Trees and Shrubs Page 2

PAGE 1Aceraceae • Anacardiaceae • Aquifolieaceae • Arecaceae • Asteraceae • Berberidaceae • Caprifoliaceae • Clusiaceae • Cornaceae • Cupressaceae • Ebenaceae • Euphorbiaceae • Fabaceae • Fagaceae • Hamamelidaceae • Hippocastaneaceae • Juglandaceae
PAGE 2 — Lauraceae • Moraceae • Myricaceae • Oleaceae • Platanaceae • Rosaceae • Rubiaceae • Salicaceae • Styracaceae • Ulmaceae • Verbenaceae

Family Lauraceae

Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora; bird-introduced exotic

An exotic species which was once planted as an ornamental throughout southern Louisiana and the entire Gulf Rim. Those few specimens that remain here at the park were doubtlessly distributed via native songbirds such as American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, or Brown Thrashers - all of whom love the dark, shiny fruits. Look for the glossy, evergreen leaves of the camphor tree down where the escarpment meets the floodplain forest.

Sassafras - Sassafras albidum

Used for gumbo file' (crushed leaves) as well as a root tea. Moreover, birds especially appreciate the fruits which the female trees of this species produce - so much so, that is difficult to find sassafras fruits after August. Here at Acadiana Park, sassafras is much restricted to the well-drained woodland margins that border the prairie terrace.

Family Moraceae

​Red mulberry - Morus rubra

Very uncommon here - a situation which we find quite strange, since this species is rather widely distributed throughout southern Louisiana, particularly within bottomland hardwood habitats. The few specimens that we've located at Acadiana Park do not seem to produce female flowers/fruits. Red mulberry is an exceedingly important food source for nesting Summer Tanagers and American Robins, as well as a large segment of neotropical migrants such as the thrushes, vireos, orioles, tanagers, and others.

Family Myricaceae

Southern wax-myrtle - Myrica cerifera

Commonly present along the woodland margins of the prairie terrace. Its aromatic, evergreen foliage harbors local kinglets, gnatcatchers, and warblers during the winter months. Its small, waxy fruits are also utilized by Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Family Oleaceae

Green ash - Fraxinus pensylvanica

A fairly common floodplain forest climax species. Its pinnately compound leaves often result in tree-watchers confusing it for a sweet pecan tree. Unlike the sweet pecan, though, green ash possesses densely furrowed bark (vs. loose, scaly plates on the pecan). The "keys" (paddle-shaped fruits) of female green ash trees are eaten by Cardinals, House Finches, and others.

Japanese glossy privet - Ligustrum lucidum/japonicum); bird-introduced exotic

Are bird-introduced Oriental species which are locally common within the escarpment forest. As with the camphor tree, these thick-leaved Ligustrum species were once planted as ornamentals throughout the Gulf Coastal region.

​Chinese privet - Ligustrum sinense; bird-introduced exotic

Like Chinese Tallow (Sapium sebiferum), Chinese Privet is extremely abundant and widespread in distribution, often displacing native shrubs and herbaceous plants in its wake. Its saving grace, though, is twofold: it produces juicy, apparently nutritious fruits for birds and mammals, and it provides evergreen cover for animals during winter months.

 Family Platanaceae

American sycamore - Platanus occidentalis

A huge, climax-type denizen of the floodplain forest. As with water oak (Quercus nigra), American sycamore has a propensity to hollow out at fairly young ages; thus providing valuable shelter for birds and mammals. Its small seeds are contained in spherical, modified cones - similar to those of the sweet gum (Liquidambar styriciflua).

Family Rosaceae

Green hawthorn - Crataegus viridis

Quite common along woodland edges, fence lines, and hedgerows within the bottomland hardwood areas throughout southern Louisiana. It can be identified by its small size (ca. 12-20'), thorny branches, and pale, exfoliating bark. As with all hawthorn species, green haw provides valuable winter food for American Robins and other thrushes.

Carolina laurel-cherry - Prunus caroliniana

It is a dense shrub or small evergreen tree ranging from 15-36 ft. tall. The leaves are dark green, shiny, firm, smooth, and narrowly elliptic. The leaves are poisonous when eaten. The flowers are white to cream and bloom from February to April. The fruit is fleshy and persistent through winter and the birds eat the dry fruit.

Mexican plum - Prunus mexicana

It is a tree ranging from 15-35 ft. tall with fragrant white to pale pink flowers. The trunk turns blue-gray with dark horizontal striations as they mature. The leaves are green, simple ovate. The purple plums ripen from July to September. The fruit can be consumed fresh and made into preserves. Birds and mammals also eat the fruit.

Black cherry - Prunus serotina

It is a deciduous woody tree that ranges from 25-110 feet tall. The leaves are shiny with an oblong blade and the bark is dark colored. The flowers are white and the fruit is dark red. The fruit is used for making jam and cherry pies. The wood is used for furniture and other goods. Although the fruit is edible, the rest of the plant contains amygdalin and can be toxic if consumed.

