Most of the visible life on this earth can be divided into two different categories – flora and fauna. Of them both, flora consists of plants and trees, whereas fauna consists of our animals. But flora has been on this planet well before our origin.
The lush green vegetation has been a part of this earth even before the first fauna came into existence, i.e., for billions of years. Though they are immobile like the fauna, they are found in places where it is difficult for us humans to reach.
A lot of credit for the wellbeing of the planet goes to the fauna. They control the precipitation, keep circulating the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air and give shelter and food to the fauna.
The tree is a specific category of fauna. It is different from the small herbs and the softwood shrubs as it is big, tall, has hardwood, etc. Every tree grows, transforms from an herb to a shrub, and eventually grows into a tree in its growth process. Trees are a lifeline for the world both because they can supply more oxygen than herbs and shrubs and serve many other utilities.
The other utilities include wood for shelter and furniture, fire, cooking food, etc. Trees are also a direct source of food for us humans as many of them provide us with edible fruits.
Trees are an essential component in the construction of houses. A significant fraction of houses in the United States are made from wood. Many big industries of the world are fueled by wood, and hence trees support the world’s various economies. From paper to furniture, we use trees in as many ways as possible.
Like the different uses of trees, there are also different types of trees, each having unique features that make them. Stand out. Trees hail from the kingdom of Plantae and are divided between a lot of species, genus, and families.
There are so many different species of trees that learn their names would tire you to the core. But the trees can broadly be classified into two categories, i.e., deciduous and evergreen trees
Deciduous trees are the type of trees that shed their leaves once every year. These trees generally come with broadly shaped leaves that further come in different shapes and sizes.
Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the autumn season in The North American region and the tropical region’s dry season. Once the leaf is shed, new leaves start to come out in the spring season, and the tree looks more beautiful than ever.
In a way, the shedding of leaves acts like a renovation for the tree. Some common deciduous trees are oak, birch, maple, etc.
Evergreen trees, as the name suggests, remain green throughout the year. They do not shed leaves like the deciduous trees, and hence the leaves are not replaced. These trees generally have needle-shaped leaves. Evergreen trees generally grow in areas with high snowfall. They are also found in tropical areas.
Some common evergreen trees are pine, spruce, fir, etc.
Now that we know the two broad categories of trees let us know about some common types of trees divided between these two categories and learn about their striking features that you can look for, for easy identification.
Different Types of Trees
Pine trees are evergreen trees that belong to the Pinus genus and Pinaceae family. These trees are generally found in temperate and frigid zones and are very common in the US. Pines are coniferous trees and have needle-shaped leaves when they grow up.
The leaves form clusters called fascicles. Each bundle in the pine tree has one to seven leaves. You can also identify this tree from the flag of North Carolina as it is its symbol.
Pine is known for its long lives and can live up to thousands of years. The average height of these trees ranges from 50ft-150ft while the longest ones reach even 500ft. The bark of pine trees is thick and scaly. Pine trees are generally monoecious and have both male and female cones in a single tree.
Apple trees are deciduous trees that belong to the Malus genus and the Rosaceae family. This family is the most cultivated out of the families in the Malus genus. This tree is most famous for its fruit which is recognized as the most favorite fruit globally.
The apple fruit also makes the apple trees one of the most commercial trees on this planet. These trees are believed to have originated in central Asia and were brought to North America by the European colonists.
Apple trees generally are 6 to 15ft tall when grown commercially and up to 30 ft tall in the wild. The leaves of the apple trees are oval-shaped and are dark green in colors. They are alternately arranged.
In the blooming season, beautiful five-petalled white flowers grow along with the leaves. These flowers are then converted into fruits. The fruit is said to mature by late summer or autumn. The wood from apple trees also has a high demand for cooking because of its excellent aroma.
The next type of tree is the birch. Birch trees are deciduous trees that belong to the Betulaceae family of the Betula genus. These trees can be identified quite easily because of their bark color. The bark is generally white or silver.
