
blooms on spikes. 

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LEAVES: 5-9 inches long. Simple; 
alternate. Leaves have 5 to 1 1 
lobes, each with a bristle at its tip. 
Dark green on top, paler under- 
neath. In fall, leaves are red or 

FRUIT: Small reddish-brown acorns 
about Va inch long, in saucer-shaped 

LEAVES: 3-6 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate. Shining green on top. paler 
underneath. Red in autumn. Cut out 
into 5 or 7 lobes with bristles at 
their tips. 



Quercus palustris 

Deciduous. Grows to 85 feet, some- 
times taller. This is a more slender tree 
than many of the oaks, and its main 
trunk grows up very straight through 
the center, instead of spreading into 
large branches. Many short branch- 
lets, a little like pins, grow from the 
bigger branches. These can be seen 
easily in winter; they gave the tree its 
name. The pioneers made them into 
wooden pins, which they used instead 
of nails in building. This fine tree is 
often planted for ornament. 

LEAVES: 3-6 inches long. Simple; 
alternate. Shiny and dark green 
above, paler underneath. Red in 
autumn. Leaves usually have 7 
lobes, each with a bristle at its tip. 
Leaves on one tree may be of vari- 
ous shapes, some more deeply cut 

FRUIT: Acorns V2 to -^4 of an inch 
long, either on short stalks or with- 
out stalks. Bitter, not good to feat. 


Quercus velutina 

Deciduous. Grows to 80 feet, some- 
times more. There are ways to tell this 
oak from the others. Its winter buds 
are covered with a light brown down, 
and its young leaves are hairy. This 
may be why it has a Latin name com- 
ing from the word for "fleece." Also, 
the inner bark is orange yellow. In 
early days, the pioneers made a dye 
from it. The branches of this tree di- 
vide to make a spreading shape, very 
noticeable in winter, when its crooked 
branches show in outline against the 



FLOWERS: Two kinds -clusters of 
long catkins; and small blooms on 
short stems. 


Quercus chrysolepis 

Evergreen. Grows to 80 feet, some- 
times taller. This oak lives on dry can- 
yon bottoms, or open slopes; its shape 
and size depend on where it is. In nar- 
row canyons, it is tall and slim, reach- 
ing for the sun. In open places, it is 
short and broad, spreading out side- 
ways to make a tree sometimes over 
1 00 feet across. In high places, it grows 
almost like a shrub. The acorn cups, 
often covered with yellow down, give 
this tree another name: "yellow-cup 
oak." Still another name is "California 
live oak." It is slow-growing, but lives 
as long as 300 years. 

FRUIT: Acorns, 1/2-2 inches long, 
either on very short stalks, or with 
no stalks at all. 


Quercus virginiana 

Evergreen. Grows to about 50 feet. A 
beautiful tree that branches out a Ht- 
tle above the ground so that it often 
is wider than it is tall. Its huge trunk 
holds up a great weight. In the far 
South, Spanish moss hanging from its 
branches makes it even lovelier. The 
wood is strong and very heavy. In 
Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas is the 
Live Oak Society which people have 
formed of trees that are at least a hun- 
dred years old. A tree in Louisiana is 
its "president." Each tree has its pro- 
tector. This tree's acorns were eaten 
by Indians. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds— yellow droop- 
ing catkins; and small flowers on 

LEAVES: 2-5 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate. Shining dark green above, 
paler and downy beneath. Edges are 
slightly rolled under. Leaves stay on 
tree for about 13 months, then turn 
brown and drop, as new leaves push 
them off. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds -clusters of 
drooping catkins; spikes of small 

FRUIT: Shiny brown acorns, ^^-l 
inch long. Birds and animals eat this 
sweet-flavored nut. 


LEAVES: 5-9 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate; with 5-9 rounded lobes on 
each leaf no bristles at tips. Shiny 
green above, paler below. Red in 



Quercus alba 

Deciduous. Grows to 80 feet, some- 
times taller. The mightiest of our 
mighty oaks— a big, strong, branching 
tree that sometimes lives for hundreds 
of years; trunk may be six or eight 
feet around. One of the trees that the 
early pioneers used, not only in build- 
ing but in other ways. Indians taught 
them to boil the acorns and prepare 
them as food. The settlers learned to 
plant their corn when the young oak 
leaves were the size of a mouse's ears 
— just as the Indians did. And they 
used the bark in tanning leather. 
Many of our wooden ships were made 
of white oak. This is still one of our 
most useful trees for lumber; it is used 
in many ways. 

FRUIT: Like a cone, packed full of 
tiny seeds. A little over an inch long. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds -hanging clus- 
ters of brown catkins; small green 
cones, standing upright. 

LEAVES: 2-3 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate. Round at base, with sharp 
tips and toothed edges. 



Betula papyrifera 

Deciduous, Grows to 75 feet. This is 
one of our loveliest trees, with gleam- 
ing white bark and graceful branches. 
The bark is waterproof and peels 
readily from the tree. The Indians 
made canoes of it, used it in making 
dishes and baskets, for covering tepees, 
and for kindling their fires. Also called 
"paper birch," because of its thin 
paper-like top bark.. 

LEAVES: 2-3 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate, growing singly or in pairs. 
Triangle-shaped, with pointed tips 
and toothed edges. Shiny green on 
top, paler underneath. Yellow in fall. 



Betula popuUfolia 

Deciduous. Grows to 30 feet. Very 
quick to spring up in burned-over 
places or abandoned fields with poor 
soil. For this reason often called "pov- 
erty birch" or "old field birch." A slen- 
der, graceful tree, with leaves that 
flutter almost as steadily as the aspens 
do. Looks a little like the paper birch 
—you'd know they belong to the same 


Fraxinus americana 

Deciduous. Grows to 80 feet. A fine 
spreading tree, lovely in the spring 
with the tinted mist of its flowers, and 
glowing in the fall with the unusual 
colors of its leaves. Its wood is light 
yet strong, and is used for making 
baseball bats, other sporting equip- 
ment, furniture and many things. 

