Learn about the trees in our inventory this year, growing tips for your selection, and what to expect from them.

Medicinal/Food plants

Wild Black Cherry Tree

This common native fruit is great raw, or cooked with herbs or spices, thickener and sweetener, to use in sauces, pies, cakes, puddings, and ice cream. Flowers bloom on spikes, but don’t smell very good. Fruit is better if grown in full sunlight. The black cherry tree is a notably straight-growing tree that can sometimes reach up to 100 feet tall. For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Wild Black Cherry Tree.


A black cherry jelly making tutorial is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma-Ax_cGdt8

A recipe for wild black cherry sauce is found at: http://www.suburbanforagers.com/2012/08/20/recipe-wild-black-cherry-sauce/
Black Cherry Conserve
2 juice oranges
1 quart wild cherries
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp lemon juice
3-1/2 cups sugar
Cut the oranges into thin slices, remove the seeds, place in a deep saucepan and cover with water. Cook till skins are tender. Steam and clean cherries. Strain cherries through a food mill to remove pits. Add pulp to cooked orange slices and mix, then add spices, lemon juice and sugar. Mix thoroughly and simmer over a low heat till thick. Mixtures will appear somewhat clear when ready. Remove from heat and spoon mixture into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal. The black cherry has also been used for medicinal purposes; see:http://www.aihd.ku.edu/foods/agave.html

 Chickasaw Plum

The Chickasaw Plum is a twiggy, multi-trunked tree that grows 15-30′ tall. Like the Flatwoods Plum, it produces fragrant white flowers in early spring before leaves emerge, and yellow edible fruit ripening to red in the fall. A good tree for small areas.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Chickasaw Plum.chickasaw_plum_tree

Flatwoods Plum

This fruit tree produces showy white flowers in spring which produce a lovely purple plum.  Being Florida tolerant, it enjoys slightly acidic sandy soil; but it is not salt tolerant.  Full sun to partial shade.

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Common Persimmon

The persimmon is a slow-growing deciduous tree, rarely exceeding 50′ in height. Though flowers are greenish and inconspicuous, they produce showy orange fruits, up to 2″ in diameter, that are deliciously sweet when fully ripe. It is one of the most widely-adapted of trees.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Common Persimmon.


Eastern Mayhaw

Also called the May hawthorn, Mayhaw, and Apple Hawthorn.  Commonly found in river swamps, pond areas, and along stream banks, the Eastern Mayhaw is often used for the stabilization of banks.  It is also, however, wind and drought tolerant making it great for shelterbelts.  It has narrow dark-green leaves with white blooms that bloom in early to late spring.  The small, red fruit is used for jellies, jams, baking and flavoring.  The tree will begin to bear fruit around 5-8 years.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide May Hawthorn or HERE.

eastern mayhaw

Elderberry Bush

An extremely versatile plant, the Elderberry bush was and is still a very important resource for Native Americans.  The small white flowers are used in teas, medicines and can be eaten raw or fried.  The small purple or blue berries can be gathered to make jams, syrups, wines, sweet sauces, and pies, or dried and preserved.  The stems can be used in basketry and the berries as a dye.  This large shrub grows 6-13 feet tall.  It will start to flower and fruit after 2-3 years, growing to maturity in about 5.  They grow best in moist, well-drained sunny sites.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Elderberry.  Click here for a Fried Elderberry Flower recipe.elderberry bush

Sugarberry or Hackberry

This tree has very interesting bark and produces dark purple berries that the birds will love.  Some Indians used to grind up the entire berry, stone, kernel and all, and make a paste out of it, either to bake in a fire or to add with fat and parched corn to make a gruel. Others removed the pulp, eating that separately. Then they lightly dried the kernel and cracked it. The inner kernel was considered a delicacy and the outer shell was ground up and used as a spice, usually on meat. The stone can be eaten raw and they also store well in oil.    The sugarberry prefers moisture, and the tree gets very tall, (Up to 100′) It is a fast growing tree, but in the first 15 years, they should be pruned to have wide crotches.  If aphids come around, try spraying on some neem oil.


