List of Native Trees for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois.

Developed for the Corridors for Tomorrow Project"

Kenneth R. Robertson
Center for Biodiversity
Illinois Natural History Survey
607 East Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820 USA

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EVERGREEN TREES
Scientific Name
Common Name
Natural Habitat in Illinois1
Regions Where Native in Illinois2
Pollination3
Fruit Type4
Wildlife Attracted5
Special Features6
Establishment & Problems6
Adaptability & Growth Rate6

Juniperus virginiana
eastern redcedar
bluffs; rocky outcrops; old fields; dry woods; moist woods
N, C, S
dioecious; wind
fleshy, dark blue berry-like cones, 1/4" in diameter, with several seeds
songbirds, small and game mammals; high value; nesting cover
pyramidal shape; fine, scale-like leaves; exfoliating bark; 40-50' tall
transplants easily, B & B; can be mass planted for windbreaks; host for cedar apple and cedar hawthorn rusts
very adaptable from very dry to moist soils; don't plant near apples and hawthorns; medium growth rate
Pinus strobus
eastern white pine
moist woods
N, c, s
monoecious; wind
cones, 6-8" long, winged seeds
songbirds, game birds, small mammals; high value
pyramidal shape with horizontal layers; fine texture; 50-80' tall
transplants easily; white pine blister rust, white pine weevil; don't plant near Ribes species
best on moist, well-drained soils but adaptable to dry soil; intolerant of air pollution and salt spray; fast growing

DECIDUOUS SMALL TREES
Scientific Name
Common Name
Natural Habitat in Illinois1
Regions Where Native in Illinois2
Pollination3
Fruit Type4
Wildlife Attracted5
Special Features6
Establishment & Problems6
Adaptability & Growth Rate6

Aesculus pavia
see "Shrubs" table








Amelanchier arborea (Amelanchier canadensis of some authors)
downy serviceberry, juneberry, shadbush, servicetree
wooded slopes; open rocky woods; edge of cliffs
N, C, S
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (6), short-tongued bees (27), other Hymenoptera (1), Diptera (17)
fleshy pomes, purple- maroon, 1/4-1/3" in diameter
songbirds, gamebirds, small and game mammals; high value in early summer
beautiful form; white flowers; red fall color; smooth gray bark
transplants fairly easily, B & B; several rusts, fire blight, minor insect pests
needs well to moderately drained, moist soil; medium growth rate
Aralia spinosa
devil's-walking stick, Hercules' club
rich woods; edges of streams and woods
n, c, S
flowers perfect or polygamous; insects, probably many Diptera and Hymenoptera
fleshy, black drupes, 1/4" in diameter, with several small stones, produced in great quantity
songbirds, small and game mammals; high value
unusual habit with spiny, coarse stems and very large leaves; huge clusters of white flowers; produces suckers
transplants easily, BR; no serious diseases or insect pests
very adaptable to poor conditions; thrives with neglect; use with caution where people present due to spines; fast growing
Asimina triloba
pawpaw
low woods; wooded slopes; along streams
N, C, S
flowers perfect; Diptera (8)
fleshy, large, yellow berries, 2-5" long, with few seeds
wild turkey, game mammals; low value for others
unusual flowers; yellow fall color; root suckers, form colonies
somewhat difficult, transplant small trees B & B or container in early spring; few pests
best in moist soil; medium growth rate
Carpinus caroliniana
American hornbeam, blue-beech, musclewood
moist woods; ravines; rocky slopes along streams
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
small nuts, 1/3" long, covered by larger green bracts, the cluster 1" long
songbirds, gamebirds, small mammals; minor importance
smooth, gray bark; showy fruit clusters; yellow or orange fall color
somewhat difficult, transplant small trees B & B or container in early spring; minor diseases, none serious
best in moist soil, but can tolerate drier conditions; slow growing
Cercis canadensis
eastern redbud
rich woods; edges of woods; along streams; rocky openings; often with Cornus florida
N, C, S
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (22), short-tongued bees (19), Diptera (4), Lepidoptera (5)
brown, flat pods, 2-3" long, persisting through winter
generally unused by wildlife
flowers in early spring; yellow fall color
transplants well B & B; cankers, Verticillium wilt
suitable for many soil conditions, except poorly drained, clay; medium growth rate
Cornus alternifolia
alternate-leaved dogwood, Pagoda dogwood
rich woods; wooded slopes and bluffs
N, C, S
flowers perfect; insects, probably Diptera and Hymenoptera
dark blue drupes, 1/4-1/3" in diameter, on red pedicels
upland gamebirds, songbirds, mammals; very important in late summer; nesting cover
beautiful horizontally layered habit; white flowers; maroon fall color
transplants easily B & B, slow to reestablish; many minor fungal diseases and insect pests, rarely serious
best in moist, acid to neutral soils; growth rate initially slow, becoming medium
Cornus drummondii
see "Shrubs" table








