Chestnut Oak Leaf

Chestnut Oak – Tips to Identify

I’m on the lookout for a local chestnut oak. Most of my tree pictures are taken within a mile or so of my backdoor, but I haven’t found a chestnut oak in that area.  Until I track down this locally elusive oak, perhaps you …
Bee Balm

Exceptional Year for Bee Balm

Along an old sawmill dam, with part of the area fed by a spring, nature and early 20th century human undertakings provide me with an annual beautiful and bountiful selection of wild plants. The harvest begins early when I clip watercress near …
White Ash with Seeds

White Ash – Tips to Identify

Until very recently, I couldn’t have been happier with the status of white ashes on my property. The woods boast some enormous mature specimens, and the whole area is covered in ash regeneration, from seedlings and saplings to middle-aged trees. But it’s all …
Hemlock Woods on summer morning

Hemlock – Tips to Identify

The Eastern Hemlock is the sixth most common tree in Pennsylvania and the official state tree. It often forms dense stands along creek bottoms that gradually thin as they move away from the water. Throughout much of its range, the eastern hemlock is under …
Sugar maple displaying fall foliage

Sugar Maple – Tips to Identify

If I were to name one tree for landowners to encourage in their woodlots and plant in their landscape, it would be Sugar Maple. It’s an impressive tree in the forest and a beautiful addition to your yard. It’s  fall foliage can be stunning, …
Beautiful fall day with a beech view

Beech – Tips to Identify

If you encounter a large tree in the woods with gray bark surrounded by a dense thicket of root sprouts and find legible initials carved in the tree, you can count on it being an American beech. Unfortunately, the large specimen dead on …
Black Cherry Tree Bark of Mature Tree

Black Cherry – Tips to Identify

I enjoy the fruit of the black cherry tree. It’s quite tasty when completely ripe (almost black), even though it’s very small and has a large seed in the middle. Not everyone agrees, however. Several years ago I was walking with a …
The bark of a younger black birch

Black Birch – Tips to Identify

While preparing this post on black birch, I discovered a deficiency in my ability to identify trees: I have trouble distinguishing the leaves of several native trees! My excuse? The bark of the yellow birch, black birch, service berry, ironwood, and hornbeam …
Ramp flowers

Flowering Ramps

The usual debates over ramps, a wild, native member of the leek family, involve where to find, when to harvest, and how to prepare them. I harvest ramps from my favorite patch, which happens to be on my property, but they are …