FLOWERS: Small tufts, appearing be- 
fore leaves in spring. 



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FLOWERS: In showy clusters about 
6 inches long; white, with a few 
blotches of yellow or brown inside. 
Very fragrant; bees like their nectar. 



Catalpa speciosa 

Deciduous. Grows to 60 feet. "Catal- 
pa" comes from a Creek Indian word, 
meaning "head with wings." The In- 
dians gave it this name because of its 
flowers, with the petals branching out 
on either side. The leaves, flowers and 
pods of this tree are so unusual that 
it's very easy to recognize. People like 
to plant it because it is very decorative. 

LEAVES: 6-12 inches long. Simple; 
opposite, or growing in whorls. Big 
heart-shaped leaves with long points; 
light green on top, paler and hairy 
underneath. Leaves often turn black 
after frost. 


There are two sorts of trees: those that lose their leaves 
in autumn and those that keep them all winter. The trees 
that keep their leaves are the evergreens. Some of these 
have broad leaves, but most of them have thin leaves like 
needles. Trees with this kind of leaf are called needle- 
leaved trees. Needle-leaved trees do drop their leaves some- 
time, but most of them do not do it all at once. Most of 
them wait until after new needles grow before the old ones 
drop off. So these trees are never bare. Some needle- 
leaved trees keep their leaves for several years. 

Evergreen trees have leaves that are covered with a thick 
wax. This keeps them from losing much water in winter 
when the ground is frozen or dry, so they do not need 
to drop. 

Most needle-leaved trees have cones to hold their seeds. 
You probably have seen pine cones. Most needle-leaved 
trees have cones something like these, in different sizes 
and shapes. Pine, spruce, hemlock and fir trees have cones, 
their leaves are needles, and they are evergreens. But all 
their needles are different. 

Pines have long thin needles that come fastened together 
at the bottom in little bundles of from two to five. Each 
kind of pine has its own special number of needles in a 
bundle. White pines have five. Longleaf pines have three. 


NEEDLES: 8-18 inches long; 
bundle. Grow in long droopi 
ters at ends of branchlets. 


Pinus palustris 

Evergreen. Grows to about 100 feet. 
Also called "longstraw pine," for its 
shining long needles. It grows only in 
the South, where it is an important 
lumber tree. Not only do we get wood 
from it, but we make turp>entine and 
resin from its pitch. 

W'^hW '^ 

CONES: 6-10incheslong,withthin 
scales, each curving back a little 
at the tip. 


Pinus edulis 

Evergreen. Usually 15-20 feet high. 
The Spanish explorers first called this 
tree "pihon"— Spanish for pine nut — 
because of its seeds. Tree is found in 
high, dry places, and often grows in 
scraggy, crooked shap>es. 

CONES: 3-5 inches long; often in 
clusters. Stand upright on tree until 
ripening, then turn down to drop 
long-winged seeds which the wind 
carries away. 



Pinus ponderosa 

Evergreen. Grows to 200 feet. A big 
straight tree that often grows high in 
the mountains. The Indians scraped 
out its inner bark for food. Also some- 
times called "western yellow pine" be- 
cause young trees have a yellowish 
bark. Valuable as lumber. 

CONES: 1-2 inches long, with a 
prickle at the end of each scale. Of- 
ten grow in clusters, and sometimes 
stay on the tree for years. 

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NEEDLES: About 2 inches long; 2 in 
a bundle. Yellowish green, some- 
what twisted. 





Pinus contorts 

Evergreen. Grows to 80 feet. A needle 
tree often seen in the northern Rocky 
Mountains. Called lodgepole pine be- 
cause the Indians made poles of it for 
their lodges and tepees. They also 
made its bark into baskets, and 
scraped its inner bark to make bread. 
One variety grows in small twisted 
shapes along the West Coast and in 
swamps, but the tree grows tall and 
straight in the mountains. 


Pinus taeda 

Evergreen. Often grows to 100 feet. 
This tree has a tall, straight trunk cov- 
ered with cinnamon-colored bark. It 
often grows in moist hollows called 
"loblollies." Also called "old field pine" 
because it grows in abandoned fields. 
Is used for lumber and for making 


CONES: 3-6 inches long; some- 
what egg-shaped. Each cone scale 
has a three-cornered spine as a tip. 


Pinus banksiana 

Evergreen. Sometimes grows to 60 
feet, though often it is scrubby and 
stunted. The most northern of all 
American pines, often growing well 
toward the Arctic Circle. Hardy and 
quick-growing; often the pine to grow 
first in burned or cut-over woodlands. 
You can tell this tree by its short nee- 
dles and curved cones. 


Pinus rigida 

Evergreen. Grows to 50 feet. The only 
three-needled pine in the northeastern 
states. Often seen in sandy places such 
as Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. Pitch 
flows out when the bark is broken. So 
full of pitch that its knots were used 
by the pioneers as torches. A scraggy 
tree that often grows in lopsided 


Pinus monticola 

Evergreen. Grows to 100 feet or more. 
A tree of the mountains, where it 
grows tall and straight and very slen- 
der. Its long cones and silvery color 
give it two other names: "silver pine" 
and "finger-cone pine." A fine tree for 


Pinus strobus 

Evergreen. Grows to 100 feet, some- 
times more. This tree is part of our 
higtory. Masts for sailing ships were 
made from it, and ships' figureheads 
carved from its wood. One of the first 
flags of the American Revolution had 
a white pine pictured on it. 


NEEDLES: 3-5 inches long; 5 in a \ 

NEEDLES: 2-4 inches long; 5 in a bun- 
dle. Bluish green, often silvery. 

CONES: 3-5'inches long. Hanging on )^ ' 
short stalks. Drop winged seeds. 