Cornus florida
flowering dogwood
woods; wooded slopes; ravines; along bluffs; edges of prairies
C, S
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (3), short-tongued bees (15), other Hymenoptera (2), Diptera (7)
fleshy red drupes, ovoid, 1/3" long, 3-4 in a cluster
wild turkey, bobwhite, songbirds; very high value in fall
showy white flower clusters; red fruits; red fall color
somewhat difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; many potential diseases and pests, but trees generally do well anyway
prefers moist, well-drained acid soil; sensitive to pollutants; avoid strong drying summer and winter winds; growth rate initially slow, becoming medium
Crataegus crus-galli
cockspur hawthorn
wooded slopes; thickets; rocky areas; hill prairies
N, C, S
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (9), short-tongued bees (26), other Hymenoptera (10), Diptera (23), Lepidoptera (3), Coleoptera (4)
fleshy, deep red pomes, 3/8-1/2" in diameter
upland game birds, songbirds; not relished, mostly late winter emergency food; good nesting cover
attractive flowers and fruits; glossy leaves
B & B in early spring as a small tree; cedar hawthorn rust and other rusts, fireblight
does well in poor, dry soil and city conditions; don't use where people are present due to thorns, thornless cultivar available; slow to medium growth rate
Crataegus mollis
downy hawthorn, red haw
moist woods; thickets; woodland borders
N, C, S
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (4), short-tongued bees (28), other Hymenoptera (4), Diptera (30), Coleoptera (6)
fleshy, dull red pomes, 1/2-1" in diameter
see C. crus-galli above
attractive flowers and fruits
rather difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; cedar hawthorn rust and other rusts, fireblight
does well in poor, dry soil; don't use where people are present due to thorns; slow growing
Crataegus phaenopyrum
Washington hawthorn
open woods; woodland borders; thickets
n, C, S
flowers perfect; insects
fleshy, bright red, glossy pomes, 1/4" in diameter, abundant
see C. crus-galli above
attractive flowers and fruits; lustrous dark green foliage turning orange to purple in fall
transplants well B & B in early spring or late autumn; cedar hawthorn rust and other rusts, fireblight
does well in poor, dry soil; don't use where people are present due to thorns; fast growing
Hamamelis virginiana
common witchhazel
moist woodlands; ravines
N, C, S
flowers perfect; insects
capsules, 1/2" long, maturing 1 year after flowering
upland game birds, fox squirrel; limited value
fragrant yellow flowers in fall; yellow fall color
rather difficult to transplant, B & B or container in early spring; no serious problems
avoid dry soils; somewhat tolerant of city conditions; medium growth rate
Ilex decidua
possomhaw, swamp holly, winterberry
bottomland woods; bases of bluffs; shaded cliffs
C, S
dioecious; insects
fleshy drupes, red, 1/4-1/3" in diameter, with several small pits; need a few male plants for fruit set
wild turkey, bobwhite, songbirds; high value
red fruits persist through winter on bare gray branches; forms thickets
transplants easily, B & B; no serious problems
adapts to open conditions with dry soil; slow to medium growth rate
Malus coronaria
sweet crab apple
woods; edges of fields; edges of prairies
N, C, S
flowers perfect; insects
fleshy, yellow-green pomes, fragrant, waxy, 1-1 1/2" in diameter
bobwhite, pheasant, songbirds; high value; nesting cover
large pink flowers before leaves unfold; forms thickets
transplants easily B & B; cedar apple rust, apple scab, fire blight
adaptable to dry soils; don't plant near junipers; medium growth rate
Malus ioensis
prairie or Iowa crab apple
edges of prairies and woodlands; rocky hillsides; fields
N, C, s
flowers perfect; insects
fleshy, yellow-green pomes, fragrant, waxy, 1-1 1/2" in diameter
see M. coronaria above
large pink flowers before leaves unfold; forms thickets; host to cedar apple rust; susceptible to apple scab & fire blight
transplants easily B & B; cedar apple rust, apple scab, fire blight
adaptable to dry soils; don't plant near junipers; medium growth rate
Ostrya virginiana
Eastern hophornbeam, ironwood
dry soil on rocky slopes; upland woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
nutlets, 1/4-1/3" long, enclosed in a hop-like sac, the cluster 1- 1 1/2" long
songbirds, small mammals; limited value
beautiful habit; ornamental fruit pods; yellow fall color
difficult to transplant, slow to recover, B & B or container as small tree in early spring; no serious problems
sensitive to salt spray; best planted in moist soils, although tolerates dry conditions when established; slow growing
Prunus americana
see "Shrubs" table








