Tamarack: genus Larix
Scientific Name: Larix laricina (LARRˇricks [short A] larriˇSIGHna) "larch-like larch"
Common Name:Tamarack
Family: Pinaceae (pin·AY·see·ee), the pine family, order Pinales
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Distinctive Characteristics: only pine-like tree in area that loses leaves in winter. Also the short leaves on spur shoots are distinctive.
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Habit:Conical shaped tree.
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The Tuliptree: genus Liriodendron
Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera (leer·ee·oh·DEN·drun   too·lip·PIFF·er·uh)
Common Name:Tulip Tree, Yellow Poplar
Family:Lauraceae
Bark: Medium grey, with tight fissures making an even smooth pattern.
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Distinctive Characteristics: Flowers, fruits, leaves.
Distribution: Cultivated here, but does not grow wild as far north as Massachusetts. There is a young specimen right inside Johnston Gate, in Harvard Yard.
Flowers:
Fruit:
Habit: Very tall, straight tree, with trunk ascending very high undivided. Side branches not big.
Habitat: Only in cultivation in this area.
Leaves: Alternate, four lobes, quite distinctive.
Similar trees
Twigs: Persistent leafy stipules to 3 cm. long, with entire margin at at leaf axils.
 
The Apples: genus Malus
Dawn Redwood: genus Metasequoia
Scientific Name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Common Name: Dawn redwood
Family: Taxodiaceae
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The Mulberries: genus Morus
Scientific Name: Morus (MORE-us)
Common Name: Mulberry
Family: Moraceae (more-AY-see-ee)
Bark:
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Distinctive Characteristics: Milky, sticky sap; leaves.
Distribution: Native to the northeast, but not to my knowledge, to eastern Massachusetts. Spread by bird droppings beyond cultivation. There are several large Red Mulberries in front of Cambridge Public Library.
Flowers:
Fruit: An achene, enclosed in fleshy, juicy calyx, so that
the clusters of fruits resemble a raspberry. Red, turning black when ripe. Edible, sweet, and messy, staining the ground beneath the tree. Birds eat the fruits and leave purple droppings behind, and raccoons will be found beneath the trees at night feeding on fallen fruit.
Habit: Kind of a raggedy tree often, small.
Habitat: Waste places, yards. Usually, like the Ailanthus, it is growing somewhere because someone failed to eliminate it.
Leaves: Alternate, 2 to 6 inches long, roundish, with rounded serrations. The leaves often have irregular sinuses, faintly resembling those of Sassafras.
Similar trees Rather a distinctive tree in leaf, scraggly, pale, small and otherwise nondescript in winter.
Twigs: Light brown.

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Sourgum: genus Nyssa
A picture
Scientific Name: Nyssa
Common Name:
Family: Nyssaceae
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Habit: A decent sized tree, with small horizontal branches.
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Hophornbeam: genus Ostrya
Scientific Name: Ostrya
Common Name: Hophornbeam, Ironwood
Family: Betulaceae
Bark: Like gray, with scaly strips running vertically or almost vertically.
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Sourwood: genus Oxydendrum
Scientific Name: Oxydendrum arboreum (OXy·DEN·drum AR·bore·EE·um) "Tree-like Sour-tree"
Common Name: Sourwood
Family: Ericaceae (ERic·AY·see·ee) the Blueberry family
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Distribution: In cultivation in Massachusetts (for instance along Mass. Ave, just inside the wall of Harvard Yard.) Native to eastern U.S. from Pennsylvania to northern Florida.
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Leaves: Alternate
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The Princess Tree: genus Paulownia
Scientific Name: Paulownia
Common Name:
Family: Scrophulariaceae (SCROFF·you·lair·ee·AY·see·ee), the Snapdragon family. Formerly placed in Bignoniaceae because of resemblance to Catalpa (Harlow 1996).
The Amur Corktree: genus Phellodendron
Scientific Name: Phellodendron amurense (fel·o·DEN·dron am·oor·EN·see) "cork tree from Amur"
Common Name: Amur Corktree.
Family:
Bark: Ridged, light brown, thick, soft and corky (press a fingernail into it).
Buds:
Distinctive Characteristics: Bark. Fruit.
Distribution: Cultivated, not commonly. Native of China.
Flowers:
Fruit: Black berries 1 cm. across borne in loose clusters, ripening in September. Tough skin, juicy, with several seeds.
Habit: Short trunk, heavy spreading limbs. Medium-sized tree.
Habitat: Parks, the odd lawn.
Leaves: Opposite, pinnate leaves. Dark green.
Similar trees: Ash has similar leaves. To test, punch the tree. If you hear bones cracking, it is an ash (or it's a corktree but you have osteoporosis).
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The Spruces: genus Picea

Scientific Name: Picea abies (PIE·see·yuh AY·beez) "fir spruce"
Common Name: Norway Spruce.
Family: Pinaceae.
Bark: Dark brown, covered with thin, medium-sized scales.
Buds:
Cones: Hanging, tan, 6 inches long, with smooth scales. Has a rather symmetrical, machine-made look.
Distinctive Characteristics: Twigs, cones.
Distribution: European tree, cultivated all over eastern Massachusetts.
Flowers:
Habit: A large evergreen, very straight (without the drooping top of a Hemlock), with pendant (as in hanging straight down 40 cm!) twigs.
Habitat: Cemeteries, yards, parks. Not planted as much as it once was.
Leaves: Evergreen, whorled about twig like a bottle brush, 1.5-2 cm long or more.
Similar trees: No other conifer is quite as droopy.
Twigs: Just hanging there.
Scientific Name: Picea mariana (PIE·see·yuh MAry·AH·nuh)
Common Name: Black Spruce
Family: Pinaceae
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Distribution: Alaska to Maine
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Habit: Small, narrow conifer that keeps lower branches.
Habitat: In Massachusetts, spaghnum bogs.
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Scientific Name: Picea rubens
Common Name: Red Spruce
Family: Pinaceae
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Copyright © 1989, 1997, 2010 Brian Laurence Hughes
Last modified: 2010 Nov 27 at 18:40 EST

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