CONES: 6-10 inches long. Slender; 
° ] hanging down from branch. 





Eastern white pine tree 

When you see an evergreen with needles fastened in 
bundles you can be sure it is a pine. Always count the 
number in each bundle. This is an important clue for tell- 
ing what kind of pine the tree is. The cones are another 
clue. No two kinds of pines have cones exactly alike. Pitch 
pine cones are short and egg-shaped. White pine cones are 
long and thin. 

Spruce trees have short needles that are four-sided. If 
you cut through a spruce needle, the cross-section is square, 
like sandwich bread— only it is much smaller, of course. 
Spruce needles are the only ones that are square like this. 
They come separately on the twigs, not in bundles. They 


grow round and round the twig in a spiral. Each spruce 
needle grows on a very tiny stem. This becomes woody 
after a while. It stays on the twig after the needle drops off 
and makes the twig look rough and prickly. Spruce cones 
always hang down from the twigs, when full-grown. 

Hemlocks have very short, flat, two-sided needles that 
grow separately on either side of the twigs. They have 
neat white lines on their undersides. They have tiny stems 
like the spruce, and also leave rough twigs after they fall. 
Hemlocks are feathery, graceful trees with small cones. 

Firs have flat, two-sided needles that grow separately 
on the twig. Fir needles do not have real stems like spruce 
and hemlock. They sit right on the twigs. When they fall 
they leave the twigs clean and smooth, but tiny round scars 
show where the needles once grew. They make the fir twigs 
look as if they might have had chicken pox. Fir cones stand 
straight up on the top side of the twigs. 

There are two needle trees that are different from all 
the rest. They have cones but are not evergreens. They drop 
their needles each fall. They are the larch, one kind of 
which is called the tamarack, and the bald cypress. 

Some evergreens that we call cedars have leaves that 
are not separate needles. They are small scaly leaves that 
overlap one another, like shingles on a roof. The twigs 
make green sprays of these scaly leaves. 







Picea pungens 

Evergreen. Grows to 90 feet. A beau- 
tiful tree that grows wild only in a 
small part of the Rocky Mountains, 
but which people plant widely because 
of its pleasing pyramid shape and its 
unusual bluish needles. Grows slowly, 
but may live 400 years. Also called 
"prickly spruce," because of its sharp 


NEEDLES: 1/2-! y4 inches long. Sil- 
very gray or bluish green. Stiff and 
sharply pointed; growing all around 

.■* * 

CONES: 2-4 inches long; hanging 
down at ends of twigs near top of 

NEEDLES: V2 inch long. Grow from 
all sides of twig, curving in toward 
it. Needles are sharp, and the twig is 
as prickly as a porcupine. 


Picea rubens 

Evergreen. Grows to 80 feet, some- 
times more. The reddish-brown color 
of buds, new twigs, cones and bark 
gives this tree its name. Red spruce is 
an especially fine wood for making 
musical instruments. Something about 
it helps make the tones of the music 
sweet and full. 

CONES: 1-2 inches long. Hanging 
down from bough. 


Tsuga canadensis 

Evergreen. Grows to 80 feet, some- 
times more. A tree that likes shady 
forested places when small, so never 
is the first to grow after a forest fire. 
This is a very ancient tree; fossil leaves 
and cones are found in very old rocks 
of America and Asia. Hemlock bark 
is useful in tanning leather. The wood 
is used for lumber and in making 

CONES: V2-V4 of an inch long. 
Among our smallest tree cones. 


Pseudotsuga taxifolia 

Evergreen. Grows to 250 feet. A fine 
majestic tree that is a puzzle — not 
really a fir, but it doesn't fit into any 
other evergreen family. In forests it 
has a long bare trunk, but in open 
spaces, branches grow to the ground. 
Used for posts, masts, lumber. Small 
ones are good decorative trees and 
lovely Christmas trees. 


CONES: 2-4 inches long. Hanging 
down from branch. Each cone scale 
has a little three-pointed leaf grow- 
ing from it.The leaves look like hind 
feet and tails of mice diving into 


NEEDLES: y2-lV2 inches long. On 
coneless branches, spread out flat on 
either side of twig; on branches with 
cones, swept up toward top of twig. 




Abies balsamea 

Evergreen. Grows to 75 feet. One of 
the favorite evergreen trees. Woods- 
men cut the tips of its twigs to make 
springy balsam beds for sleeping. Deer 
and moose browse on its needles in 
winter; grouse eat the seeds. Balsams 
/make beautiful Christmas trees, and 

their needles stay on a long time 

CONES: 2-4 inches long. Stand 
straight up on branches at top of 


Abies concolor 

Evergreen. Grows to 120 feet. A tow- 
ering tree of fine shape that is used 
for lumber in its native West, but is 
planted in the East for ornament. 
Grows quite fast, and does well, even 
in shady spots. 

NEEDLES: ^/4-3 inches long. Reach 
up from the twig like little fingers. 
On older trees, the needles take on 
a whitish look. This fact and the pale 
bark give the tree its name. 

CONES: 3-5 inches long. Stand up 
straight from the topmost branches. 


Thuja occidentalis 

Evergreen. Grows to 60 feet. Not 
really a cedar; is called Arborvitae, 
tree of life, by many people— possibly 
because it lives long, sometimes 300 
years. Because of its flat sprays of 
leaves, the Indians called it "feather 
leaf" They split apart the rings of its 
trunk and used them as canoe frames. 
This tree has a thin, red-brown bark 
that breaks into little ridges, and can 
be shredded off the trunk. Its wood 
is long-lasting. 

LEAVES: About V4 of an inch long, 
Like tiny overlapping shingles, cov- 
ering the twigs, to make flat sprays 

CONES: Small and clustered, grow- 
ing near the ends of the twigs. Stay 
on through the winter, after their 
winged seeds have flown away. 

