Types of Trees with Their Name and Picture for Easy Identification

Types of Trees with Their Name and Picture for Easy Identification

All types of trees play an important role in our ecosystem. Trees provide shade, shelter, oxygen, and many even produce fruit. There are over 60,000 species of trees that come in all shapes and sizes, from majestic cedars to smaller fruit trees and shrubs. Identifying the different kinds of trees usually depends on examining their leaves and bark. Some types of trees have wide oval leaves, some have star-shaped ones, and many evergreen trees have needle leaves.

All species of trees are classified into two main types: deciduous trees and evergreen trees. Deciduous trees shed their leaves at a certain time of the year – usually in the autumn while types of evergreen trees keep their leaves throughout the year.

Trees are woody perennial plants that are a member of the kingdom Plantae. All species of trees are grouped by their genus, family, and order. This helps make identifying and studying trees easier.

Apart from providing oxygen for the planet and beauty when they bloom or turn color, trees are very useful. Certain species of hardwood and softwood trees are excellent for timber, making furniture, and paper. When managed properly, trees are a good source of renewable energy and construction material.

In this article, you will learn how to identify 23 different types of trees. Most of these trees are common in North America, Europe, and other countries around the world.

Two Main Categories of Trees

All of the thousands of species of trees fall into two categories – deciduous trees and evergreen trees.

Deciduous trees


Deciduous trees shed their leave usually in the autumn

Deciduous trees are the kind of trees that lose their leaves at certain times of the year. The term deciduous literally means to “fall off at maturity.”

In North America, Europe, and temperate counties, deciduous trees such as oak, walnut, elm, and birch shed their leaves in fall. This is usually preceded by the leaves turning wonderful colors including shades of orange, brown, and yellow.

In tropical countries, species of deciduous trees lose their leaves during dry seasons.

Evergreen trees


Evergreen trees retain their leaves all year around

Species of evergreen trees such as spruce, pine, and fir trees keep their leaves throughout the year. There are about 14 family groups of evergreen trees, and these trees provide color in gardens and landscapes all year long. Evergreen trees are the reason why forests look so beautiful in winter landscapes.

Identifying the Types of Tree Leaves

close-up picture of leaf shapes

The shapes of the leaves help to identify the tree species

Tree identification is usually possible by examining the leaves.

There are three basic leaf types: broadleaf, needles, and scales.


Most, but not all, deciduous plants have broadleaves that can be in all shapes and sizes. The leaf shapes can be oval, rounded, long and narrow, triangular, or heart-shaped. Some easily identifiable broadleaves are the iconic maple leaf and the oak leaf with its lobed leaves.

Needle leaves

Many evergreen trees such as conifers, pines, and spruce trees have needle leaves. These can be long, thin and straight and grow in clusters. Or, the needles could be soft needles that grow sparsely on the twig.

Scale leaves

Close-up picture of scale leaves

Scale leaves

Some types of evergreen trees like juniper and cedar have scale-like leaves. Their leaves look more like scales than needles.

Other ways to identify trees by their leaves include:

  • Opposite leaves grow directly across from each other on the leaf stem.
  • Alternate leaves grow in a staggered, alternating pattern along the stem.

Types of Trees With Pictures and Identifying Features

Here is a list of many types of common trees that grow in forests, woodlands, fields, and gardens.

Birch Trees

A picture of Silver birch tree (Botanical name: Betula pendula)

Silver birch (Betula pendula) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with white peeling bark

There are about 60 species of hardwood birch trees of the genus Betula and in the family Betulaceae. Birch trees can be easy to identify as their bark is often white or silver-colored and the long drooping branches have small thin leaves. Wood from birch is hard and is good for making furniture and plywood and is also a good source of firewood.

Tree identification: Birch trees have small triangular-shaped leaves with a slightly serrated edge. Another recognizable feature is that the bark of birch trees is papery. Depending on the species of birch, the smooth bark can be dark gray to white.

Maple Trees

Picture of a small Japanese maple tree with red leaves

Japanese maple (botanical name: Acer palmatum) is a small deciduous tree with many cultivars growing worldwide

Maple trees are beautiful deciduous shade trees with deeply lobed leaves. Maple trees have dark brown furrowed bark, small winged fruits, and narrow reddish-brown twigs.

