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TREES & plants

Tree and plant descriptions

  • American chestnut

    Castanea dentata
    The American chestnut was once the king of the forest. It was a magnificent tree used for lumber and for food. Then the chestnut blight came in and began to decimate this species in the early 1900s. The American chestnut is not extinct. It survives in the wild in the form of root systems and stump sprouts. There are also ongoing efforts to develop trees that are resistant to the disease.
  • American cranberry-bush

    Viburnum opulus var. americanum (syn. Viburnum trilobum)
    This native viburnum offers ornamental interest throughout the seasons; flowers in spring, red fruit in late summer and red fall color.
  • American elm

    Ulmus americana
    Elms are loved for their graceful, stately shape, with branches like spreading fountains, and their green leaves that turn gold in fall. Sadly, the American elm can no longer be recommended because it is vulnerable to a devastating pathogen called Dutch elm disease. For cultivars of American Elm that are resistant to Dutch elm disease, see below.
  • American hazelnut

    Corylus americana
    American hazelnut is a thicket-forming native shrub, excellent for naturalizing, woodland gardens and shade areas. Showy male flowers (catkins) add early spring interest, dark green leaves turn a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. The nuts mature from September to October, attracting seed-eating birds, such as blue jays and woodpeckers.
  • American holly

    Ilex opaca
    American holly is a broad-leaved evergreen tree reaching 40 to 50 feet high, densely pyramidal in youth becoming more open and symmetrically conical with age. The dark green, elliptical leaves have several spiny teeth along the leaf margin. Plants grow best in low, acid pH soils in part shade. Avoid windy sites. Trees are either male or female and require several to get fruit production.
  • American hornbeam

    Carpinus caroliniana
    The American hornbeam is a native forest understory tree in the Chicago area, making it useful for shady landscapes and naturalized or woodland gardens. New leaves emerge reddish-purple, changing to dark green, then turn yellow to orange-red in the fall, offering a kaleidoscope of color throughout the year.
  • American Sentry® linden

    Tilia americana 'McKSentry'
    The American Sentry linden is reported to have some resistance to Japanese beetle. It is a dense shade tree with heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers; this cultivar is particularly symmetrical. This is a cultivated variety of a native plant.
  • American smoke tree

    Cotinus obovatus (syn. Cotinus americanus)
    American smoke tree is a native of North America, but is little used in home landscapes. This small to medium tree produces the same 'smoke' (hairy fruit stalks) as it's Eurasian cousin, smoke bush and also offers excellent fall color.
  • American wisteria

    Wisteria futescens (syn. Wistaria frutescens)
    American wisteria is a woody vine that produces beautiful hanging clusters of purple flowers. This species is native to North America. It is a good alternate to the Japanese and Chinese wisterias that have become invasive in some areas.
  • Amur cherry

    Prunus maackii
    Amur cherry is an ornamental tree native to Manchuria, Siberia, and Korea. It has beautiful amber to reddish-brown flaking bark; clusters of fragrant, white hanging flowers in spring; and red maturing to black fruit.