NEEDLES: V2-V3 of an inch long. 
Grow singly but in whorls of three 
around the twig. Very prickly. 

FRUIT: Small, roundish, blue berry, 
about y4 inch broad. 


Juniperus communis 

Evergreen. Sometimes grows to 20 
feet, but is often found in pastures as 
a saucer-shaped shrub— so it has an old 
EngHsh name: "fairy circle." Birds like 
to eat the berries. 


Juniperus utahensis 

Evergreen. Usually grows to about 12 
feet, though sometimes taller. Has a 
short trunk and bushy appearance. 
Very often found on dry, rocky foot- 
hills and mountainsides where no 
other tree could live. Grows so slowly 
that even a small tree may be 200 
years old. Indians ate the berries fresh 
or baked into cakes. Birds and animals 
eat them, too. 

NEEDLES: Vs of an inch long, 
sharp and scale-like, overlap- 
ping on branchlets. Live 10 or 
12 years. 

FRUIT: About V3 of an inch 
long. Small reddish-brown ber- 
ries shaped much like cones. 


Sequoia gigantea 

Evergreen. Grows to 300 feet. The 
giant sequoia is the oldest tree on 
earth, and one of the largest. For, 
while the redwood is often taller, the 
giant sequoia is a bulkier tree. Its 
trunk may measure over 30 feet 
around. Some of these trees have 
lived to be over 4,000 years old. They 
are rather scarce, since they grow only 
in big groves on the western slopes of 
the Sierra Nevada Mountains, over 
4,000 feet above sea level. The trunks 
rise high before the branches begin, 
and the trees have the majestic look 
of great pillars. 

CONES: 2-3 inches long. Somewhat 


Sequoia sempervirens 

Evergreen. Grows to 350 feet — our 
tallest tree. Long before the Glacier 
Age, the redwoods covered most of the 
northern part of the world. Now they 
live only where the moist fogs roll in 
from the Pacific Ocean. This seems to 
be the one climate they like. A scien- 
tist gave them their scientific name, 
Sequoia, in honor of the Cherokee In- 
dian chief, Sequoya, who worked out 
an alphabet for his people. Some red- 
woods have lived almost 1,500 years. 
They are among the oldest trees in the 

■ CONES: About an inch long, at 

** ends of twigs. 

NEEDLES: About an inch long, grow- 
ing in clusters at the end of tiny, 
stubby twigs, or sometimes growing 
singly. Needles drop in fall. 


Larix laricina 

Deciduous. Grows to 60 feet. The Iro- 
quois Indians called this tree "ka-neh- 
tens," meaning "the leaves fall," be- 
cause it loses its needles in the autumn. 
Indians used its thread-like roots for 
sewing together pieces of birch bark, 
in making canoes. Often grows in 
swampy land. It is one of the trees 
that will grow far into the cold North. 
Its wood has many uses as lumber. 
Also called the "American larch," 

CONES: 1-1 V2 inches long. Egg- 
shaped, with a slender little leaf 
coming out from under each cone 


Larix Occident alts 

Deciduous. Sometimes grows to 200 
feet. The biggest of the larch family, 
this tree grows in mountain places. A 
tall, unusually slender tree, with a 
pointed top and a trunk as straight as 
a ship's mast, this is one of our grand- 
est cone-bearing trees. It often lives to 
be 700 years old. Its wood lasts well as 
lumber, and is used for many things. 


The trees that lose their leaves each fall are called the 
broad-leaved trees, to show that they have wider leaves 
than the needle trees. Broad-leaved trees have leaves of 
many different sizes and shapes that have several differ- 
ent ways of growing. The way they grow is one of the 
important clues you can use in telling the tree. 

Some leaves grow all in one piece. These are called 
"simple" leaves. They are easy to tell. Maples and oaks 
have simple leaves. 

But there are other leaves that have several parts — sep- 
arate leaflets all growing from one leaf stem. White ash 
trees have from five to nine leaflets in one whole leaf ; horse 
chestnuts usually have five or seven leaflets that make one 
whole leaf. These are "compound" leaves. Some compound 
leaves spread out from the main stem like your fingers do 
from the palm of your hand. We say these are compound 

Simple leaves 

Honey locust 

Compound leaves 


like a palm. Horse chestnut leaves grow this way. Others 
spread out on either side of their stem the way the little 
parts of a feather do. We say these are compound like a 
feather. Ash leaves grow this way. Some compound leaves 
have dozens of leaflets. Just look at the black locust, the 
honey locust, and the ailanthus, or tree of heaven. 

When the leaflets in compound leaves are large you may 
think they are separate leaves. But look for the bud in the 
leaf's armpit. You will find that the leaflets have no buds. 
The bud is only in the armpit of the whole leaf. By finding 
the bud you can tell where the leaf begins, and can tell 
whether it is simple or compound. After you have noticed 
the leaves on trees for a while you will know which ones 
have simple leaves and which ones have compound ones; 
and it will help you to know the different trees when you 
see them. 



FLOWERS: Big, showy clusters stand- 
ing upright, 6-12 inches high; white 
with red and yellow markings. Ap- 
pear after leaves in spring. 


Aesculus hippocastanum 

Deciduous. Grows to 70 feet. Travel- 
ers brought the horse chestnut to the 
United States in the 1700's. It prob- 
ably came from Greece. Now it is 
planted over much of our country — 
one of our prettiest and most interest- 
ing trees. In spring, the flower clusters 
are like candles on the branches. The 
leaves dropping off in the fall make 
scars which have been likened to 
horseshoes, the little raised dots 
around the edges resembling nail 
marks. The big shiny winter buds have 
a sticky covering like varnish. 

FRUIT: One or 2 shiny brown nuts 
with big round white scars, in each 
prickly bur that splits into 3 parts to 
drop the nuts in the fall. 