Maple trees belong to the genus Acer in the family Sapindaceae. Although the maple tree is commonly associated with Canada, most of the species are native to Asia. The most common maple tree species in Europe is the sycamore maple tree (Acer pseudoplatanus), and there are 10 species native to Canada.

Some of the most popular maple trees are the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and red maple (Acer rubrum).

The most famous product made from maple trees is the sweet maple syrup made from the tree’s sap. Although you can make syrup from any maple tree, it’s only the sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) that produces quality sweet syrup.

Maple is a hardwood tree that is also useful for making baseball bats and its timber is valued in the construction industry.

Tree identification: Maples can be woody shrubs growing about 33 ft. (10 m) tall or large majestic trees up to 150 ft. (45 m) tall. The most common identifying feature of maple trees is their lobed leaves growing opposite each other on branches.

Ash Trees

Picture of a large beautiful ash tree

Ash trees are medium to large size and most of them are deciduous

Ash trees (Fraxinus) are medium to large deciduous trees with a rounded crown of dark green leaves. Ash trees have lanceolate pinnate leaves that grow in groups of five, seven, or nine leaflets. Most species of mature ash trees have gray bark with a pattern that looks like a fishnet.

Most varieties of ash trees grow to between 50 and 80 ft. (15 – 24 m) tall. The medium-sized trees have a spreading round canopy up to 50 ft. (15 m) wide. Most varieties of ash trees grow in USDA zones 3 to 9 in full sun.

Ash is a species of tree native to North America and it’s a common tree in parks, deciduous forests, woodlands, and residential neighborhoods.

Ash trees are a species of hardwood tree in the genus Fraxinus and family Oleaceae. This means that ash trees are related to olive trees and woody lilac bushes.

Ash tree wood is prized for its strength and flexibility. The grain in the wood is also attractive and this makes the tree valuable for furniture makers.

Tree identification: Ash trees have large, pinnately compound leaves. Ash tree leaves have narrow and slightly oval shape and they usually have five or seven leaflets. Mature ash trees have bark with ridges that form diamond shapes. Ash tree branches grow oppositely from each other.

Oak Trees

Picture of large oak tree

Oak trees live in a wide range of habitats and are the national tree of many countries.

Oak trees are hardwood trees that are common in North America and Europe. There are over 90 oak species in the United States. Oaks can be trees or shrubs and are in the genus Quercus and the family Fagaceae.

Oak trees are well-known for producing wood that is extremely hard, durable, and resistant to disease. Oak wood has been prized for centuries and was used to make ships, create interior paneling, and also barrels for storing wines and spirits.

Oak trees are divided into two groups: white oaks (Quercus, subgenus leucobalanus) and red oaks (Quercus, subgenus Erythrobalanus). White oak trees have gray-colored bark and leaves with rounded lobes. Red oak trees have darker-colored bark and leaves with pointed lobes.

Oak trees are known for their acorns (also called oak nuts). Acorns have a smooth leathery shell that sits in a cup called a cupule. The acorns of white oak trees have a sweet or slightly bitter taste, however the acorns from red oak trees have a very bitter taste.

Tree identification: Most species of oak are deciduous trees and a few are evergreen. Oak trees can be identified by their lobed leaves with pointed or rounded tips. Oaks also produce acorns which are oval-shaped nuts sitting in a small cup-like structure called cupule.

Related: Types of Oak Trees and How to Identify them (Pictures)

Sycamore Trees

sycamore tree

Sycamores are large flowering deciduous trees that grow easily from seeds

Sycamore trees are large deciduous trees with a broad, rounded crown of lush green foliage. Sycamore trees have large serrated lobed leaves that look like maple leaves. These huge trees have thin, peeling reddish-brown bark. Sycamore trees can grow to huge proportions with some reaching heights of 130 ft. (40 m).

In the late autumn or winter sycamore trees have round brown seed balls hanging on their branches.

Sycamore is a species of large hardwood tree in the genus Platanus. Sycamore wood is very hard and dense and not easy to work with.

