Native tree of North America with a range that extends from southwestern Maine to New York, extreme southern Ontario, northern Michigan, central Minnesota, and eastern North Dakota; south to eastern South Dakota, central Nebraska, southwestern Oklahoma, and central Texas; then east to northwestern Florida and Georgia. It is most abundant in the Great Lake States and in the corn belt of the Midwest as it grows best on moist, rich soils of lower slopes, stream banks, river terraces, and bottom land especially those of limestone origin.. Distinguishing Characteristics: Medium sized trees up to 25 m tall and 60 cm in diameter. Leaves are simple, alternate, approximately 15-20 cm long with double toothed margins and an asymmetric base. Upper surface of leaf is dark green and scabrous, underside of leaf is paler and less hairy. Leaves are pinnately veined. Buds are about 6mm long, dark brown with reddish brown hairs, with a rounded tip. The flowers are inconspicuous and perfect each on separate short stalks in dense fascicles and they appear before the leaves from February to May. Fruits are circular samaras 10-15 mm long, which are hairless except on the seedcase, which is covered by reddish-brown hair. Inner bark is “slippery”, hence the common name. Major Uses: The wood is inferior to Ulmus americana but it is still used commercially for the same products: furniture, paneling and containers. Information provided by Jon Tyson.
This is a native tree of North America with a range from southwestern Maine west to New York, extreme southern Ontario, central Michigan, and southern Wisconsin; south in Iowa and eastern Nebraska to eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and south-central Texas; east to northwestern Florida and southeastern Georgia. It is also found in the mountains of northeastern Mexico. In general, this tree grows best on sandy loams or loam with a good supply of ground water, typically on the edges of lakes and streams where summer water tables drop enough to permit soil aeration during the growing season. Distinguishing Characteristics: Large tree up to 35 m in height and 200 cm in diameter. Bark of the tree is smooth and brownish which exfoliates in jigsaw puzzle shaped pieces to expose green, cream-colored, or white inner bark. Bark is dark brown and scaly at the base of mature trees. Leaves are 10-20 cm long, slightly wider, simple and alternate with 3 to 5 palmate lobes with central lobe wider than it is long, are coarsely toothed, and are prominently 3-veined. Persistent Stipules are prominent in the spring. Buds are bluntly coned-shaped, 6-10 mm long, reddish, covered with a single scale enclosed in the base of the leaf stalk until after leaf fall. No terminal bud; end bud originates as lateral bud. Staminate and pistillate flowers are separate but appear on the same tree on different shoots. Staminate flowers are small, yellowish-green, and in clusters along the twigs. The pistillate flowers are larger, crimson, long-stalked and appear in ball like clusters near the shoot tips. Fruits are held in a solitary ball-like aggregate 20-35 mm across that hang from 8-16 mm long stalks. Fruits are achenes and they are small, one seeded, and elongated with stiff brownish hairs at the base. Major Uses: Sometimes a pioneer tree on upland old- field sites, especially in the central part of its range. It has become a favored species for use in intensively cultured ”biomass farms” in the southeastern United States that use the coppice growth for fiber. It is valuable for timber and it is also planted as a shade tree because of its distinctive white exfoliating bask and broad dense crown. Poet William Cullen Bryant wrote about this tree: “And plane tree’s speckled arms o’er shoot/ The swifter current that mines its root”. Information provided by Jon Tyson.
A common orchard tree in the milder parts of Canada; native to Asia Minor. Grows best on the thicker layers of soil over limestone and on deep flushed soils on lower valley slopes. Distinguishing Characteristics: Very small tree; only about 5m in height. Leaves are simple, alternate, obovate, double-toothed, gland-tipped, upper surface is dull dark green with hair beneath at the vein axils. Glands on petioles. Buds are shiny brown, clustered on dwarf shoots, diverging widely from the twig. Flowers are white and showy and borne in small hanging clusters with 5 sepals, 5 petals, and 1 pistil. Fruits are approximately 25 mm across and deep red to black in color. The bark is smooth, reddish or purple brown in color with a metallic copper sheen and large lenticels in bands around the trunk. Major Uses: Used to make furniture, veneers, and paneling. Smokers also like this wood for pipes. Cultivated for its sweet tasting fruit. Birds also love the fruit hence the avium epithet. Grown as an ornamental due to its showy flowers and reddish Autumn foliage color. When burned as firewood, it has the fragrance of cherry blossom. Information provided by Jon Tyson