FLOWERS: Small and greenish, grow- 
ing in large clusters. 


Ailanthus glandulosa 

Deciduous. Sometimes grows to 60 
feet. This tree is an immigrant from 
China, but is now thoroughly at home 
here. We often find it in cities — in 
dumps and places where no other tree 
could live. It grows rapidly; a branch 
may grow as much as 8 or 10 feet in 
a single season. In winter, without its 
sweeping leaves, the tree looks stiff 
and dead. Also called the "tree of 


FRUIT: Each seed in the middle of a 
curiously twisted wing. Wings in 
large bright orange or red clusters. 

FRUIT: Seeds in pods 8-18 inches 
long. Pods hang on into the winter, 
turning brown and gradually twist- 
ing out of shape. 





'^ f 


LEAVES: 6-8 inches long. Compound, 
made up of many small leaflets grow- 
ing in pairs from the several leaf 
stems often in one larger leaf. 

'A- 1 



Gleditsia triacanthos 

Deciduous. Grows to 75 feet, some- 
times taller. Can be easily recognized 
by the great thorns on the twigs, 
branches, and even on the trunk. In 
parts of the South, this tree is still 
called the "Confederate pintree," be- 
cause the Confederate soldiers used 
the thorns for pinning their ragged 
uniforms together. The Cherokee In- 
dians made bows from its wood. The 
pulp between the seeds in the pods is 
sweet, and cattle like it. 

FLOWERS: Greenish; in small 
clusters; not very noticeable. 

LEAVES: 6-14incheslong.Compound, 
made up of 7-2 1 leaflets, each up to 
2 inches long; alternate. 


Robinia pseudoacacia 

Deciduous. Grows to 80 feet. A very- 
pretty tree, with its fragrant clusters 
of flowers and its feathery leaves. But 
beware of the short thorns on the 
twigs. The leaves are sensitive, and 
droop slightly on rainy days and in the 
evening. This tree grows easily and is 
found far from its native homeland. 


FRUIT: Orange-brown seeds in flat 
bean-like pods growing to 4 inches 
long. Pods hang on and open at end 
of winter, dropping 3 or more seeds. 


Acer saccharum 

Deciduous. Often grows to 100 feet or 
more. Indians taught the pioneers to 
make syrup and sugar from this tree's 
sweet sap. Instead of boiling it down 
as we do, the Indians froze it and took 
off the sweet ice; or they boiled it by 
dropping hot stones into the wooden 
sap troughs. Also called "hard maple" 
or "rock maple." Its wood is tough and 
strong. Good for lumber. 



FLOWERS: Small and greenish yel 
low, hanging in loose clusters. 

LEAVES: 3-5 inches long. Simple; op- 
posite. Dark green above, paler be- 
low. Gorgeous shades of yellow, or- 
ange or red in autumn— a true glory. 

FRUIT: Seeds with wings, 1/2-! inch 
long, forming keys which hang in 

FLOWERS: Showy, flat, yellow- 
ish-green clusters in full bloom 
when the leaves are unfolding. 


Acer platanoides 

Deciduous. Sometimes grows to 100 
feet, though it is usually smaller. This 
is not a native tree, but was brought 
from Europe. It is now widely planted 
here, as it is a fine shade tree with an 
attractive shape, big leaves, very no- 
ticeable flowers in the spring, and 
striking clusters of winged seeds. It 
can be easily recognized from any 
other maple by the milky white juice 
that comes from the ends of leafstalks 
broken from the branchlets. But it has 
the family look of all the maples. 

LEAVES: Simple; opposite. Much like 
the leaves of the sugar maple, but 
thicker, broader, and darker green. 
Usually have 5 lobes, though some- 
times they have 7. TUrn yellow in 
the fall. 

LEAVES: 2-6 inches long. Simple; 
opposite. Bright red as they unfold 
in the spring; and scarlet in the fall. 


Acer ruhrum 

Deciduous. 60-90 feet. A tree that is 
truly named. Buds are red in winter; 
flowers and leaves are bright in spring; 
leafstalks are reddish in summer; and 
the autumn foliage is scarlet. Also 
called "swamp maple" because it often 
grows in wet places. This colorful tree 
Jl is a pleasure to see. 





<f. ij. FLOWERS: In red and yellow clus- 
**-* ters, with the red more noticeable 
than the yellow. Appear before 

LEAVES: 3-6 inches long. Simple; op- 
posite. Five slender lobes, deeply 
cut and sharply toothed. Pale green 
above, silvery below. Pale yellow in 

FRUIT: Winged seeds that make keys 
2 inches long, drooping on stalks. 
Ripen and drop in late spring. 


FLOWERS: In greenish-yellow clus- 
ters, appearing long before leaves. 


Acer saccharinum 

Deciduous. Grows to 80 feet, some- 
times taller. The lower branches droop 
to make a graceful tree with a two- 
toned look as the leaves twist in the 
breeze, showing first their silvery un- 
dersides, then their green topsides. 
Very fast-growing. 

LEAVES: 6-12 inches long. Simple; 
opposite. These are the largest of 
any of our maple leaves. Deeply cut 
into lobes, making a pretty leaf, or- 
ange yellow in fall. 

FLOWERS: Long, drooping yellow 
clusters, 4-6 inches long, much more 
noticeable than the flowers of most 

FRUIT: Seeds with wings IV2-2 
inches long, making large keys that 
often hang in clusters. 


Acer macrophyllum 

Deciduous. Grows to 75 feet. Only 
Westerners can call this beautiful ma- 
ple a neighbor, for it does not grow 
well in the East. It lives wild on low 
slopes of Western mountains, but is 
also planted along the streets of many 
cities. An important lumber tree. Also 
called "Oregon maple" and "broad- 
leaved maple." 



You must have noticed that the same kinds of trees 
don't grow everywhere. A pinyon pine never grows in a 
wet swamp. And a swamp maple tree doesn't grow in a 
dry desert. 