Ptelea trifoliata
common hop tree, wafer-ash, stinking-ash
low woods in ravines; rocky open woods; hill prairies; limestone cliffs
N, C, S
flowers polygamous; long-tongued bees (5), short-tongued bees (28), other Hymenoptera (14), Diptera (19), Lepidoptera (2)
flat, round samaras, yellow-green, 2/3-1" in diameter, produced in clusters
songbirds, upland ground birds, small mammals; intermediate value; nesting cover
glossy foliage; conspicuous fruits; tendency to sucker
transplants easily; no serious problems
adaptable to dry soil, full sun to shade; slow to medium growth rate
Rhus copallina
see "Shrubs" table








Rhus glabra
see "Shrubs" table








Rhus typhina
see "Shrubs" table








Salix interior
sandbar willow
along streams; sandbars; bottomlands
N, C, S
dioecious; insects
capsules,1/2-3/4" long, produced in catkins, seeds with a ring of silky hairs
songbirds, game mammals; nesting cover; seeds used to line bird nests
fine textured, narrow foliage
transplants easily, BR or B & B; many bacterial and fungal diseases and insect pests
one of several native willows to consider planting in wet areas; fast growing
Viburnum lentago
nannyberry, sheepberry
moist woods; borders of streams; wooded slopes; uplands
N, C, S
flowers perfect; probably many Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, and Lepidoptera
fleshy drupes, red turning blue-black, oval, 1/2" in diameter; produced in clusters on red pedicels
upland gamebirds, songbirds, small and game mammals; high value in winter
creamy white flowers; fruit display; suckers to form thickets
transplants easily, B & B; no serious problems
very adaptable from moist to dry soils and shade to full sun; medium growth rate
Viburnum prunifolium
blackhaw, nannyberry
rocky upland woods; bluffs; upper slopes of ravines; edges of woods
N, C, S
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (11), short-tongued bees (27), other Hymenoptera (2), Diptera (36), Lepidoptera (7)
fleshy drupes, red turning blue-black oval, 1/2" in diameter, produced in clusters on red pedicels
see V. lentago above
creamy white flowers; fall color often red; appearance similar to hawthorns (Crataegus)
transplants easily B & B; no serious problems
very adaptable from moist to dry soils and shade to full sun; slow to medium growth rate

DECIDUOUS MEDIUM-SIZED TREES
Scientific Name
Common Name
Natural Habitat in Illinois1
Regions Where Native in Illinois2
Pollination3
Fruit Type4
Wildlife Attracted5
Special Features6
Establishment & Problems6
Adaptability & Growth Rate6