Beauty Berry

American beautyberry is a deciduous shrub that grows 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) tall .  In springtime, tiny lilac flowers appear, are held in clusters that arise from the leaf axils, and in autumn give rise to berrylike 1/4 in (0.6 cm) drupes in striking, brilliant shades of magenta and violet. Plant several for a mass of beautiful purple fruits in your landscape.   Use it in semi-shade under tall pines or in full sun where foliage will take on an attractive yellow-green color that contrasts nicely with the stunning, violet fruits. If you want to make jelly, harvest before the birds do.  Late in winter they ripen into beautyberry raisins.  Try this link to find out how to make beauty berry jelly: https://www.tableandhearth.com/2017/02/beautyberry-jelly-water-canning-basics.html

Harvesting for jelly
American Beautyberry
Sassafras Tree

Sassafras is an attractive, deciduous tree that can reach more than 80 ft (24.4 m) in height tall. This tree begins flowering while still quite small and before leaves appear in spring.  In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. All parts of sassafras are aromatic, smelling like root beer.  Some leaves are elliptic, some are oval, and some are lobed. The sassafras is native from southern Maine to central Florida.  It is a fast grower in a sunny spot.  The flowers, which are among the earliest in spring, are very popular with song birds, honey bees, and other insects.  The Cherokee, Choctaw and Chippewa made tea from the bark and roots and used the dried leaves as a spice to flavor foods. Early European settlers quickly adopted sassafras tea.  Filè powder, made from the ground, dried leaves of sassafras, is still used as a condiment and soup thickener in gumbo and other Cajun dishes. You can make your own filè by drying very young leaves, then grinding them in a coffee or spice mill.   The FDA outlawed the sale of flavorings containing sassafras oil (safrole) after a 1960 study of it linked it with cancer; however, this review was found in the comments an article about Sassafras tea: Review by kizersozay “Anyone afraid to try it due to the review stating it can cause cancer should google “artificial safrole caused cancer in rats.” What the FDA doesn’t make clear is that astronomical quantities of ARTIFICIAL safrole caused cancer. The artificial, or synthetic, version of a lot of substances, including vitamins, are detrimental to ones health. These are almost always what the supposed studies scaring you away from a lot of good NATURAL remedies are based upon.”  Warning:  Use of sassafras oil has caused abortion in pregnant women.

Sassafras flower
Fall colors
Mature Sassafras

Pawpaw Tree

An important source of food for early European settlers, the Pawpaw fruit has a high nutritional value with a low water count, making it comparable to a banana.  It is used in breads, pies, muffins and ice cream.  Native Americans mashed fruit to make small cakes that were dried and stored. The dried cakes were soaked in water and cooked to make a sauce or relish that was served with corn bread.  This plant spreads quickly by suckers to form a “pawpaw patch.” Remove suckers as they form if a tree form is desired. Sucker formation slows as the tree develops. Other than control of suckers, the plants do not require pruning. The plants are disease and pest resistant and they are not browsed by deer.  Dark purple flowers bloom in late spring.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Pawpaw and HERE.


Dahoon Holly

Dahoon holly is a small tree that has a narrow growth habit of upward pointing branches that grows to a height of up to 30 ft (9.1 m). It is often found in swamps and other wet locations where it achieves its greatest size, but will survive in dry areas if watered.   In warm winter areas the dahoon is evergreen.  Small white flowers are inconspicuous and appear in spring.  In the winter, female trees are covered with bright red or yellow berries just in time for Christmas decorating. (plant 3 or 4 for stronger probability of a female which produces the berries.)  If the leaves are boiled in water, no longer than 10 minutes, they are a source of caffeine and antioxidants.  Longer than 10 minutes could cause nausea.  Berries are only good for the birds…literally!  Dahoon is adaptable to most conditions from full sun to deep shade. Tolerates brackish water.  Dahoon holly is listed as commercially exploited species by the Florida Department of Agriculture, so do your part to “Save the Dahoons!!”  

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Pecan Tree

The Pecan tree is the largest of the hickories — growing 70 to 100 feet high; plant where they can have lots of space. It is best to grow a pair of them for adequate pollination. Transplant when young, since the tree has a deep taproot that is easily damaged. Plant in deep, organic, well-drained soils in full sun. It will be important to water young trees during periods of dry weather, especially during summer the first and even second years after planting. Mulches should be used around newly planted trees to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. Many American Indians relied on pecans as an important food staple; they gathered wild pecans and combined them with fruits and vegetables (including beans, corn, and squashes), created an energy drink with pecan milk, used ground pecan meal to thicken meat stews, and included roasted pecans as part of their travel supplies to sustain them along the journey when food was scarce.  For more information see USDA Plant Guide Pecan.  Pecan

American beech

This large tree has a wide canopy of leaves once it reaches maturity and can live for centuries!  It is a slow grower, and is easy to identify by its smooth, silvery-gray bark which stays smooth and thin even through maturity.  It has beautiful fall colors and a small nuts enjoyed by humans and critters alike.  If you’re not keen on pecans but you love that buttery, gooey filling, try substituting beechnuts for the pecans.