Sycamore trees are fast-growing popular shade trees in city landscapes and parks. However, their roots have a destructive effect on sidewalks and building foundations. They are one of the largest deciduous trees native to North America.

The most common sycamore tree species in North America is the Platanus occidentalis which is also called the American sycamore. Other common names for the American sycamore tree are buttonwood tree, western plane tree, American plane tree, and water beech.

Tree identification: Sycamores trees often have bark that easily flakes off, giving the trunk a reddish-brown, multicolored look. Sycamore trees have large lobed leaves that look similar to maple leaves. The leaves grow alternately on stems and have 3 to 5 lobes with toothed edges.

Cedar Trees

Picture of tall cedar tree (genus name: Cedrus)

Cedars are evergreen coniferous trees

Cedar trees are large evergreen coniferous trees that have needle-like leaves that are arranged spirally on scented woody branches. Cedar trees are native to the Mediterranean region. True cedar trees are in the plant family Pinaceae and the genus Cedrus.

Cedar trees are a type of hardwood and can grow especially tall with some of the largest species growing up to 164 ft. (50 m) high. Because of their grace and elegance, cedars are popular ornamental trees and are often cultivated as bonsai trees. Cedar trees are also popular for their aromatic wood and fragrant foliage.

There are hardwood trees native to North America that have “cedar” in their common name. But these types of cedars are in the list of false cedar trees. If you check their scientific name, many are species of junipers in the family Juniperus.

Tree identification: Cedar trees have scale leaves that grow in dark green or bluish-green spiral clusters. There could be between 15 and 45 clusters on short shoots that make up the leaves on branches.

Juniper Trees


Junipers are coniferous evergreen trees that vary in size and shape

Juniper trees are often called cedars but they belong to a different genus and family. Junipers (genus Juniperus in the family Cupressaceae) are evergreen trees.

Depending on the species of juniper, the foliage can be soft and feathery or prickly needles. Some of the low-growing juniper shrubs have silvery needles. Large juniper trees often have leaves that are scale-like and grow on rounded shoots.

Some popular types of junipers in North America include Eastern red cedars, common red cedar, Ashe junipers, and California junipers.

Tree identification: Most species of juniper have needle-like leaves when they are immature that grow into scale leaves as the tree ages.

Willow Trees

Beautiful willow tree in the forest

Willows are deciduous flowering trees and shrubs that prefer very moist soil

Willow trees are easily identified by their long drooping branches covered in oval elongated leaves. The leafy woody plants in the willow family are deciduous and can be low-growing shrubs or medium-sized trees.

There are about 400 species of willow that belong to the genus Salix. Willows can be large weeping trees, dwarf trees, or low-growing creeping shrubby plants.

One of the interesting features of willow tree leaves is their color. Willow leaves can be greenish-yellow, bluish-green or have red blushing.

Wood from willow trees tends to be soft and flexible and the branches are often used for making wicker baskets.

Tree identification: Willow leaves are simple and elongated with serrated edges. Willows are usually last to drop their leaves in fall.

Pine Trees

pine tree

Pine is an evergreen coniferous that is fast growing and long lived tree

Pine trees are often used as ornamental trees and are a softwood type of conifer. Evergreen trees in the genus Pinus are probably the most recognizable type of coniferous tree.

Pine trees produce hard cones and their leaves are clusters of needle leaves. Pine trees grow tall and straight with some of the largest species reaching heights of 268 ft. (81 m). Because of their fast growth, pine wood is important in the construction and furniture industries.

Most types of pine trees have reddish-brown or gray bark and there is also a species called the Red pine.

Tree identification: Their tall straight trunks and needle like leaves that grow near the top of the tree make these evergreens easy to identify.

Hickory Trees


Hickory are deciduous trees and include about 18 species

Hickory trees are deciduous trees in the genus Carya that are common in North America, China, and India. Hickory trees are well-known for their edible nuts.

There are 18 species of hickory trees, 12 of which are native to North America. The most common types of hickory trees are shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) and shellbark hickory (also called kingnut or Carya laciniosa).

Pecan trees are also a type of hickory tree as they are in the Carya genus and their botanical name is Carya illinoinensis. Pecan tree bark is interesting because the bark splits and peels as the tree grows.