Chickasaw rose - Rosa bracteata; bird-introduced exotic

It is a perennial evergreen that was introduced from Asia. It is a shrub growing up to 10 feet in height or length. The 1-3 inch leaves are alternate and pinnately compound with toothed margins. The flowers are white with 5-petals and have yellow anthers in the center. The fruit is red once ripened. It spreads by animal-dispersed seeds. It grows in disturbed areas and prefers clay enriched soil. It can spread in the understories of forests.

​Blackberry - Rubus sp.; species undetermined

It is a perennial native shrub. The leaves are alternate palmately compound. The second year stems produce white flowers and red to black fruit. It needs full or partial sun. The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract a variety of insects including wasps, bees, flies, butterflies, and skippers. Blackberry thickets provide habitat for many songbirds and mammals.

Dewberry - Rubus sp.; species undetermined

It is a semi-evergreen vine that has palmately compound leaves. The flowers are white and bloom between March and April. The edible fruit looks like a blackberry and produces in spring to early summer. The flowers and fruit attract insects, birds, and mammals.

 Family Rubiaceae

Button bush - Cephalanthus occidentalis

It is a native deciduous shrub that ranges from 5 to 12 feet in height. The leaves are ovate to elliptical and glossy bright green emerging in spring. The flowers are white and fragrant and it blooms in June. It attracts butterflies and bees. It grows in moist soils in full sun to part shade. Preferred habitat includes wet open areas, low woods, thickets, swamps, ponds, and river bottomland.

 Family Salicaceae

Cottonwood — Populus deltoides

It is a large deciduous tree that grows 50–80 feet tall. It is native and grows along rivers, lowland areas, and swamps. Flowers bloom in early spring before the leaves sprout. Male flowers are red and female flowers contain densely-tufted seeds with white hairs. Bark is ridged and dark gray. The leaves are dark green, triangular, acuminate, and coarsely toothed.

Black willow - Salix nigra

It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree growing 30 to 90 feet in height. The leaves are simple, alternate, and lance shaped. The flowers are small, yellow, and without petals. The bark is dark gray-brown. Preferred habitats are areas with moist soil usually along banks of streams and in swamps. Honey bees are attracted to the nectar and pollen. It was used by Native American for treatment of fever, headache, and coughs. The bark of the tree contains salicylic acid.


 Family Styracaceae

Two-winged silverbell — Halesia diptera; one individual, introduced; mode undetermined

It is a small, deciduous tree or shrub reaching up to 20–30 feet in height. It has white bell-shaped flowers and blooms from April to May. The fruit ripens in the fall. The dark green leaves are oval to obovate, and are irregularly toothed. It is native to the Gulf Coast region and grows in wet areas including floodplains, stream banks, wet woods, and swampy areas.

 Family Ulmaceae

Hackberry (Sugarberry) - Celtis laevigata
It is a medium sized deciduous tree about 60–80 ft tall. It occurs in moist soils on floodplains. The leaves are alternate with an asymmetrical base and taper to a long slender tip. The flowers are small yellow to orange-red clusters. The bark is light silvery gray and mostly smooth with "warts.” The fruit is sweet and eaten by birds which in turn disperse the seeds.

Water elm - Planera aquatica
It is a small, perennial, deciduous tree 30–50 feet tall, native to southeastern US. It is related to the elms but has a prickly nut instead of a winged seed. It grows in wet soils. The leaves are alternate, simple, and ovate with a serrated margin. The flowers are very small with fuzzy stigmas and appear in early spring. The bark is scaly and grayish brown.

Winged elm - Ulmus alata

It is a small to medium tree found in southeastern US. The leaves are alternate, simple, and narrowly ovate. The flowers are small, reddish, and bloom in March to April. The fruit appears from April to May. The bark is red-brown to gray with flat-topped ridges.

American Elm - Ulmus americana

It is a deciduous tree growing up to 100ft tall. The leaves are alternate, simple, and ovate to oblong. The flowers are small, purple-brown, and occur in drooping clusters and bloom in early spring. The fruit are wafer-like samaras and ripen in spring. The bark is dark gray with flat-topped ridges and diamond fissures.

 Family Verbenaceae

American Beautyberry — Callicarpa americana; aka "French Mulberry"

It is a native shrub and grows 3–9 ft. tall. The branches are long and the leaves are yellow-green in the fall. It produces clusters of glossy, purple fruit in the fall and winter. The bark is light or reddish brown, smooth, with raised corky lenticels. The leaves occur in pairs or in threes, ovate to elliptic, and pointed or blunt at the tip. Flowers are in dense clusters and are small and pink. The fruit is pink or purple, berrylike, and remain after the leaves have fallen. The seeds and berries are eaten by birds and deer.


To see more photos, view our Facebook page.