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Flowering occurs in the late spring at about the same time as its better known relative the silverbell tree. Although the flowers are on the small side, even a small bush produces large numbers hanging below the branches.


A native bush with small sweet chinquapin nuts. Nuts similar to chestnut but not as large. A pretty ornamental in sun or shade, leaves turning bright yellow in fall. Mature height 6′-12′. Best to have two to set fruit. Space 10′ apart.

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Pignut Hickory

The pear-shaped nut ripens in September and October and is an important part of the diet of many wild animals. The wood is used for a variety of products, including fuel for home heating.   Its flowers appear in Spring. The fruit is obovoid to pear-shaped, 1 to 2 inches long, with a thin husk that only partially splits upon maturation.  The pignut hickory has a rapid growth rate and beautiful yellow fall leaves.

hickory pignut

Black walnut

Black walnut has large, aromatic, compound leaves, 1-2 ft (30-60 cm) long. It bears rather large oval corrugated nuts that are encased in a thick, fleshy yellow-green hull which ripen in the fall.  Black walnut is intolerant of shade. Plant in full sun away from other plants and in moist yet drained soil.  is often recognized as one of the most valuable of North American hardwoods. It is commonly used for gun stocks, cabinetry, and the creation of both solid and veneered furniture.

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This shrub is especially attractive to wildlife including birds, deer, rabbits, raccoon, and opossums.  The leaves and fruit are edible although mainly used for teas and spices.  The berries are also fragrant and can be preserved and used in sachets.  The bush grows 3-9 feet high and is shade tolerant.  If they are grown in at least some sun, they will produce yellow leaves during the fall.  The berries are seen from July through September and are quickly eaten by wildlife.  For more information see USDA Plant Guide Spicebush and HERE.


Flowering trees


The button bush is a low growing bush that likes the moist soil of ditches, marshes, pond and lake sides, riverbanks and thickets. Flowers look like ping-pong sized, white satellites, and bloom from June to August. The button bush is home to some water fowl and song birds. They attract bees and butterflies as well. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Buttonbush.


Fowering Dogwood

The Flowering Dogwood is a beautiful small tree with attractive white flowers in the spring.  It has red fruit which birds love, and in the fall, the leaves turn a dark red. It grows 20+’ in height, and requires partial shade.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Dogwood.


Ogeechee tupelo

A tree that grows to 60 ft. high and known for its 1/2-3/4 in. diameter, red fruits that are pleasantly flavored and used as a substitute for limes. One to several trunks are crooked and the 4-6 in. long, dark-green leaves are velvety beneath.  This is the the tree bees love for making tupelo honey.  For more information click HERE.



The Redbud is a small tree with heart shaped leaves. It blossoms with lavender-pink flowers in the spring before the leaves appear. The leaves have a yellow fall color. It grows to about 30′ in height. This tree requires partial shade.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Redbud.


Southern Magnolia

The Southern Magnolia is a distinctive evergreen tree with white, lemony, fragrant flowers. The leaves are highly prized for making Christmas wreathes and garland.  It needs a lot of room to grow. It will reach 60 ft. or more in height. This tree adapts to most soils. It makes a nice specimen tree. It favors full sun, but will grow in partial shade.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Magnolia.  southern_magnolia_tree

Sweetbay Magnolia

The leaves are evergreen in the South. Young leaves are clothed in a dense silky-wooly pubescence on the underside which becomes matted and dirty-whitish with age. The leaves are glossy, dark green above, and when bruised, smell a little like the leaves of bay laurel.  The cup shaped flowers are creamy white and lemony fragrant.  The fruiting “cone” is an aggregate of pinkish fruits which split open at maturity to release red-coated black seeds.  Sweetbay needs an acidic soil.  Sweetbay grows well in full sun to partial shade. Florida DEP classifies sweetbay as an obligate wetland species, defined as a species which occurs “almost always under natural conditions in wetlands.”  Nevertheless, once established, sweetbay survives nicely in upland soils.


