Trees and Shrubs

The Vine I Despise

The Vine I Despise

Walking in a winter wetland forest, in the eastern U.S. my eyes are drawn to green leafless vines growing along the edge of the trail. Numerous spiky thorns protrude from the green stems and small clusters of bluish-black berries dangle in the light breeze. It is the nasty catbriar. Its thorns remind me of a […]

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar

A plant that brings color to the winter fields and interdunal swales is the eastern red cedar. It is not a true cedar; it is a juniper. This evergreen tree takes on many forms depending on where it grows. Along the beach front, just behind the primary dune, eastern red cedars grow more prostate. Sea […]

A Winter Refuge

A Winter Refuge

Although the woodlands look bleak in the winter, one tree provides a bit of greenery and shelter in pine barren woods in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Pitch pine is an evergreen tree with stiff pine needles bundled in sets of threes and short round pine cones. Its thick corky-like bark protects it from wildfires. […]

A Winter Jewel

A Winter Jewel

Winter forests have a dismal lifeless look with leafless trees, gray tree trunks and crumbled fallen leaves. Yet I still enjoy walking through woods at this time of year to look for signs of life. In the midst of crumpled brown decaying leaves, I sometimes find a splash of green on the woodland floor. Bending […]

A Holly Without Thorns

In sandy woodlands growing in moist soils along the periphery of bogs and wetlands is a evergreen shrub in the holly family that has no thorns. It is Inkberry holly. It lives in eastern North America from Nova Scotia south to Florida where it is often found in dense colonies. Its shiny dark green leaves […]

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 […]