Acer rubrum
red maple
swamps; low woods; uplands, slopes; bluff tops
N, C, S
flowers polygamous; primarily wind
samaras, 3/4-1" long
songbirds, bobwhite small and game mammals; high value in early summer
often outstanding fall color; smooth gray bark
transplants easily BR or B & B in larger sizes; minor insect pests
adaptable to different soil types, but does best in moist conditions; medium to fast growth rate
Aesculus glabra
Ohio buckeye
moist woods, bottomland woods,
N, C, S
flowers perfect; insects, especially Hymenoptera
leathery, prickly capsule enclosing 1-3 nut-like seeds, each 1-1 1/2" in diameter
squirrels; low value; poisonous to humans
greenish-yellow flowers in late spring; unusual palmately compound leaves
moderately difficult to transplant, B & B; leaf blotch, minor fungal diseases and insect pests
best in moist soils; develops leaf scorch in windy, hot, droughty conditions; medium growth rate
Diospyros virginiana
common persimmon
dry woods; rich bottomlands; edges of fields; fence rows
n, C, S
flowers polygamous, often dioecious; long-tongued bees (6), short-tongued bees (2), Lepidoptera (1)
fleshy berries, 1-1 1/2" in diameter, dull orange
songbirds, gamebirds, small and game mammals; valuable winter food
checked bark; yellow to reddish purple fall color; forms thickets
difficult to transplant, B & B as small tree in early spring; no major problems
very adaptable to dry, infertile soils; tolerant of city conditions; slow to medium growth rate
Morus rubra
red mulberry
edge of woodlands; lowland to upland woods; thickets
N, C, S
dioecious; wind
fleshy, clusters resembling blackberries, 1" long, composed of tiny drupes, red turning purple
songbirds, gamebirds, game and small mammals; high value in summer
glossy leaves; broad spreading habit; wildlife spread fruits widely and species becomes weedy
transplants easily BR or B & B; many bacterial and fungal diseases and insect pests
very adaptable to city conditions and poor soil, but best in moist soil; fast growing
Populus tremuloides
quaking aspen
woods; along streams; sandy areas
N, C
dioecious; wind, long-tongued bees (1)
capsules 1/4-1/3" long, produced in catkins, seeds with a tuft of silky hairs
songbirds, pheasant; limited value
leaves flutter in the breeze; yellow fall color; pale gray bark; suckers to form colonies
transplants easily, BR or B & B; many disease and insect pest problems
indifferent to most soil conditions; salt tolerant; fast growing
Prunus virginiana
common chokecherry
rich woods; thickets; sandy soil; lakeshores; dunes; dry exposed rocky cliffs
N, C, s
flowers perfect; long-tongued bees (14), short-tongued bees (26), other Hymenoptera (3), Diptera (23), Lepidoptera (7), Coleoptera (3)
fleshy drupes, red turning purple-black, 1/3" in diameter, abundant in hanging clusters
upland gamebirds, songbirds, small and game mammals; high value
white flowers in long racemes; suckers form colonies
transplants easily B & B; host to many pests, but trees still grow well
does well in moist to dry soils; salt tolerant; especially suitable to northern Illinois; medium growth rate
Quercus marilandica
blackjack oak
dry rocky uplands; sandy areas
C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 3/4-1" long, maturing in 2 seasons
upland gamebirds, large songbirds, small and game mammals; high value
scrubby tree with interesting coarse winter silhouette
difficult to transplant; B & B in early spring; some fungal diseases, none serious
adapted to dry, poor soils; slow growing
Quercus phellos
willow oak
along streams; around lakes and ponds
S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2 " long, maturing in 2 seasons
upland gamebirds, large songbirds, small and game mammals; high value
narrow, willow-like leaves; excellent dense oval crown
easier to transplant than most oaks, B & B when dormant; no serious problems
prefers moist soils, but adaptable to very poor conditions; medium growth rate
Quercus stellata
post oak
dry, rocky upland woods; dry bluffs; flatwoods
n, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-1" long, maturing in 1 season
upland gamebirds, large songbirds, small and game mammals; high value
picturesque twisted limbs, coarse texture; brown leaves persist through winter
somewhat difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; no serious problems
adapted to dry, poor soils; slow growing
Salix amygdaloides
peachleaf willow
edges of streams and ponds; low woods
N, C, S
dioeicous; long-tongued bees (7), short-tongued bees (27), Diptera (7)
capsules 1/4-1/3" long, produced in 1" long catkins; seeds hairy
large and small mammals feed on leaves, shoots and bark; moderate value
peach-like leaves; branches somewhat weeping
readily transplanted BR or B & B; many fungal and bacterial diseases and insect pests; weak wooded
can tolerate wet to dry soil, does well in poor compacted soil; fast growing
Sassafras albidum
sassafras
dry cliffs; wooded slopes; dry soils at edges of woods and prairies; sandy soil; old fields
N, C, S
dioecious; long-tongued bees (1), short-tongued bees (26), other Hymenoptera (12), Diptera (57), Lepidoptera (1), Coleoptera (3), Hemiptera (1)
fleshy drupes, 1/2" long, oval, blue-black on red stalks; produced in every 2-3 years
songbirds, gamebirds; high value

magnificant fall color; small yellowish flowers in spring

very difficult to transplant, B & B or container in early spring; few problems
best in moist soil, will tolerate dry soil when established; some chlorosis in high pH soils; medium to fast growth rate
Ulmus alata
winged elm, cork elm, wahoo
rocky upland woods; bluffs; ravine bottoms; along streams
c, S
perfect; wind
samaras, 1/4-1/3" long
minor use by birds, small and game mammals
winged stems; habit reminiscent of a small American elm
transplants easily, B & B; some individual trees susceptible to powdery mildew
adaptable to moist or dry soils

DECIDUOUS LARGE TREES
Scientific Name
Common Name
Natural Habitat in Illinois1
Regions Where Native in Illinois2
Pollination3
Fruit Type4
Wildlife Attracted5
Special Features6
Establishment & Problems6
Adaptability & Growth Rate6