The bark of birch trees is papery and can be identified on touching. Birch trees are equipped with small thin leaves hanging from long drooping branches. The leaves are triangular shaped and are green in color.
These are hardwood trees, and their wood is used to make furniture and plywood.
Maple trees are another very famous type of trees that are mostly found in Canada. These are deciduous trees that belong to the Sapindaceae family of the Acer genus. These trees have deeply lobed leaves that grow opposite directions to each other and dark brown furrowed bark. Apart from Canada, these trees are also found in Asia.
Some of the famous maple trees are sugar maple and red maple. The maple trees provide wood for the industries responsible for manufacturing basebat and timber. But the most favorite product that we get from. The maple tree is the sweet maple syrup. It is the maple syrup that makes these trees so costly and significant. The best maple syrup is extracted from the sugar maple trees.
Maple trees can have a height of anywhere from 33ft tall to 150ft tall.
Cedar trees are coniferous trees that belong to the pine family, i. they belong to the Pinaceae family of the pinus genus. Like the other pine trees, cedar trees are also evergreen and have needle-shaped leaves.
These trees generally grow in temperate regions like the Himalayan mountains and the southern and western parts of North America. These trees can grow up to 120ft in—height, with the taller varieties reaching even 180ft.
The cones of cedar trees are barrel-shaped, which makes them easily identifiable. The wood of these trees is spicy-resinous scented, and this makes their wood and the cedarwood oil a natural moth repellent.
You can also identify them from their bark. The bark of cedar trees is thick rigged, and square cracked.
Ash trees are medium to large hardwood deciduous trees found in Europe, Asia, and North America. These trees belong to the Oleaceae family of the Fraxinus genus. A young ash tree can be easily identified from its smooth bark, but as it grows up, the smooth bark starts developing shallow fissures, and the smoothness is gone. Leaves of the ash tree are found in groups of five or seven, forming a rounded crown. These leaves are opposite to each other.
The average height of ash trees varies from 40 to 60 ft. The wood of the ash tree is widely renowned for its strength and elasticity. It hence is used in industries responsible for manufacturing robust and resilient tools and equipment like baseball bats, bows, handles of hammers, etc.
Oak trees fall in the genus of Quercus and come from the Fagaceae family. They are hardwood trees that have both deciduous and evergreen varieties of trees. You can quickly identify these trees from their deeply lobed leaves that have pointed or rounded edges. The barks of these trees have ridges and fissures in them that give them a scaly look.
These trees can have a lifespan of somewhere between 100 to 300 years, depending on their surroundings, especially the environment. These trees grow in the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. They can grow up to 70 ft in height and have a width of about 9 ft.
The wood obtained from oak trees is challenging and is resistant to bugs and insects due to the high tannin content. Oakwood is used in making plywood, furniture, floorings, ships, and the barrels of aging wines as the wood gives a nice flavor to the wine.
The next on our list of different types of trees are Hickory trees. Hickory trees are hardwood deciduous trees that grow in the temperate region. They belong to the Juglandaceae family of the Carya genus.
These trees are native to China, India, the USA, and Mexico. The leaves of these trees are long and grow opposite to each other. The bark of the tree is ridged and gets easily peeled off once the tree grows old. So, it is relatively easy to know whether the hickory tree is old or new.
They can quickly grow up to the height of 60 to 80ft, and in some cases, they can also reach 120ft in height. The wood obtained from hickory trees is hard, stiff, and dense, and this makes it a perfect material for manufacturing a plethora of things from floorings to bows to bottom of skis, etc. The fruit obtained from the hickory tree is a hard-shelled nut that is surrounded by a woody husk. The nut is edible and has a sweet taste.
Willow trees are hardwood deciduous trees that come from the Salicaceae family of the Salix genus. These trees grow in cold areas, especially the temperate regions. One more requirement for them to grow is the presence of moist soil. These trees have long leaves that are thin in shape and are generally green in color. These trees can reach heights up to 45 to 70 ft.