Hickory trees are related to walnut trees because they are in walnut family (Juglandaceae). Hickory is a type of hardwood that is used for making sports equipment such as bats and sticks, as well as being used for smoking cured meats.

Tree identification: Hickory trees can be identified by their large green leaves that have a pointed tip at the end and they grow alternately on the stems. Hickory produces edible nuts that are in a “double” shell.

Redbud Trees

Picture of a beautiful redbud tree with pink flowers

Blooming Redbud tree

Redbud trees are small flowering trees that are famous for their beautiful pink or white spring flowers. Redbud trees have heart shaped leaves and their seedpods have dark brown color. Redbuds are deciduous trees that have green leaves in the summer that then become yellow, orange or red during autumn. Redbud trees belong to the plant family Fabaceae and the genus Cercis.

One of the most common redbud trees is the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). The Eastern redbud tree is named for where it commonly grows, which is in eastern North America.

Some of the names of redbud tree varieties to plant in your yard are: Ruby Falls redbud, Forest Pansy redbud, and Ace of Hearts redbud.

Tree Identification: Redbud trees can be identified by their pink flowers and heart-shaped leaves. Many cultivars in the redbud species Cercis canadensis have different flower colors and tree size. Redbud trees can have light pink, white, or dark pink flowers.

Mahogany Trees


There are many species of mahogany tree but “true” ones are in the genus Swietenia

Mahogany is a type of redwood tree that is famed for its hardness and straight grains. Genuine mahogany trees are 3 species in the genus Swietenia and are native to North and South America. Other types of mahogany tree in the family Meliaceae grow in Asia, Africa, and New Zealand.

Mahogany wood is highly rated for its reddish-brown color and durability. Mahogany also is rot-resistant and has tonal properties making it the perfect type of wood for constructing musical instruments.

Tree identification: Rich brown-red colored wood that gets darker with age. Mahogany tree leaves have oval shape and they grow opposite each other on the stem.

Teak Trees

Tall thin teak trees in the forest

The tropical teak is large deciduous tree and is known for its high quality

Teak are massive deciduous trees that are species of trees in the genus Tectona. Some species of teak tree can grow up to 131 ft. (40 m) tall and their branches produce thin, papery leaves.

Teak is a type of hardwood that is popular with furniture makers and boat builders is teak. The reason why teak wood is widely used is that it is very weather resistant. Often, outdoor furniture, window frames, flooring, and boat decks are constructed from teak trees.

Tree identification: Teak tree leaves are large and ovate with a smooth surface and edges.

Walnut Trees


Black walnut tree is has a commercial importance for lumber and walnuts production

Walnut trees are best well-known for their delicious and healthy edible nuts. Walnuts are deciduous trees are in the genus Juglans and the family Juglandaceae. Walnut trees also tend to be large, massive trees that grow to between 33 and 131 ft. (10 – 40 m) tall. They also have a large spread.

The most important species of walnut tree for nut production is the Juglans regia, or black walnut. This species of walnut is an important source of hardwood timber.

Walnut trees generally have rough bark with deep fissures. The ridges in their bark run vertically up and down the trunk. The color of the walnut bark can be light gray to dark brown.

Tree identification: Walnut tree leaves are alternate and are comprised of leaflets that grow opposite each other.

Apple Trees

Picture of beautiful apple trees with white flowers

Apple tree is a very popular and common type of fruit tree that is cultivated worldwide and has a beautiful blossom

Apple trees are a genus of large trees in the family Rosaceae that produce beautiful flowers and a crop of apples.

Apple trees grow in most countries in the world and the most common species is the Malus domestica tree. It is reckoned that apple trees are the oldest cultivated tree in history. It is estimated that there are over 7,500 different kinds of apple trees.

Apple trees can grow to 40 ft. (12 m) tall and have a spread of the same size. There are plenty of dwarf apple tree cultivars for gardens that may just grow 3 – 6 ft. (1 – 2 m) high.

Tree identification: Apple tree leaves are alternate and simple and their shape is egg-shaped. Many types of apple trees have ovate leaves that come to a point.