Acer saccharinum
silver, soft, or white maple
low and bottomland woods; margins of ponds and lakes
N, C, S
polygamous; wind; long-tongued bees (1)
samaras, 1 1/2-3" long
songbirds, upland game birds, small mammals; high value in early summer
fine-textured leaves that are silver below; very rapid rate of growth
transplants easily BR or B & B; many fungal, bacterial, and insect problems; weak wooded
adaptable to moist or dry soils; fast growing
Acer saccharum
sugar, hard, or rock maple
moist upland woods; along rivers and streams
N, C, S
dioecious; wind
samaras, 1 1/4-1 1/2" long
songbirds, upland game birds, small and game mammals; high value in early fall
outstanding fall color, variable from tree to tree
transplant B & B; leaf scorch in droughts, numerous potential pests, but rarely serious
prefers somewhat moist soil; not very tolerant of compacted soil, salt or air pollution; slow growing
Betula nigra
river or red birch
bottomland woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
tiny winged nutlets produced within woody cone-like structures, 1-1 1/2" long
songbirds, gamebirds, small mammals; moderate value
young bark flaking and peeling, light to bright cinnamon brown
transplants easily B & B; leaf chlorosis in high pH soils; few pests
best suited to moist soils, but adapts to dry conditions; medium to fast growth rate
Carya cordiformis
bitternut hickory
bottomland woods, swamps, stream banks
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
3/4-1 1/2" long, roundish, 4-ridged; husk splitting to release 1 nut; nut smooth, round,, laterally flattened, kernel bitter
songbirds, woodpeckers, upland game birds, squirrels, other small mammals; moderate value
yellow-brown fall color
transplant B & B in spring, easier than other hickories to move; no major disease or pest problems
best in moist soils; slow to medium growth rate
Carya illinoensis
pecan
low, shaded woods of floodplains and river valleys
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
1 1/4-2" long, oblong, with 4 narrow wings; husk splitting to release 1 nut; kernel sweet
see C. cordiformis above, but higher value due to sweet kernel
glossy, narrow leaflets; can develop into beautiful shade tree
difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; no major disease or pest problems
best in moist soils; plants planted in north should come from sources in northern part of range; slow to medium growth rate
Carya ovata
shagbark or shellbark hickory
dry upland woods and slopes; moist valleys
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
1 1/4-2 1/2" long, round, 4-angled; husk splitting to release 1 nut; kernel sweet
see C. cordiformis above, but higher value due to sweet kernel
picturesque habit; striking shaggy bark; yellow-brown fall color
difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; leaf blotch, anthracnose, hickory bark beetle
best in moist soils, but adaptable to many soil conditions; slow growing
Carya tomentosa
mockernut or white hickory
dry upland woods and ridges
n, C, S
monoecious; wind
1 1/2-2" long, round, 4-angled; husk splitting to release 1 nut; kernel sweet
see C. cordiformis above, but higher value due to sweet kernel
picturesque habit; yellow-brown fall color
difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; no major problems
best in moist soils, but adaptable to many soil conditions; slow growing
Catalpa speciosa
Northern or Western catalpa
bottomland woods; floodplains
n, c, S
flowers perfect; insects, especially Hymenoptera
narrow capsules, 8-20" long and 1/2" in diameter; seeds winged, extremely numerous
low value
beautiful large white flowers in upright clusters; fruits persist through winter
transplant B & B in spring; minor diseases in insect pests; weak wooded
adaptable to wet or dry soils, tolerates high alkalinity; medium to fast growth rate
Celtis occidentalis
hackberry
rich woods; river valleys; upland slopes and bluffs
N, C, S
perfect; wind
fleshy drupes, orange-red becoming purple-black 3/8" in diameter
songbirds, woodpeckers, upland game birds, game mammals; fairly high value
good shade or street tree; light gray bark with corky ridges and warty projections; yellow fall color
transplants easily BR or B & B in larger sizes; witches broom and galls frequent, several other pests, but seldom serious
tolerates many soil conditions, moderately wet to very dry; withstands city conditions; medium to fast growth rate
Fagus grandifolia
American beech
bottomlands; rich, moist soils; wooded slopes
n, c, S
monoecious; wind
prickly burs 1/2-3/4" long, enclosing usually 2 nuts, each 3-angled and 5/8-7/8" long
songbirds, woodpeckers, upland game birds, small and game mammals; high value
beautiful shape, nearly as broad as tall; smooth gray bark; slow growing and long-lived, plant for future generations
B & B in spring; several pests and diseases, but rarely serious
best in moist, well-drained soils; not suited to wet or compacted soils; slow growing
Fraxinus americana
white ash
bottomland forests
N, C, S
dioecious; wind
samaras 1-2 1/2" long, hanging in clusters; some cultivars are nonfruiting male trees
songbirds, yellow-bellied sapsucker, upland game birds and mammals; fairly high value
large shade tree; leaves dark gloss green in summer, turning yellow to maroon in fall; some cultivars selected for fall color
transplants easily B & B; suseptible to many disease and insect problems but vigorously growing trees generally trouble-free
best in moist, well-drained soil, but drought tolerant; medium growth rate
Fraxinus pennsylvanica
green ash
rich bottomland forests
N, C, S
dioecious; wind
samaras 1-2 1/2" long, hanging in clusters; some cultivars are nonfruiting male trees
see F. americana above
large shade tree; leaves dark glossy green in summer; fall color variable, usually yellow
transplants easily, B & B; same problems as F. americana above