The wood from these trees is used to manufacture boxes, cricket bats, furniture, and many other things. The most remarkable feature of these trees is their width. Willow trees can grow to enormous widths, sometimes even matching the height of the tree. Willow trees a dioecious, meaning that one tree can have only one type of flowers, i.e., either male or female.
Redbud trees are small to medium-sized deciduous trees. They are sometimes referred to as big shrubs or small trees. These trees belong to the Fabaceae family and fall in the crecis genus. These trees are also the symbol for the state of Oklahoma.
They can reach a height of 25 to 35 ft. These trees are native to eastern North America. Their bark is dark red-brown and is smooth when young. When it ages, the bark starts developing scales, and the smoothness is eliminated.
Redbud is a hardwood tree with pink flowers that vary among different shades. It has alternate growing leaves, which are dark green and are heart-shaped. Redbud trees do not have a significant lifespan and can only live up to 50 to 70 years.
Sycamore trees are also known as American Sycamores. They are deciduous trees that belong to the Platanus genus and are of the Platanaceae family. These trees are native to the eastern and central United States. They can reach massive heights of 70 to 100 ft, with the tallest one being 170 ft tall. A full-grown tree can have a diameter of somewhere between 6 ft and 15ft.
The bark of the sycamore trees is reddish-brown, and it starts to peel off as its ages. It gets peeled off in irregular shapes, leaving a white or yellow surface. The leaves grow alternately and are five-lobed. In the autumn season, they turn orange or light yellow.
Sycamore was grown mainly for its shade in the United States. It can also be used in manufacturing boxes and crates, and even furniture.
Juniper is a coniferous tree that is not as big as other coniferous trees, and hence it is sometimes regarded as a shrub. Juniper trees belong to the Juniperus genus of the Cupressaceae family. This tree has needle-like leaves and may have scale-like leaves. Juniper trees can grow to a height of 66ft to 131ft. The leaves of these evergreen trees are hard and sharp.
These trees are found in Europe, the UK region, and mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. They have a considerable lifespan, among the greatest. They can live up to 350-700 years, and some of them are believed to have even crossed the 1000 years benchmark. Junipers are famous for their essential oil, which is prepared by steaming the juniper berries. The oil appears pale yellow.
Their wood is also used as timber for making shelves and other furniture and is called “red cedar.”
Walnut trees are another variety of edible nut trees. These are deciduous trees that belong to the juglans genus of the family of Juglandaceae. These trees can grow up to heights of 50 to 70 ft. The biggest attraction of this tree is the walnut which is eaten when mature. When the fruit gets mature, the shell breaks up, and the walnut inside becomes easily visible. Walnut is eaten all over the world and is put in a lot of dishes. China is the biggest producer of walnuts, producing half of the total world production.
The leaves of walnut trees are pinnate, i.e., they grow on opposite sides. The leaves turn brown or yellow in the fall season. The bark of the walnut tree is brown and has rounded fissures. A typical walnut tree has a lifespan of 100 to 200 years.
Cherry trees are a part of the family of plum trees. These trees belong to the Prunus genus and the Rosaceae family. These trees are native to Northern temperate regions and are mostly found in North America.
They are mostly cultivated for their fruit as everyone enjoys them, and they are also grown for decorative purposes as they look lovely. They consist of both deciduous and evergreen trees. The leaves of cherry trees are simple, alternate, and unlobed.
Cherry trees do not grow much in height and are sometimes referred to as shrubs or small trees. These trees have an average height of 20ft to 30ft. The bark of cherry trees is full of deep fissures and greyish brown to blackish bark, which also serves medical purposes.
Cherry trees can have a lifespan of between 50-150 years. The wood from cherry trees is also used for smoking meat as it gives them a delicious aroma and is also used as firewood.
Mahogany trees are medium-sized deciduous trees that belong to the Swietenia genus of the family of Meliaceae. These trees are native to South Florida in the US and are listed as “threatened species” in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act.
It was used a lot in colonial times. From building ships to being used as furniture wood, mahogany trees were very significant for the people and the economy. Because of its fine tonewood quality, mahogany is also used to make musical instruments.