Crabapple Trees

Crabapple Purple Prince (Malus ‘Purple Prince’)

Crabapple Purple Prince (Malus ‘Purple Prince’)

Crabapple trees (botanical name Malus) are like miniature apple trees (Malus domestica). The smallest crabapple trees can be small shrub-like bushes around 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall. Larger crabapples can grow to between 20 and 30 ft. (6 – 9 m).

Crabapple trees are stunning ornamental flowering trees. Crabapple flowers come in spectacular shades of pink, white, purple, orange, and red. Additionally, crabapple trees produce small tart fruits called crabapples.

Crabapple fruits are generally up to 2” (5 cm) in diameter and can be yellow, amber, orange, red or purple. The taste of crabapples ranges from sweet to very sour and bitter, and they are made into jellies, sauces, pickled crabapples, and jams.

Further reading: Crabapple Trees (Malus): Types, Flowers, Fruits.

Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees

ornamental flowering pear tree

Ornamental pear trees flower with beautiful white flowers every spring. In the picture: Bradford ornamental pear tree in bloom

Ornamental pear trees (Pyrus calleryanaare) are deciduous flowering trees with shiny green leaves, cup-shaped white flowers, and beautiful fall colors. Most varieties of Pyrus calleryana have a pyramidal, upward growth shape. Ornamental pear trees grow between 32 and 40 ft. (10 – 12 m) tall and around 22 to 30 ft. (7 – 9 m) wide.

Although all flowering pear trees—including Pyrus calleryana—actually produce fruit, the tiny pears on ornamental pear trees are too insignificant to be useful. The pears are exceedingly small, measuring only about half an inch (1 cm). Pyrus calleryana fruit also tastes bitter, and, for most people, the small pears are inedible.

Ornamental pear varieties are heat and drought-tolerant and are resistant to many fruit tree diseases. These facts make ornamental pear trees popular for front and backyards. Ornamental flowering pear trees grow in USDA zones 5 through 9.

Further reading: Types of Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees – Fruitless Pear Trees.

Cherry Trees

cherry trees

Cherry trees have many cultivars that include edible fruit trees, ornamental flowering trees, weeping and dwarf trees

Cherry trees (Prunus) are spectacular deciduous flowering trees that bloom in spring. There are hundreds of varieties of cherry trees – Species of cherry trees are categorized by their fruit or blossoms.

There are sweet cherries (Prunus avium), sour cherries (Prunus cerasus), and ornamental cherry blossom trees, such as Japanese cherry blossom tree (Prunus serrulata) and Yoshino cherry (Prunus x yedoensis). Typically, fruit from cherry blossom trees is too small and sour to eat—although they are a favorite of many birds.

There are also weeping cherry trees, such as weeping Higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’) and dwarf weeping cherry tree varieties, such as Prunus jacquemontii ‘Hiromi’  that grows between 3 and 6 ft. (1 – 2 m).

Cherry trees have beautiful whitish-pink blossoms in spring between mid-March and mid-April covering bare branches. Cherry trees have glossy green oval leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges.

Cherry trees grow in USDA zones 5 through 9. However, some cold-hardy cherry trees can withstand temperatures in zone 4.

Further reading: Types of Cherry Trees with Their Leaves and Flowers – Identification Guide.

Hawthorn Trees


Most hawthorn trees grow between 5–15 m (16–49 ft.) tall and have edible berry-like fruit

The botanical name for hawthorn trees is Crataegus and they are in the same family (Rosaceae) as apples. Hawthorns are a type of tree or shrub that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Leaves from the hawthorn tree grow spirally on long shoots.

Because of their attractiveness, hawthorns are grown as street trees or ornamental trees and the smaller shrubs also make great hedges.

Other names for hawthorns include ‘thornapples,’ ‘hawberries,’ ‘mayhaw,’ or ‘May-tree.’

Tree identification: Hawthorn leaves come in many different shapes. Some types of hawthorn trees have leaves that are deeply lobed and look like large parsley leaves. Other hawthorn leaves look more ovate due to having shallow lobes.