exceptionally adaptable to soil conditions, drought and salt tolerant; fast growing
Gleditsia triacanthos
common honeylocust
river floodplains; upland forests
N, C, S
monoecious; insects
flat, twisted pods 6-18" long and 1-1 1/2" wide, persisting through winter; most cultivars are nonfruiting male trees
small and game mammals; game birds; minor value
fine textured foliage, does not kill out grass underneath; trunks with massive clusters of thorns; cultivars lack thorns
transplants easily, BR or B & B; a great many disease, insect problems, maybe a result of overplanting this species
extremely adaptable; plant with caution due to diseases and pests; fast growing
Gymnocladus dioicus
Kentucky coffeetree
rich bottomlands; ravines; moist lower slopes
N, C, S
monoecious to dioecious; long-tongued bees (3), Lepidoptera (1)
thick large pods 4-7" long and 2" wide, persistent through winter
minor use
picturesque coarse habit; persistent pods; large bipinnately compound leaves; flowers fragrant, inconspicuous
transplant B & B; no serious problems
best in moist soils, but very adaptable to dry soils and city conditions; salt tolerant; medium growth rate
Juglans nigra
black walnut
bottomland and floodplain woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
round drupes, 1 1/2-2 1/2" in diameter, with a thin green husk enclosing a single large nut
songbirds, woodpeckers, game mammals; high value
large shade tree for open areas; valuable wood
somewhat difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; caterpillars can defoliate trees; roots produce a chemical toxic to some other plants
best in deep, rich moist soils; Juglans cinerea, butternut, is similar but more tolerant of dry soils; growth fast on good sites
Liquidambar styraciflua
sweetgum, redgum
bottomland and floodplain woods; ravines
n, C, S
monoecious; wind
small capsules clustered into a woody round structure 1-1 1/2" in diameter, persistent through winter
songbirds, upland gamebirds, yellow-bellied sapsucker game mammals; minor value
superb fall color with shades of yellow-purple-red; beautiful shape
somewhat difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; slow to reestablish; several pests, none usually serious
best in deep moist soil; some chlorosis in high pH soils; medium to fast growth rate
Liriodendron tulipifera
yellow-poplar, tuliptree, tulip-magnolia, tulip-poplar
rich woodlands; ravines
C, S
perfect; insects
cone-like, 2-3" long, separating into many samaras
songbirds, bobwhite yellow-bellied sapsucker, small mammals; intermediate value
orange and green flowers; large shade tree, plant where size is not a problem; golden yellow fall color
transplants easily B & B in early spring; many diseases and insects, especially aphids, but trees generally do well
best suited to moist, well-drained soils, not tolerant of drought or compacted soils; fast growing
Magnolia acuminata
cucumber tree or magnolia
moist woods; along streams
c, S
perfect; insects, especially Coleoptera
follicles in a woody cone-or cucumber-like structure, 2-3" long; seeds hanging from a thread, covered with a fleshy red aril
songbirds; low value because seeds not produced in quantity each year
good shade tree for large areas; excellent habit
transplant B & B in early spring; few problems
best in moist, deep soil; not tolerant of excessive wet or dry conditons or pollution; medium to fast growth rate
Nyssa sylvatica
black tupelo, blackgum
bottomland woods; dry ridges
n, C, S
dioecious; insects
fleshy drupes, 3/8-1/2" long, ellipsoid, blue-black
songbirds, upland gamebirds, woodpeckers, game mammals; high value
glorious brilliant yellow to orange and scarlet fall color
difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; no serious problems
best in moist soil but adapts to dry; does not tolerate high pH soils; slow to medium growth rate
Platanus occidentalis
American sycamore or planetree, buttonwood, buttonball-tree
bottomlands woods; floodplains; along streams; around lakes and ponds
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
many nutlets in a bristly ball, 1-1 1/4" in diameter
purple finch, goldfinch, rodents; minor value
mottled bark with darker outer layer peeling to expose light inner bark; large shade tree with a thick trunk
transplants easily BR or B & B; anthracnose in moist cool springs, many other diseases and pests
adaptable to many soil conditions; tolerates city conditions; medium to fast growth rate
Populus deltoides
Eastern cottonwood
bottomland woods; along streams
N, C, S
dioecious; mostly wind, long-tongued bees (1)
capsules 3/8" long, produced in catkins, seeds with a tuft of silky hairs
songbirds, yellow-bellied sapsucker; fairly high value
large shade tree for use in areas with lots of space; because of weak wood plant away from buildings and roads
transplants easily BR or B & B; susceptible to many diseases and insect pests; weak wooded
adaptable from wet to dry soils and low to high pH; tolerates city conditions, salt spray; be aware of limitations before using; fast growing
Prunus serotina
black cherry
moist woods; edge of woods; roadsides; fence rows
N, C, S
perfect; long-tongued bees (7), short tongued bees (23), other Hymenoptera (2), Diptera (29), Lepidoptera (2), Coleoptera (1)
fleshy drupes, red turning black, 1/3" in diameter, abundant in hanging clusters
songbirds, upland gamebirds, woodpeckers, small and game mammals; high value in late summer
white flowers in long racemes; yellow to red fall color; wildlife spread fruits widely and plants become weedy
somewhat difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring or late fall; host to many pests, but trees thrive anyway
very adaptable, does well in moist to dry soils; moderately fast growth rate
Quercus alba
white oak