This is because each kind of tree needs its own special 
amounts of sunlight and water and heat, and a special kind 
of soil. It can't grow where it doesn't get what it needs. 

Trees that grow in very dry places have to be built so 
that they can get along with very little water; and they 
have to make the most of what they do get. If they had 
big thin leaves, these would give off quite a lot of water 
through their little leaf windows. That would be a waste. 
So trees in dry places grow with small leaves that have 
very thick skins and are often protected with scales or with 
a thick wax. They give off less water this way. 

The pinyon pine has tough needles coated with wax, and 
it has roots that fit it for living in the dry rocky mountain 
places of the Southwest. It couldn't live in a low, wet place. 

Maples have thin leaves that give off quite a lot of water. 
Maple roots like soil that is quite moist. Maples couldn't 
live in dry deserts where the specially built desert trees are 
completely at home. 

Bald cypress trees like to live in the southern swamps. 
They sometimes grow in several feet of water, and have 


LEAVES: V2-^/4 of an inch. Look like 
feathery needles, spreading on either 
side of twig. Drop in fall. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds: Flat purplish 
clusters, 3-6 inches long; and small 
blooms near ends of branches. 


Taxodium distichum 

Deciduous. Grows to 100 feet, some- 
times more. Millions of years ago, this 
tree lived in many places. Now it 
grows only in the southern United 
States, where there are many cypress 
swamps. For this tree often grows with 
its roots in water. You can tell it by its 
strong, heavy trunk, grooved like a 
pillar, and by the strange "knees" it 
sends up above the water as anchors 
to keep the tree from blowing over. 
These knees may take air to the roots, 
too. Not only do cypresses shed their 
needles in fall; they shed twigs, too, 
and in winter look dead. 

queer trunks that are swollen around the bottom. These 
support the tree, which has roots that do not go very deep. 
Bald cypresses also grow odd bumps around their roots. 
These bumps are called knees. They probably help keep 
the tree from tipping over. Very few are blown down, even 
by high winds. 

Many needle-leaved trees grow well in the far north 
where the growing season is short. Their needles do not 
lose water in the long winters. Then, too, they are pointed 
trees. Hemlock, fir and spruce trees are shaped so that 
snow slides off them quite easily, and doesn't break their 
branches. Spruce can grow far north toward the Arctic 

Some of the needle trees can live on mountains, away 
up to the timber line. This is a line high up, above which 
no tree can grow because of the cold and wind and dryness, 
and poor rocky soil. Up here, needle trees are usually small 
and stunted. Some grow in mats close against the earth. 


There are all kinds of trees suited to grow in all kinds 
of places, and we have hundreds of them in this country. 
For America is a big land. It has swamps and deserts, 
mountains and plains; places where the weather is usually 
warm, places where it is sometimes very cold; soil that is 
rich, soil that is poor. So it's no wonder that we have so 
many different kinds of trees. 

There are some places, though, where the temperature 
and water and soil and sunlight are enough alike so that 
many of the same trees grow over quite large parts of 
our land. 

In the northeastern United States, the summers are 
warm, winters are cold, and the ground is fairly moist. 
Here grow broad-leaved trees like the maples, birches, 
beeches, oaks, hickories, elms, ashes, lindens and aspen. 
Many of the needle trees grow here too: spruce, fir, hem- 
locks, and white, red, pitch and scrub pines. 

In the southeastern part of the country it is warm and 
moist. This is the home of longleaf, slash and loblolly 
pines. Live oak, an evergreen oak, and bald cypress, a 
needle-leaved tree, grow in the deep South. Tulip trees and 
magnolias are at their finest here. Sweet gum, locusts, and 
hickories grow well in the South. Far south are palm trees, 
which, in the North, never grow outdoors in winter. 


LEAVES: 3-5 inches long. Simple, al- 
ternate. Sharply toothed and point- 
ed, and shiny bluish green, turning 
to yellow or russet in fall. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds: yellow-green 
clusters, drooping on longish stems: 
or small blooms in pairs on short 

FRUIT: Small, three-sided nuts, 2 or 
3 in each bur, which opens into 4 
parts in the fall. 


Fagus grandi folia 

Deciduous. Grows to 75 feet, some- 
times more. The beautiful, smooth, 
blue-gray bark of this tree can be rec- 
ognized anywhere. Its three-sided nuts 
are good to eat; birds and animals like 
them— so do people. In pioneer days, 
great forests of beech covered large 
parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. 
The beech tree sometimes lives to be 
400 years old. 


Populus tremuloides 

Deciduous. Grows to 50 feet. This 
member of the poplar family is one of 
our most widely growing trees. You 
can tell it by its shimmering leaves. 
Their stems are flattened so that they 
act like sails, fluttering the leaves in 
the slightest breeze. That's why we 
call it "quaking" aspen. 

LEAVES: 1 V2-4 inches long. Simple; 
alternate. Shiny green on top, pale, 
dull green underneath. Golden yel- 
low in fall. 



FLOWERS: Catkins, 1 1/2-21/2 inches 
long, before leaves in spring. 



FRUIT: Small pale-green seed pods, 
in early summer. 


III- '"•lo 






T of 





Liriodendron tulipifera 

Deciduous. Grows to 150 feet. An- 
other name is "canoe wood," because 
the Indians hollowed canoes from its 
trunks. Lumbermen call it "yellow 
poplar" because of its yellow heart- 
wood, and "white poplar" because of 
its white sapwood. A handsome tree 
that grows tall and straight and free 
of knots. Its fine soft wood is used for 
furniture, boat building, woodenware. 

LEAVES: 3-5 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate. Shining green on top, paler 
underneath. Clear yellow to orange 
in fall. Leaf not pointed. Has bitten- 
out end shaped like a V. 

