Trees and Shrubs

The Holly That Loses its Leaves

The Holly That Loses its Leaves

When people think of holly they envision a shrub or tree with glossy green prickly leaves and bright red berries. There is a species of holly that is deciduous and loses its leaves each winter and it is called winterberry holly. This holly has crayon green leaves and berries that are green at first, but […]

The Shrub That Blooms in the Fall

The Shrub That Blooms in the Fall

It is late October and woodlands and the colorful autumn leaves are littering the ground. The woodlands are beginning to look barren as winter approaches. It is at this time that a shrub blooms providing some color to the barren landscape. It has many small spindly yellow flowers on branches devoid of leaves. It is […]

The Red Tree

The Red Tree

One of the most beautiful things to see in fall wetlands is the orange-red colors of autumn leaves from the red maple tree. This tree’s buds and flowers are red, its two-winged sumara are red tinged and it has red petioles. Red maple is also called swamp maple because it grows in wet woodlands and […]

The Soap Bush!

The Soap Bush!

When I worked in state parks in New York, I frequently conducted guided tours of parklands to school, scouts and the general public. One of the shrubs I featured in the early summer was sweet pepperbush when this plant bloomed. I tore off a flower and demonstrated how it became an abrasive soap to wash […]

The Fragrant Berry

The Fragrant Berry

When I grew up on Long Island and visited the sea shore, I always enjoyed the fragrance of the native northern bayberry. Breaking off a leaf and crushing it in your fingers releases the bayberry scent often used in candles today. Later in the summer, the flowers turn into fruit that are green at first, […]

Not Your Garden Azalea

Not Your Garden Azalea

When gardeners think of azaleas, there are thoughts of going to a nursery to purchase these shrubs to plant around the house. But in our native woodlands there are wild azaleas that thrive in acidic wetlands. One such azalea is the swamp azalea. It has showy, fragrant white flowers that bloom in the early summer. […]

Plums by the Beach

My favorite shrub of beach environments is the beach plum. I always look forward to its prolific blooms of five-petaled white flowers in the spring. Once pollinated by bees and other pollinators, it produces lots of fruit that are green at first, but by the end of the summer the fruit ripen into a deep-purple […]