TREES & plants

Tree and plant descriptions

  • Tulip-tree

    Liriodendron tulipifera
    The tulip-tree is one of the largest native trees in North America. It is a member of the magnolia family and has distinct tulip-shaped characteristic in its leaves, flowers, and fruit. The showy, goblet-shaped, orange-yellow-green flowers appear in late spring after the leaves; the cone-like seed clusters sit upright on the branches. The golden-yellow fall color of the tulip-tree makes this an choice for large landscapes.
  • Tupelo

    Nyssa sylvatica
    Tupelo or sour gum is a striking pyramidal tree in its youth with horizontal branches growing from a typically straight trunk. As the tree matures it takes on more of an irregular habit. The dark green glossy summer foliage takes center stage in fall when the leaves turn bright scarlet.
  • Turkish hazelnut

    Corylus colurna
    Turkish hazelnut is an excellent hardy tree for lawns, street plantings, and urban conditions. Its heavy-textured, dark green foliage is free of insect and disease. This tree is also pH adaptable and tolerant of heat, cold, and drought once it is established.
  • Vernal witch-hazel

    Hamamelis vernalis
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: In late winter or very early spring, before the leaves unfurl, Vernal witch-hazel has yellow and orange-to-red flowers with a spicy fragrance that appear in late February and last three to four weeks. The new foliage is an attractive bronzy-red color that matures to dark green and then turns a rich butter yellow to golden yellow in fall. The dried leaves often persist into winter. The fruit capsules mature in September or October, when they split to expel black seeds that are attractive to robins, juncos, titmice, cardinals and other birds. The plants can sucker to form colonies. This is a great specimen plant, or can be used for screening, in masses, as an informal hedge or as part of a naturalized landscape.
  • Virginal Mock-Orange

    Philadelphus x virginalis
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Mock-orange is an old-fashioned, back of the border, mid-to-late spring flowering shrub with sweetly scented white flowers. Dark green foliage make attractive background for pure white flowers. It has limited ornamental value in other seasons, but the double-flowering cultivars are bringing popularity back to this plant.
  • Virginia Creeper

    Parthenocissus quinquefolia
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Virginia creeper is an aggressive, woody vine native to the Midwest and the Chicago region. This vine is often found growing up tree trunks in native woods, but it can be trained to grow on a fence or arbor. In early autumn the compound, 5-leaflet leaves turn a brilliant red.
  • Wafer-Ash

    Ptelea trifoliata
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Wafer-Ash is a small native tree or large shrub that produces small clusters of fragrant flowers and wafer-like winged seeds, similar to elms. A good plant for naturalizing or woodland landscapes. Despite the name, Wafer-Ash is not a true ash tree and is unaffected by the emerald ash borer.
  • Wahoo

    Euonymus atropurpureus
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Wahoo is a Chicago region native offering beautiful fruit in fall. It may be difficult to find this species in local nurseries.
  • Wayfaring tree

    Viburnum lantana
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Wayfaring tree is often chosen for planting because of its adaptability and reliability. However, plants often appear ‘leggy,’ so they look better near the back of the border, in mass, or in groupings. Wayfaring tree is also useful for naturalizing. The plant’s handsome fruit are an outstanding feature, beginning yellow and changing to red and black, often displaying all three colors on the same cluster.
  • White fir

    Abies concolor
    The white fir is a hardy and ornamental North American native evergreen. Its attractive, blue-green needles curve outward and upward on branches and, when crushed, emit a lemon scent. This choice plant tolerates a wide range of conditions, including drought, heat, and cold temperatures.