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Appalachian Hardwood Forest Tree Species

Yellow Birch

(Betula alleghaniensis)

one of the more long-lived hardwoods, found in AHF sites, but also in other locations, often with hemlock.

American Beech

(Fagus grandifolia)

once one of the most common and widespread forest hardwoods, beech is increasingly subject to a canker which arrived here from Europe in the early 20th century; few beech now reach large size.

American Elm

(Ulmus americana)

far less common than previously in the region’s forests; Dutch Elm Disease, now present locally for more than half a century, has killed most of the large elms.

Balck Cherry

(Prunus serotina)

scattered throughout AHF sites, sometimes reaching more than 40 cm in diameter.

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(Tilia americana)

one of the marker species; considered to have “conservation significance”; can reach more than a metre in diameter although trees this size are rare; often has two trunks, with little branching below the crown; large basswood frequently have cavities and become den trees for birds or mammals.


(Jugulans cinerea)

another AHF marker; widespread in the watershed; now being threatened by a canker, first detected here in 1997, which has devastated butternut stands in other parts of eastern North America.

White Ash

(Fraxinus americana)

an AHF marker; widespread in the watershed and widely used for tool handles such as axes, shovels and hammers.


(Ostrya virginiana)

an AHF marker, aka Eastern Hophornbeam; small tree seldom reaching more than 30 cm in diameter; very hard wood; fruit hang in clusters similar to hops.

Sugar Maple

(Acer saccharum)

probably the most common tree in AHF sites.

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Other Local Tree Species

Red Oak

(Quercus rubra)

found in scattered locations in the Meduxnekeag watershed

Eastern Hemlock

(Tsuga canadensis)

less commonly found than previously; considered to be a conservation concern; hemlock is one of the longest-lived conifers; most of the original growth hemlock in the Meduxnekeag watershed were cut in the late 19th to early 20th centuries for their bark, to be used in the local leather tanning industry.

Black Willow

(Salix nigra)

 uncommonly scattered in the watershed, usually on stream banks or other areas of wet soil; capable of becoming a very large tree; roots play valuable role in erosion control.

Northern White Cedar

(Thuja occidentalis)

 found scattered in many forest types, often streambanks and in wetland areas, but sometimes in uplands; a tree of conservation concern whose numbers are considered to be in decline provincially.

Red Maple

(Acer rubrum)

common, thrives in many situations, including wet areas; often the first tree to turn colour in the fall.

Striped Maple

(Acer pensylvanicum)

a small short-lived tree with green and white vertically striped bark and large maple-like leaves; flourishes in hardwood and mixed forest in the understorey.

Black Ash

(Fraxinus nigra)

usually smaller than White Ash; found in wet, boggy or seepy areas; “basket ash”

Green Ash

(Fraximus pennsylvanica)

aka Water Ash; scattered in floodplain, in moist alluvial soil.

Staghorn Sumac

(Rhus typhina)

small tree or large shrub of open areas or woodland edges, frequently forming large colonial clusters; upright clusters of red fruit remain on the trees over winter.

Balsalm Fir

(Abies balsamea)

common conifer, shade tolerant and often found scattered in tolerant hardwood stands; cultivated in plantations for Christmas trees; in the wild, branch “tips” are seasonally harvested for the wreath industry.

White Birch

(Betula papyrifera)

the “paper bark” or “canoe” birch whose bark was used for many purposes by Native peoples throughout northern North America; found in mixed forests throughout the watershed

Grey Birch

(Betula populifolia)

an early succession tree, relatively short-lived, distinguishable from white birch by its darker, less peeling bark.

Eastern White Pine

(Pinus strobus)

the largest, tallest and longest-lived of native conifers; scattered widely in the watershed, sometimes in pure or almost pure stands. The largest and oldest known white pine in the Meduxnekeag Watershed is the "Watson Settlement Pine", which is 1.325 metres in diameter; three pines near the Red, Yellow, and Black trails at Wilson Mountain and Leonard Woods are more than a metre in diameter.