mesic woods; wooded slopes; dry upland woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-1" long, maturing in 1 season
game birds, small and game mammals; high value
state tree of Illinois; picturesque habit when grown in open; large shade tree; fall color often wine red
difficult to transplant, B & B in early spring; many potential pests and diseases, such as oak wilt, but none usually serious
best in moist soil but tolerates dry conditions; salt tolerant; sensitive to soil compaction and grade changes; slow to medium initial growth rate, becoming very slow
Quercus bicolor
swamp white oak
bottomland woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-1" long, maturing in 1 season
see Q. alba
large shade tree
fairly easy to transplant, B & B in early spring; few disease or pest problems; chlorosis in high pH soils
best in moist soil but adaptable; tolerates drought; growth rate medium, becoming slow
Quercus imbricaria
shingle oak
upland woods; dry exposed sandstone cliffs; moist soils along streams
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-3/4" long, maturing in 2 seasons
see Q. alba
simple, entire, lanceolate leaves; yellow to russet fall color; leaves persist through winter
fairly easy to transplant, B & B in early spring; same problems as Q. alba
best in moist soil but adaptable to dry soils; pH adaptable; slow to medium growth rate
Quercus macrocarpa
bur oak
dry ridges to bottomland woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 3/4-2" long, maturing in 1 season
see Q. alba
large shade tree for spacious areas; coarse interesting habit
transplant as Q. alba; few problems
adaptable to many soil conditions; prefers high pH; tolerates city conditions; slow growing
Quercus muehlenbergii
chinquapin oak, yellow chestnut oak
dry limestone cliffs; upland woods
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-1" long, maturing in 1 season
see Q. alba
handsome habit; fall color variable, yellow to orange or brown
transplant as Q. alba; few problems
best in moist well-drained soils, but adaptable to poor dry soils; prefers high pH; initial growth rate medium, becoming slow
Quercus palustris
pin oak
mesic soil; floodplain woods; along streams; flatwoods; edges of ponds and swamps
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2" long, maturing in 2 seasons
see Q. alba
attractive pyramidal habit with pendulous lower branches; fall color scarlet, russet, or bronze
transplants easily B & B; few diseases and pests; chlorosis in high pH soils
best in moist to wet, well-drained soils; tolerant of city conditions; don't plant in high pH soils; medium to fast growth rate
Quercus rubra (Q. borealis)
northern red oak
rich, upland woods; along river banks; on well drained slopes
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-1" long, maturing in 2 seasons
see Q. alba
excellent shade tree; fall color russet to scarlet
transplants easily B & B in spring; oak wilt, few other serious problems; chlorosis in high pH soils
best in well-drained, moist soil; tolerant of city conditions, salt, and air pollutions; medium to fast growth rate
Quercus shumardii
Shumard oak
bottomland woods; stream banks; limestone ridges
n, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 5/8-1" long, maturing in 2 seasons
see Q. alba
pyramidal habit; fall color russet to red
transplants easily B & B in spring; few problems
adaptable to wet or dry soils; drought tolerant; growth rate medium
Quercus velutina
black oak
upland woods; rocky ridges; sandy soil; savannahs
N, C, S
monoecious; wind
acorns 1/2-3/4" long, maturing in 2 seasons
see Q. alba
can have an unkempt appearance due to dead branches; fall color dull red
transplant as Q. alba; very susceptible to oak wilt, few other problems
prefers moist, well-drained acid soils, but adaptable to very dry conditions; medium growth rate
Robinia pseudoacacia
black locust
woodlands; thickets; roadsides
n, c, S
perfect; long-tongued bees (7), Lepidoptera (3)
flat pods 2-4" long
little used by wildlife
fragrant and showy white flowers; produces suckers forming colonies; nitrogen fixing; spreads into adjacent areas
transplants easily BR or B & B; locust borers a major problem, other minor diseases and pests
very adaptable to most soil types, except those very wet; thrives in poor conditions; tolerates salt & drought; fast growing
Salix nigra
black willow
wet ground; frequently along rivers and streams
N, C, S
dioecious; long-tongued bees (14), short-tongued bees (43), other Hymenoptera (3), Diptera (32), Lepidoptera (2), Coleoptera (3)
capsules, 3/16" long, produced in catkins, seeds with a ring of silky hairs
evening and pine grosbeaks; moderate value
largest North American willow
transplants easily BR or B & B; many diseases and insect pests
grows in almost any soil, wet to dry; growth very fast
Taxodium distichum
bald cypress
swamps and low, wet woods
c, S
monoecious; wind
round cones 1" in diameter
little used by wildlife
deciduous conifer with delicate foliage; attractive pyramidal habit; fall color russet; reddish brown fibrous bark in winter
transplants readily B & B in spring; few diseases or pests; chlorosis in high pH soils
native to southern swamps, but adaptable to dry conditons; salt tolerant; plant in acid soils; medium growth rate
Tilia americana
American basswood, or linden
moist woodlands; ravines; upland woods
N, C, S
perfect; long-tongued bees (2), short-tongued bees (11), other Hymenoptera (3), Diptera (11), Lepidoptera (1), Coleoptera (1)
nut-like, 1/2" in diameter, several in a cluster below a large bract
small and game mammals; low value
fragrant and showy cream flowers; large shade tree for spacious areas
transplants easily B & B in spring; host to many diseases and pests, but not often serious
best in moist, deep soils, but adaptable to rather dry conditions; sensitive to air pollution, drought, and compacted soils; medium growth rate

