Trees on the Yale Nature Walk

Staghorn sumac outside of Kroon Hall, home to the Yale School of the Environment
Tree ID: 108
Date of tree entry: February 23, 2021
The staghorn sumac is a large, deciduous tree native to the eastern half of North America and produces edible fruit known as "sumac berries." The name of the tree derives from the resemblance of its branches to the antlers of a stag, both in structure and texture. The flowers of a staghorn sumac tree form distinctive, upward-pointing, cone-like clusters, and the lemon-like berries are consumed by birds and humans alike.
Tree ID: 109
Date of tree entry: February 6, 2020
Despite its name, the Eastern Red Cedar is not a cedar at all. It is actually a juniper, as is indicated by its scientific name juniperus virginiana. This tree is the most common eastern conifer and can be widely found in 37 states across the country. First observed in 1564 in Roanoke Island Virginia, this tree can be identified by its soft bark, its fragrant and scaled foliage, and its small berry-like cones that have a distinct blueish-purple color. Due to its high prevalence in the United States, the eastern red cedar has been adapted for a variety of uses. For example, its berries can be used for tea and a wide range of medicinal purposes, while its bark can be used for perfumes, fenceposts, and pencils.
Tree ID: 107
Date of tree entry: February 23, 2021
Witch hazel is a small, vase-shaped shrub. It's a late blooming bush with distinct yellow flowers. It is well known for its medicinal uses.
Tree ID: 119
Date of tree entry: February 5, 2020
Hydrangea quercifolia (04/21/2001)
Tree ID: 113
Date of tree entry: February 24, 2021
Hydrangea quercifoli, commonly known as oakleaf hydrangea, is a flowering plant of the Hydrangraceae family. It is a vase-shaped, deciduous shrub with showy flower heads. It grows to 3-12 feet or 0.91-3.66 meters tall with an open crown. Young stems are covered in a felt-like brown bark and larger stems have a cinnamon-tan bark that shreds and peels in thin flakes. The leaves are yellowish green to dark green on top and silvery-white on the bottom. Plants in shade have larger leaves than those grown in sun. The leaves turn shades of red, purple, and bronze in autumn. H. quercifoli flowers age in color. They age from creamy-white to pink to a dry, papery, rusty-brown in the autumn and winter. H. quercifoli is native to the southeastern United States. More specifically, it is native to woodland habitats from North Carolina west to Tennessee, and south to Florida and Louisiana. It grows in mixed hardwood forests, along streams, and on forested hillsides. H. quercifoli usually grows on calcareous soils, and often where limestone is at the ground surface. H. quercifoli is an undershrub, and often grows in the shade of trees such as large oaks and magnolias.
Tree ID: 116
Date of tree entry: February 5, 2020
Tree ID: 118
Date of tree entry: February 25, 2021
PHENOLOGY: Open shape tree with incised, broad leaves. Leave margins are lobed and leaf base is acute. Leave apices are acuminate. Venation type is oak pinnate. Leaf arrangement is alternate. /// HISTORY: The swamp white oak is native to North America (Rogers). Historically, the swamp white oak has served as a food source for Native Americans and early colonists. The acorns, whether raw or cooked, have been incorporated into early American diets (Nemson). In addition, Native American communities have used the oak galls as a source of dye and as a medicinal treatment for constipation, cholera, and bone damage (Nemson) Today, the swamp white oak is used for lumber, commonly for construction, furniture, and flooring purposes because of its hardness and the knotty character that lowers its commercial value (Nemson). The oak is also commonly used for landscaping purposes, providing ample shade and tolerable of numerous environments (Nemson). /// NATURAL HABITAT: The swamp white oak, formally known as Quercus bicolor, is located in the central and north eastern regions of the United States (Rogers). Please see the map below for a detailed depiction of its geographical location, stretching from southern Quebec and Ontario to North Carolina and Missouri (Rogers). The swamp white oak is found most often in lowlands, along streams, and in marshy areas with ample access to water (Rogers). As is customary of this region of the United States, this species thrives in climates with average annual temperatures ranging from 4-16° C, hydromorphic soils with high water concentration, and hydromesomorphic forests (Rogers). /// SOURCES: Rogers, R. (n.d.). Quercus bicolor WiIId. USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station. Nesom, G. (n.d.). Swamp White Oak Plant Guide. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. General info: SWOT in the city:,
Tree ID: 120
Date of tree entry: February 5, 2020
A tall, skinny tree that is leaning to a sharp angle. It has two large branches holding it up so that it does not fall, however it does not look to be slanted to the point of being uprooted. The branches begin nearer to the top of the tree and are thin and sparce.
Tree ID: 115
Date of tree entry: February 25, 2021
The red maple, true to its name, produces fabulous red flowers, seeds, and foliage. The flowers appear first, in early spring, and the leaves turn bright red in late summer, before most other deciduous trees. Currently, the red maple has no leaves, however, we expect some lovely red foliage to appear as the weather warms. Some distinctive features of the tree: its roots are exposed and form a wide, circular base, some branches appear to be cut off, and it looks as though there are fungi in the holes.
Tree ID: 117
Date of tree entry: February 5, 2020