From the collection of the
^ v^ Jjibrary
San Francisco, California
THE FIRST BOOK OF
., 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
THE FIRST BOOK OF
By M. B. CORMACK
Director, Roger Williams Park Museum
Providence, R. I.
Pictures by HELENE CARTER
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Growth of a tree 8
Eastern cottonwood 14
American basswood, or linden 15
American elm . 16
Leaf scars 17
Leaves 18, 19
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
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
Tamarack, or eastern larch 64
Western larch 65
Simple leaves 66
Compound leaves 67
Horse chestnut 68
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
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.
WHAT IS A TREE?
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
Sugar is changed
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
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.
HOW TREES MAKE THEIR FOOD
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.
HOW TREES WORK
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 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.
HOW TREES SCATTER THEIR SEEDS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-
WHEN FALL COMES
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.
LEAVES GROW IN DIFFERENT WAYS
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.
A TREE'S BUDS
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
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
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.
WHEN SPRING COMES
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.
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-
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.
FLOWERS: Two kinds — drooping
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
End and side buds of tulip tree
Wrinkled twig of Norway maple
THE TRUNK OF A TREE
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.
A TREE'S 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.
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
FLOWERS: Two kinds -long cat-
kins and small blooms in spikes.
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
FRUIT: Small four-cornered nut,
inside thick brown husk, 2 inches
A TREE'S ROOTS
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.
HOW TREES TELL THEIR STORIES
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.
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
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.
TELLING TREES APART
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.
NORTHERN RED OAK
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
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.
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
CANYON LIVE OAK
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.
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
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
FLOWERS: Two kinds -clusters of
drooping catkins; spikes of small
FRUIT: Shiny brown acorns, ^^-l
inch long. Birds and animals eat this
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
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.
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.
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
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.
/mis* ALA \ OA
FLOWERS: In showy clusters about
6 inches long; white, with a few
blotches of yellow or brown inside.
Very fragrant; bees like their nectar.
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
THE EVERGREEN TREES
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
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.
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.
scales, each curving back a little
at the tip.
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
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.
*o^fy I ft o
r*«»a I IV I
■I i : ' ■ X
NEEDLES: About 2 inches long; 2 in
a bundle. Yellowish green, some-
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.
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.
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.
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
WESTERN WHITE PINE
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
EASTERN WHITE PINE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
FRUIT: About V3 of an inch
long. Small reddish-brown ber-
ries shaped much like cones.
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
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.
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 BROAD-LEAVED TREES
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
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
FLOWERS: Big, showy clusters stand-
ing upright, 6-12 inches high; white
with red and yellow markings. Ap-
pear after leaves in spring.
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.
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.
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.
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.
made up of 7-2 1 leaflets, each up to
2 inches long; alternate.
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.
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.
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
LEAVES: 2-6 inches long. Simple;
opposite. Bright red as they unfold
in the spring; and scarlet in the fall.
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.
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.
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.
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-
TREES ARE SPECIALLY BUILT
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
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.
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.
TREES FOR MANY PLACES
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
HOW TREES HELP US
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
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.
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.
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
LET'S PROTECT OUR TREES
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
(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
Bald cypress, 52, 77, 78, 79
Balsam fir, 57
Bark, 11, 12, 26
Basswood, 13, 15
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
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
Firs, 52, 56, 58
Giant sequoia, 62
Gray birch, 39
Growth rings, 29, 30
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
Live oak, 35, 36
Loblolly pine, 47
Locust, 70, 71
Lodgepole pine, 46
Longleaf pine, 43
Mockernut hickory, 28
Needle-leaved trees, 42
Northern red oak, 32
Northern white cedar, 59
Norway maple, 73
Pin oak, 33
Pinyon pine, 44, 77
Pitch pine, 49
Ponderosa pine, 45
Pussy willow, 86
Quaking aspen, 82
Red maple, 74
Red oak, northerti, 32
Red spruce, 54
Sequoia, giant, 62
Shagbark hickory, 27
Silver maple, 75
Simple leaves, 66
Spruce, 51, 52, 53, 54
Sugar maple, 72
Sweet gum, 22
Tamarack, 52, 64
TuHp tree, 83
Utah juniper, 61
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