Click here for published references consulted for this project.

1 Information on natural habitat based primarily on: Elias (1989); Fernald (1950); Little (1980); Miller & Tehon (1929); Mohlenbrock (1986).

2 Information on region based primarily on: Mohlenbrock & Ladd (1978); Mohlenbrock (1986); "n" = north of Interstate 80; "c" = central, between Interstate 80 and Interstate 64; "s" = south of Interstate 64. A capital letter indicates that the species is native to that region while a lower case letter indicates that the species can be cultivated in the region although it is not native there.

3 Information on pollinators mostly from Robertson (1929) supplemented by personal observations. Perfect flowers = flowers have both male & female parts; monoecious= separate male and female flowers on the same plant; dioecious = separate male and female flowers on different plants; polygamous =a mix of perfect and/or male and female flowers on the same plant. The numbers in parentheses refer to the number of species reported visiting this species by Robertson (1929)

4 Information on fruit primarily based on: Dirr (1990); Elias (1989); Fernald (1950); Little (1980); Rehder (1940).

5 Information on wildlife primarily based on: DeGraaf & Witman (1979); Ehrlich et al. (1988); Elias (1989); Gill & Healy (1974); Hightshoe (1988); Martin et al. (1951).

6 Information on Special, Establishment & Problems, and Adaptability & Growth Rate based primarily on: Dirr (1990); Flint (1983); Hightshoe (1988); Walker & Giles (1985); Yiesla & Giles (1992). B & B = balled & burlapped; BR = bare root. NOTE: The information on disease and insect pests can be viewed two different ways. In traditional landscape approaches, such problems are considered deleterious and attempts are made to use species with few diseases and pests and to control them with pesticides. However, in the context of Corridors for Tomorrow, native pathogenic organisms are part of the original biodiversity of Illinois, and hence their continued presence in the state could be encouraged.

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