FRUIT: Winged seeds, packed to- 
gether to make unusual clusters, 
brownish and pointed. Seeds grad- 
ually drift away when ripe. 

FLOWERS: Wax-like cups, shaped 
like tulips. Greenish white with or- 
ange at bottom of petals. Flowers in 
spring after leaves come. 

West of the Mississippi River are the Great Plains. 
These were once dry, open spaces where grass grew. Only 
along the streams that cut through the dry plains were 
there willow and cottonwood trees. Few of the trees of the 
East grew wild here. They needed land that was moist. 
So the grasslands made a wide gap between the trees that 
grew in the East and those that grew in the West. That is 
one reason why the trees in the two parts of the country 
are so different. 

West of the plains are the Rocky Mountains. Here are 
many evergreens, sometimes growing high up where the 
weather is very cold in winter. Fir, spruce, western white 
pine, lodgepole and other pines, western larch and western 
hemlock are some of the Rocky Mountain trees. 

West of the Rocky Mountains, in the Southwest, there 
is desert. Summers are very hot, and all year round it is dry. 
Here are cactus plants. They are built in odd shapes, with 
special stems that can store water like reservoirs, and with 
thick spiny skins that keep the water from escaping to 
the air. In the desert are mesquite and sagebrush and the 
strange-looking Joshua tree. 



Salix nigra 

Deciduous. Sometimes shrubby, some- 
times growing up to 50 feet. This is 
one of the willows often seen. It loves 
damp places. Its crooked, leaning 
trunks and graceful branches deco- 
rate the shores of many ponds and 
streams. If you push a willow twig 
into damp ground, it will probably 
take root and grow. 

FRUIT: Tiny light-green seed pods, 
about Vs of an inch long. 

FLOWERS: Drooping catkins at ends of twigs 

FLOWERS: Two kinds of catkins, one 
very small, the other larger. When 
in bud, the larger ones are the silky 
gray "pussies" that you see even in 
the city- at the florist's. 


Salix discolor 

Deciduous. Grows to 20 feet, though 
more often a shrub. Almost everyone 
knows and loves the pussy willow— one 
of our earliest signs of spring. Before 
the leaves appear, the soft gray catkin 
buds push their way out. They'll come 
out even quicker at home if you gather 
some bare branches and put them in 

Two trees that can grow in this country are the pinyon 
pine and the Utah juniper. If you have been to the Grand 
Canyon of Arizona you have seen them. 

Beyond the desert and mountains to the west is the 
Pacific coast where a great deal of rain falls. Huge trees 
of great beauty grow there. In California are the giant 
sequoias and redwood trees. In the north are big Douglas 
firs and western hemlock besides many other kinds of trees 
quite different from the ones we find on the Atlantic coast. 


We haven't always appreciated how lucky we are in this 
country to have so many trees. People who don't have them 
know how hard it is to do without them. When the covered 
wagon pioneers were traveling across the plains they had 
to cook their food over fires made from dried buffalo chips, 
or buffalo manure. There were too few trees for them to 
use as firewood. For centuries Eskimos burned whale oil 
and seal blubber because they had no wood for fuel. Many 
ancient peoples worshipped trees because they knew what 
wonderful and valuable things they were. Our Christmas 
tree comes from this idea. There are many myths and leg- 
ends about sacred trees. The ancient Greeks thought there 
were dryads or wood nymphs who lived in the trees and 
cared for them. 


Once this country had great, almost endless forests 
stretching from the east and west coast to the wide central 
plains. The pioneers needed cleared land for farms, and 
they cut down the trees. They thought of them as enemies; 
they wanted to get rid of them so that they could have 
more land for fields and gardens. 

Then as the country grew they cut the trees for lumber. 
For nearly 300 years the axes rang through our forests, 
and our great trees fell. Few people thought of planting 
new ones to take their places. They thought there was no 
end to our forests. At last they found out their mistake. 
There was an end. They learned how many things our 
forests do for us. 

For they do much more than give us wood and materials 
to make rayon and paper and film. Just by growing they 
help us. 

They help keep the top earth from being washed away 
by rain. Leaves fall from the trees and make a thick carpet 
on the ground. As rain falls this carpet soaks it up like a 
sponge. And, as the water sinks slowly into the ground, 
the trees' little root hairs catch it. Without trees and their 
leaves and roots, the water runs swiftly along the ground, 
washes out deep troughs, and carries away the good top 
soil. Many farms have been ruined in this way. 

Where there are no forests to hold rain, the water some- 
times runs away so swiftly that it makes terrible fioods 


that cause damage to homes and farms and cities. Forests 
help prevent floods. 

Remember also that as the green leaves make food for 
the trees they give back oxygen and moisture to the air. 
Trees are air-conditioners. They help keep the summer 
winds from being too dry. 

It took people a long time to find out these things about 
trees. For many years they went on carelessly clearing 
away the forests. But floods were growing worse, soil was 
washing away, hot summer winds were drying up the 
crops. Then people woke up and saw how much our forests 
had helped us. They realized that we would some day be 
without them unless we began to plant new ones and to 
care for the ones we had. 

So the national government began to make forest re- 
serves, national forests where the trees are cared for by 
men trained as foresters. When trees are cut this is done 
carefully and new ones are planted to take their places. 
Wood is not left to rot on the ground and waste. The United 
States Forestry Service is always working to make our 
forests bigger and better. Today we have 152 large national 
forests besides hundreds of state forests. 

Every year we plant more trees; we are learning how 
to fight the insects and diseases that harm them. And most 
of all, we are learning to be more careful, and less wasteful 
of our wood. 


FRUIT: Dark blue and berry-like — 
about V3 of an inch long — on the 
ends of crimson stalks. 

LEAVES: 3-6 inches long. Simple; al- 
ternate. Grow in three forms, usually 
on one tree: mitten-shaped; more or 
less oval-shaped; or with three lobes. 
Brilliant shades of red, yellow or 
orange in fall. 