Elm Trees

Thick trunk Elm tree

Elm trees can grow tall and are popular street trees

Elm trees are a common type of forest tree that are classed as deciduous or semi-deciduous. There are about 35 species of elm in the genus Ulmus. Some common species of elm include American elm (Ulmus americana), European elm (Ulmus glabra), and Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra).

Elm trees are large shade trees that can grow up to 100 ft. (30 m) tall with a wide spread of around 75 ft. (22 m). Some elm species have tall, upright growth, and other types of elm trees have an umbrella-shaped canopy.

Tree identification: Elm is a thick, dense hardwood tree and some species are especially ornamental and beautiful. Elm leaves are classed as broad-leaves that can be between 7 and 16 cm long and their ovate shape tapers to a point. Elm bark is a dark grayish-brown color with deep furrows and a scaly appearance. Elm tree seeds are small and round and are protected in an oval papery casing called a samara.

Read more: Types of Elm Trees with Their Bark and Leaves – Identification Guide.

Spruce Trees

Norway spruce

Spruce trees are slow growing and are important in the building industry

Spruce trees make up many of the types of forests in North America and are a type of coniferous evergreen tree. Spruces are classed as large trees that belong to the Picea genus. One feature of spruce trees is that they are extremely cold hardy. Some of the larger spruce species are very imposing because they can be as high as 200 ft. (60 m).

All of the 35 species of spruce trees have pine needles that radiate equally around the stems and can be prickly. The most common spruce trees in North America are the Red spruce, Black spruce, and White spruce. Spruce trees are also traditionally used as Christmas trees. Spruce trees are also one of the most important trees for the timber industry.

Tree identification: Spruce tree cones are long and cylindrical that hang down off the tree. Also, the leaves of spruce trees are rows of green, bluish-green, or silver-green needles.

Fir Trees

Fir trees are large evergreen conifer trees that are mainly found in forests in North America, Europe, and Asia. They have needle-like leaves that stay green all year long. Some species of fir tree such as the Fraser fir, balsam fir, and noble fir are popular types of Christmas trees.

The easiest way to identify fir trees is by looking at their needles and cones. The needles of fir trees tend to be softer than pine or spruce. Unlike the clusters of pine needles on a branch, fir tree needles attach individually to the branches and not in clusters. Also fir cones tend to grow straight upward from the branches.

The bark of young fir trees is usually smooth and gray. As the tree matures the bark becomes ridged.

Read more: Types of Fir Trees.

Locust Trees

Locust Tree

Flowers of black locust tree

Locust trees are fast-growing flowering trees that grow to between 66 and 98 ft. (20 – 30 m) and belong to a family of flowering plants called Fabaceae. Most types of locust trees grow in the eastern states of North America.

The most common types of locust trees are the black locust and honey locust tree. Locust trees have fragrant sweet spring flowers and colorful fall foliage. Many varieties of locust trees have long sharp thorns and there are a few thornless species.

Locust trees are hardy trees that are known for their hard and durable wood that is used for making furniture, fence posts, flooring, and small boats.

Identifying species of locust trees can be done by features such as their flowers, color of bark, height of the tree, the thorns, as well as by the shape and color of its seed pods.

Read more: Types of Locust Trees with Identification Guide and Pictures.

Cottonwood Trees

Cottonwood Trees Identification

Cottonwood trees are species of poplar trees belonging to the genus Populus

Cottonwood trees are huge deciduous forest trees that have large green leaves, thick foliage and deeply fissured grayish-brown bark. One of the common features of all types of cottonwood trees is the fluffy cotton-like strands that appear in early summer .These large trees can grow to between 50 and 80 ft. (15 – 24 m) and some species can grow even higher.

Cottonwood trees are common in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. Cottonwood trees are popular because they are fast-growing, their timber is cheap, and they thrive in wetlands and arid environments.

For many people, the fluff from cottonwood trees is a nuisance and can cause allergic reactions. However only the female species of cottonwood trees produce the white fluff for which the tree is known.

Read more: Cottonwood Trees: Facts, Identification, Pictures and More.