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Red Spruce

(Picea rubens)

one of the three species of spruce native to the watershed; less common than formerly; in maturity, a large tree, 60 cm or more in diameter.

White Spruce

(Picea glauca)

the most common spruce species; considerable variations in shape, depending on growth conditions; frequent colonizer of former farmland, often in dense, exclusive stands as at the start of the Red / Yellow trail at Wilson Mountain

Black Spruce

(Picea mariana)

smaller than the other spruces; prefers wetter areas; sometimes hybridizes with Red Spruce, making certain identification difficult.

Manitoba Maple

(Acer negundo)

also known as Boxelder; not native to the watershed, but now established around Woodstock and other areas, usually in open sites near the river rather than in forest; short-lived but fast-growing and vigorously spreading.

Trembling Aspen

(Populus tremuloides)

the common Poplar; one of the first trees to leaf out in Spring; widespread in the watershed; an early succession species, frequently forming large groves.

Bigtooth Aspen

(Populus grandidentata)

 a larger tree than Trembling Aspen, with large curved “teeth” on leaf edges, also early succession, though sometimes persisting in mature forest and attaining very large size.

Balsam Poplar

(Populus balsamifera)

widespread in suitable habitat; leaves have a coppery tint; buds are resinous; flowers in spring have a distinctive sweet smell; normally short-lived but capable of becoming very large; often forms exclusive groves.


(Larix laricina)

aka Hackmatack or Eastern Larch; the only native deciduous conifer; foliage is light green and feathery, turning bright yellow in late fall; scattered throughout the watershed, tamarack becomes most noticeable in fall as it is usually the last deciduous tree to change colour.

Pin Cherry

(Prunus pensylvanica)

aka Fire Cherry or Bird Cherry; a small tree with black bark; masses of white flowers in Spring, followed by tiny red sour cherries in summer; short-lived, early succession tree seldom reaching more than 25 cm in diameter at maturity; most are afflicted by “black knot” disease

Mountain Ash

(Sorbus americana)

widespread small tree, often found along fence-lines and forest edges; showy white blossoms and bright orange-red berries persisting into winter unless eaten by birds


(Prunus virginiana)

common large bush or small tree; found along fence-lines, roadsides, and in open areas; dark purple fruit is astringent, but consumed by many birds and animals.


(Crataegus spp.)

 several species of hawthorn are found in the watershed, all characterized by showy white or pinkish-white blossoms, red berries and sharp spiny thorns; usually found in old fields, roadsides, and forest edges


(Amelanchier arborea)

aka Shadbush; small tree with white flowers in Spring before leaves emerge, followed by edible purple fruit in summer; scattered in hardwood forest, also on fence-lines

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(Sambucus canadensis)

mid-sized shrub, up to 3 metres; white flowers in late spring or early summer, followed by purple berries in late summer; prefers low, damp areas, and edges.

Red-berried Elder

(Sambucus pubens)

mid-sized shrub, up to 3 metres; white flowers in early spring, followed by red berries; aka Stinking Elder for its strong-smelling flowers and crushed foliage.

Highbush Cranberry

(Viburnum trilobum)

common shrub of fence-lines and old meadows; white flowers in spring, followed by bright red berries often remaining on the bush over winter.

Wild Raison

(Viburnum cassinoides)

mid-sized shrub, found in wet areas, also old meadows and woodland edges; fragrant white clustered flowers in spring, followed by blackish fruit in late summer.

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(Viburnum lantanoides)

aka Moosewood; 2 metres or less; flat-topped clusters of white flowers in mid-spring; habitat hardwood and mixed forests; frequently browsed by moose.

Alternate-leaf Dogwood

(Cornus alternifolia)

aka Pagoda Dogwood; shrub, sometimes small tree; white flowers in flat clusters in late spring followed by bitter blue-black berries in late summer; in understorey of hardwood and mixed forest, fencelines and edges.

Red-osier Dogwood

(Cornus stolonifera)

spreading, thicket-forming, many-stemmed shrub, up to two metres tall; bright red bark; clusters of white flowers in early summer followed by whitish to bluish berries.

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