Sassafras albidum 

Deciduous. Often grows to 80 feet in 
the South, though it is usually small— 
often a shrub— in the North. Its roots 
and bark have a pleasant flavor; peo- 
ple once used them as medicine, mak- 
ing sassafras tea. The pioneers colored 
their homespun woolens with an or- 
ange dye made from the bark. Choc- 
taw Indians in Louisiana taught the 
white settlers to make a yellow flavor- 
ing powder from the leaves. This is a 
very ancient tree; millions of years 
ago its relatives lived on the earth. 


FLOWERS: Small yellow clusters, ap- 
pearing with leaves in spring. 

LEAVES: 2-3 V2 inches across. Sim- 
ple; growing in clusters from 
stubby spurs. Fan-shaped, with 
veins running from the base to 
the outer edges. Often split on 

FRUIT: Round, yellow, and about 
an inch across. The outside pulp 
covers a nut called a "silver nut" 
by the Chinese, who like to eat it. 


Ginkgo biloba 

Deciduous. Grows to 100 feet. The 
ginkgo is a living fossil; there were 
ginkgo trees millions of years ago 
when dinosaurs prowled the earth. We 
sometimes find prints of ancient gink- 
go leaves pressed into coal. Once this 
tree lived wild in North America, but 
we think the glaciers destroyed it. For 
a long time it lived only in China, 
where Buddhist monks grew it in their 
gardens. Then travelers brought it 
back to this country. Now we often 
plant it in parks and gardens. Also 
called the "maidenhair tree" because 
its leaves look a little like those of a 
maidenhair fern, but much larger. 

FLOWERS: Two kinds: Catkins, and 
small blooms at the end of long 


One of the greatest dangers to forests is fire. All over the 
country we have lookout towers, and forest rangers who 
watch for forest fires and know how to fight them. 

People cause many forest fires by being careless. They 
forget to put out their campfires, or when they are in the 
woods they are not careful about cigarettes and matches. 

People also harm trees by stripping bark from them, by 
hurting their roots and branches, or by trampling down 
little trees and breaking them off. 

Everyone can help in the important work of protecting 
our trees and forests. You can, yourself, by not building 
fires when the woods are too dry; by clearing a spot of 
several feet before you build a campfire; by putting out 
your campfires with plenty of water, and shoveling earth 
over the hot ashes; and by not burning grass or rubbish on 
a windy day, if you live near woods. 

You can remember not to hurt the bark or roots of trees; 
and not to break down small ones. For even a little sapling 
that may look unimportant to you can turn out to be a great 
tree, if you will let it grow. Perhaps you can even help add 
to our trees by planting a new one somewhere. You will 
enjoy watching it. 

We still have many, many beautiful trees in this country. 
They belong to us all. We can all do our part to protect 
them and to help others to grow. We can be proud of our 
American trees. 



(Numerals in bold face type refer to illustrations. 
Scientific names are given below common ones on identification pages.] 

Ailanthus, 67, 69 
Alternate leaves, 18 
Ash, 31, 40 
Aspen, 82 
Axil, 19 

Bald cypress, 52, 77, 78, 79 
Balsam fir, 57 
Bark, 11, 12, 26 
Basswood, 13, 15 
Beech, 81 
Bigleaf maple, 76 
Birch, 31, 38, 39 
Black locust, 71 
Black oak, 34 
Black walnut, 23 
Black willow, 85 
Blue spruce, 53 
Broad-leaved trees, 66, 67 
Buds, 19, 24 
Canoe birch, 38 
Canyon live oak, 35 
Catalpa, 31, 41 
Cedar, 52, 59 
Chestnut, 17, 68 
Chlorophyll, 10 
Common juniper, 60 
Compound leaves, 66, 67 
Cottonwood, 13, 14 
Cypress, 52, 77, 78, 79 
Deciduous trees, 17 
Douglas fir, 56 
Eastern cotton wood, 14 
Eastern hemlock, 55 

Eastern pine, 50, 51 
Elm, 16 

Evergreens, 42-65 
Firs, 52, 56, 58 
Giant sequoia, 62 
Ginkgo, 91 
Gray birch, 39 
Growth rings, 29, 30 
Heartwood, 26 
Hemlock, 52, 55 
Hickory, 27, 28 
Honey locust, 70 
Horse chestnut, 17, 68 
Jack pine, 48 
Juniper, 60, 61 
Larch, 52, 64, 65 
Leaf scars, 17 
Leaves, 17-20, 66, 67 
Linden, 15 
Live oak, 35, 36 
Loblolly pine, 47 
Locust, 70, 71 
Lodgepole pine, 46 
Longleaf pine, 43 
Maples, 72-77 
Mockernut hickory, 28 
Needle-leaved trees, 42 
Northern red oak, 32 
Northern white cedar, 59 
Norway maple, 73 
Oaks, 32-37 
Pin oak, 33 
Pines, 43-51 
Pinyon pine, 44, 77 

Pitch pine, 49 
Pollen, 12 
Ponderosa pine, 45 
Pussy willow, 86 
Quaking aspen, 82 
Red maple, 74 
Red oak, northerti, 32 
Red spruce, 54 
Redwood, 63 
Roots, 29 
Sapwood, 26 
Sassafras, 90 
Seeds, 12-13 
Sequoia, giant, 62 
Shagbark hickory, 27 
Silver maple, 75 
Simple leaves, 66 
Spruce, 51, 52, 53, 54 
Sugar maple, 72 
Sweet gum, 22 
Sycamore, 21 
Tamarack, 52, 64 
TuHp tree, 83 
Utah juniper, 61 
Walnut, 23 
Western larch, 65 
Western pine, 50 
White ash, 31, 40 
White cedar, 59 
White fir, 58 
White oak, 37 
Whorled leaves, 18, 19 
Willow, 85, 86