Arborvitae Trees (Thuja Trees)

Northern White Cedar

American arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis) makes great privacy tree or hedge

Arborvitaes (Thuja) are evergreen conifers with soft, lush feathery foliage. Different types of arborvitaes grow as upright columnar trees, small conical trees, or globe-shaped shrubs. Arborvitae trees and shrubs are ideal for natural privacy screens, wide hedges, living fences, or specimen trees.

The American arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) and Giant arborvitae (Thuja plicata) are native to North America, where they are popular garden landscaping plants. American and giant arborvitaes can grow to a height of 49 ft. (15 m) tall, however small cultivars have develop to suit smaller spaces.

The ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae is one of the most popular landscaping trees in the Thuja species. Also called ‘Smaragd,’ this upright columnar arborvitae has compact growth and reaches up to 14 ft. (4 m) tall.

Read more: Varieties of Arborvitae Hedges, Trees, and Shrubs.

Cypress Trees

Mediterranean Cypress or Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

Mediterranean Cypress / Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) trees, foliage and cones

There are various trees with the common name cypress, however not all of them are true cypress tress.

True cypress trees belong to the coniferous plant genus Cupressus. Cypress trees have soft, feathery evergreen foliage and produce cones that look like large acorns. Cypress trees such as the Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and the Mediterranean Cypress / Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) are true cypress trees.

False cypress trees are evergreen and deciduous coniferous trees that also have the common name cypress. However, they are not from the cypress genus Cupressus. The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens) are examples of false cypresses. The Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) and Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) are other false cypress varieties.

Read more: True and False Types of Cypress Trees.

Eucalyptus Trees

Lemon Eucalyptus Plant (Eucalyptus citriodora syn. Corymbia citriodora)

Lemon eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus citriodora / Corymbia citriodora)

Eucalyptus trees have evergreen aromatic leaves and attractive smooth peeling bark. The unusual eucalyptus flowers have a fuzzy look and can be white, cream, yellow, pink, or bright red colors.

Eucalyptus plants are flowering trees and shrubs with over 700 species. Some species of eucalyptus trees can grow as tall as 330 ft. (100 m). Eucalyptus shrubs—known as mallees—grow up to 33 ft. (10 m) tall.

Some types of Eucalyptus trees are called gum trees, and fruit from eucalyptus plants are called gumnuts. Eucalyptus plants are native to Australia but also grow in tropical and temperate climates throughout the world.

Further reading: Types of Eucalyptus Trees: Leaves, Flowers, Bark.

Dogwood Trees

dogwood tree

Flowering dogwoods are small to medium size trees. They add decorative touch to any garden

Dogwoods are beautiful flowering deciduous trees belonging to the genus Cornus with distinctive flowers, berries, bark, and leaves. Dogwood flowers bloom in spring and are typically white, but some species produce yellow, pale red or pink blossoms.

Dogwood trees are small to medium-sized trees, growing between 10 and 25 ft. (3 – 7.6 m) tall. Most species of dogwood are fast-growing ornamental trees that are ideal for garden landscapes. Some types of dogwoods look like shrubs as they are small shrubby multi-stemmed plants.

To grow dogwood trees, plant them in partial shade or full sun. Dogwoods flower every spring and require well-draining soil that is always moist. After the small trees are established, you only need to water them regularly on hot summer days.

Further reading: Flowering Dogwood Trees and Shrubs: Types, Leaves, Bark – Identification.

Crape Myrtle Trees

Crape Myrtle trees

Large and small crape myrtle trees grow best as specimen trees and add a focal point to a landscaped garden

The ornamental crape myrtles belong to the Lagerstroemia genus of flowering trees and shrubs that thrive in warm climates. Popular in garden landscapes, crape myrtle trees produce masses of red, pink, purple, and white flowers throughout the summer.

Crape myrtle shrub-like trees have deciduous or evergreen foliage, colorful peeling bark, multiple stems, and bushy growth. Most species of crape myrtle trees thrive in USDA zones 7 through 10.

Dwarf crape myrtle trees are large shrubs that are perfect for compact gardens. Typically, dwarf myrtle trees grow between 6 and 10 ft. (1.8 – 3 m) tall, such as the ‘Acoma’ crape myrtle that is a multi-stemmed shrub-like tree with masses of white flowers and a rounded spreading crown. Other crape myrtle trees grow between 15 and 20 ft. (4.5 – 6 m).