The height of a mahogany tree varies from 98ft to 115ft. The leaflets of their leaves ‘ trees grow opposite to each other. Each leaf has between 4 to 8 leaflets. Bark in the younger mahogany is smooth, but with time, it gets dark and furrowed. Though mahogany trees are evergreen, some trees are semi-deciduous, and they shed their leaves in the spring or autumn.
Teak trees are the next on our list of different types of trees. They are tropical hardwood deciduous trees that grow in south and southeast Asia, like India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, etc. The height of a teak tree can go up to 131 ft. Teak trees belong to the tectona genus of the lamiaceae family. Teak trees are laden with small fragrant white flowers. These trees are monoecious. The leaves of a teak tree are huge and are papery.
The wood of the teak tree smells like natural oils and leather. Teak wood is water-resistant and challenging, and therefore, it is an excellent choice for building wooden boats and exterior projects. Teak wood is also used in making various furniture items, and the items manufactured from it are, not to mention, very expensive.
Eucalyptus trees are a family of medium to tall trees that are native to Australia. These trees belong to the eucalyptus genus of the eucalypteae family. The bark of eucalyptus trees is very smooth and mostly white.
It is believed that the eucalyptus tree adds a new layer of bark every year, and the older layer is shed off. The leaves of eucalyptus trees are glossy green and are rich in oil glands. The leaves are alternate.
Eucalyptus trees can grow to heights of well above 60 meters or 197ft. But many do not reach these heights. Eucalyptus is believed to be the most famous tree in the world as it was grown as plantation crops in most of the continents.
Its cultivation as plantation crops was started by the colonials because of the rich supply of pulpwood. Still, on seeing its importance, many nations have continued to grow them as cash crops. Eucalyptus trees provide firewood, wood for building furniture, pulpwood, and they can grow back again once they are cut above the root.
Fir trees are another variant of coniferous trees that grow mostly in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Fir trees belong to the Pinaceae family’s abies genus and look very similar to other pine trees. To identify the difference between the two, you will have to look closely at their thin leaves.
The leaves of the fir trees are connected singly to the branch, and their intersection appears as a suction cup. These are giant trees that can grow up to the height of 262 feet. They can live for almost 60 years.
Fir trees do not have good quality wood, and hence their wood is used as pulp for making plywood. Firwood is also not resistant to insects and water and is not the right choice for exterior projects. It would help if you avoided them as they can quickly spoil within a year or so of use.
Hawthorn trees are small deciduous trees or sometimes called shrub, that is also popularly known as quickthorn, whitethorn, etc. These trees are native to the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate regions in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America.
These trees belong to the crataegus genus of the Rosaceae family. The leaves of these trees are obovate and are deeply lobed. They are dark green from the top and pale green from the bottom.
The bark of young hawthorn trees is smooth and grey, and for the older ones, the bark has developed shallow longitudinal fissures. These trees also have thorns, sharp pinned branches that emerge from other branches or the trunk and make the tree dangerous for climbing.
These are the different types of trees that you should know about. There indeed are many other types of trees, and learning about all of them will require more than just a day. This, anyway, is more than a good start for you.
Types of trees can further be divided based on order, family, etc. But as mentioned earlier, it will take months, if not years, for you to grasp all of them. The trees mentioned above are beneficial for us in many ways as they provide us with wood for timber, fruits, and nuts as edibles and have some medicinal qualities.
Most of these trees are found in the wild, but the government, both the state and the central, and many private entities have come forward and planted these trees to enhance the quality of the area.
These types of trees can be found in different parts of the US and the world. Different types of trees have different characteristics. Coniferous trees have needle-shaped leaves and are very large. Maple trees are famous for their maple syrup. Apple trees are known for their fine wood.
Even though these trees serve our needs directly or not, we need to remember that they help us with our existence by balancing the ecosystem. And hence we should think twice before felling trees recklessly.
Most of us do not cut the tree ourselves, but we are the engine that powers this phenomenon. We need to check our attitude towards things made of wood and make sure that we do not waste them needlessly.