Further reading: Crape Myrtles: Trees, Dwarf Plants and Shrubs.

Mesquite Trees

Honey Mesquite Tree (Prosopis glandulosa)

Honey Mesquite Tree (Prosopis glandulosa)

Mesquite is the name for several large deciduous shrub-like trees in the genus Prosopis and pea family Fabaceae. Mesquite shrubs and trees can be a few feet tall or grow up to 50 ft. (15 m). From the 40 species of mesquite, around seven are native to Texas, California, and Northern Mexico.

Mesquite trees are short and thorny with feathery leaves, white or yellow flowers, and seed pods containing peas. The most common types of mesquite trees are the honey mesquite tree (Prosopis glandulosa), velvet mesquite tree (Prosopis velutina), and screwbean mesquite tree (Prosopis pubescens).

Mesquite trees thrive in USDA zones 7 through 11 in full sun and well-draining soil. You can find mesquite trees growing in deserts, grasslands, along streams, and on hillsides. Because of their fast growth and extensive root system, mesquite plants are considered invasive in some areas.

Further reading: Mesquite Trees: Types, Leaves, Flowers, Bark – Identification Guide.

Magnolia Trees

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Magnolia is a genus of large flowering shrubs or trees in the family Magnoliaceae. Magnolia grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or a single trunk tree. The beautiful landscape tree is characterized by its fragrant pink, purple, yellow, or white flowers, glossy leathery leaves, and cone-like fruits.

Magnolias can be deciduous or evergreen depending on their growing zone. There are some 125 species of magnolia suitable for growing in most zones. There are 8 species of magnolia native to the United States.

The most popular magnolia types are the Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata), and Saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana).

Most varieties of magnolia thrive in full sun or partial shade. Magnolia trees and shrubs adapt to various soil types and grow well as long as the soil is well-draining.

Further reading: Types of Magnolia Trees and Shrubs with Their Flowers and Leaves – Identification Guide.

Buckeye Trees

buckeye tree

Buckeyes are deciduous ornamental trees that are popular in parks and open spaces

Buckeye is a variety of ornamental deciduous trees in the genus Aesculus and family Sapindaceae that is related to the horse chestnut tree. There are four main varieties of buckeye trees. Common varieties of buckeyes are the Ohio buckeye, the California buckeye, and the yellow buckeye.

Buckeye trees grow between 12 and 40 ft. (3.5 – 12 m) tall. You can find buckeyes growing in the deciduous forests and grasslands in the Midwest. They are also popular trees in parks and open spaces in states along the East Coast and the Southern states. Ohio buckeyes are found all the way from New York to Kentucky and down to Texas.

Buckeye trees are identified by their large round inedible nut-like seeds that look like the eye of a buck, green palmately compound leaves, and creamy-yellow or red flower clusters.

Further reading: Types of Buckeye Trees with Their Flowers and Leaves – Identification Guide.

Vitex Trees (Chaste Trees)

vitex tree vs vitex shrub

Vitex is a woody plant that can grow as a shrub (left) or as a multi-stemmed shrubby tree (right)

Vitex tree (also named chaste tree) is a large type of multi-stemmed shrub or small tree with attractive spikes of lavender-colored flowers that bloom in summer. Although referred to as the vitex tree or chaste tree, the vitex plant generally grows as a sizeable bushy shrub. But in warmer climates, vitex can grow as a small multi-trunked tree.

Chaste trees (Vitex agnus-castus) have many characteristics that make them desirable garden shrubs/trees. Apart from the clusters of small violet flowers, these plants have aromatic grayish-green, lanceolate leaves. The large deciduous shrubs/trees have a vase-shaped growth that spreads upward and outward.

Vitex trees grow best in USDA zones 7 through 9. In warmer climates, the large shrub can grow up to 15 ft. (4.5 m) tall and, as a tree, up to 20 ft. (6 m) tall. In zones 5 and 6, the shrubby plant experiences winter die-back. However, frost rarely affects the roots, and vitex bushes come back to life the following spring.

Further reading: Vitex Trees (Chaste Trees): Types, Flowers, Leaves, Care.

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