Strawberry Bush

Distinctive, gracefully branched shrub or small tree with glossy, deep green foliage. Masses of white flowers are followed by showy strawberry-like fruit. Drought tolerant when established. And easy, drought tolerant specimen for borders or massed as an informal hedge. Evergreen.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Strawberry bush.


Tulip Poplar

Also called yellow poplar, the tulip poplar is taller than all other eastern broadleaf trees. It can reach a height of 197 ft. It’s large leaves turn golden-yellow in the fall. In spring, it blooms large, yellowish- green tulip-like flowers. Other characteristics include cone-like clusters of terminally winged fruits, aromatic purplish brown twigs with winter buds resembling a duck’s bill, and a straight trunk with an oblong crown. A tulip tree reaches its full stature in approximately 200 years. The tulip tree is relatively free of pests and diseases. It is a useful, large shade tree.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Tulip Poplar.


American Snowbell

A profusion of fragrant white bell-shaped flowers decorate this small tree in May. So many pollinators are drawn to the flowers that the plant hums with life.  Flowering occurs in the late spring at about the same time as its better known relative the silverbell tree. Although the flowers are on the small side, even a small bush produces large numbers hanging below the branches.  My snowbells produced flowers in their second year.  Tolerates wet lands or higher land.

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Walters Viburnum

This viburnum is an evergreen bush producing snowy white flowers in spring.  Low maintenance,  and medium water required.  Enjoys sun to filtered shade.

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Shade/Other trees and shrubs

Bald Cypress

A large, long-lived tree, the Bald Cypress has a pyramidal crown, and typically has a swollen, fluted lower trunk.  The light green feathery foliage turns orange-brown in the fall. These trees are naturally found in moist to swampy conditions, generally in/ near moving water, but this tree does very well on drier sites.  It can grow up to 125′.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Cypress.


Longleaf Pine

Many early non-Indian settlers in the Southeastern United States considered longleaf pine the most valuable of all the kinds of pines.  Its needles, bark and turpentine have been used for many different medicinal purposes.  It grows to around 120 feet tall with a fully mature truck at 30 inches in diameter.  It is incredible resistant to fire and hurricanes and grows well in most environments, but is very susceptible to competing vegetation.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Longleaf pine.

longleaf pine

Red Maple

The Red Maple tree has a narrow and rounded form.  It has a fast growth rate and can reach more than 75′ in height.  It favors a soil with an adequate water supply, and it can grow the sun or with broken shade.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Red Maple.


River Birch

The River Birch is a narrow tree. It has a fast growth rate and can reach 60′ or more in height. Favors a moist soil. It can grow in full sun or partial shade.  Riverbirch forms an interesting papery bark that peels off as it increases in size.  It makes a nice specimen tree.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide River Birch.

Riverbirch bark

Southern Red Cedar

The Red Cedar tree is an evergreen tree. It has a slow to medium growth rate and can reach up to 60′ in height. There are no specific soil requirements. It can grow in full sun or partial shade. It is used as a specimen tree or for screening. Birds love its fruits.  Grow your own Christmas trees in your yard.  Can also be trained for Bonsai.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Red Cedar.

Red cedar bonsai


Southern Red Cedar


The American Sycamore is one of the largest and most well known trees in eastern North America, often reaching more than 100′. It is noted for mottled brown, green, gray and white exfoliating bark and the distinctive ball-like fruit clusters. Adaptable.  For more information see: USDA Plant Guide Sycamore.


Wax Myrtle

The Wax Myrtle is a dense attractive evergreen tree. It is a fast grower to 15′ – 20′ in height. It is typically found in moist areas, but is adaptable to other soils. Does well in full sun or partial shade. It is a good wildlife plant, and screen.  For more information click HERE.


Winged Elm

The winged elm (Ulmus alata), a deciduous tree, native to the southern woodlands of the United States, grows in both wet areas and dry, making it a very adaptable tree for cultivation. Also known as the corked elm; the tree is often used as a shade tree or street tree. The winged elm gets its name from the very broad, warty growths, thin and wing-like, that grow along its branches.  They provide a fall display by turning a bright yellow at summer’s end. Flowers are brown or burgundy and appear before the leaves in March or April, and produce the fruit, a very short orange samara that disperses by the end of April.

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Rusty Black Haw

A large Southern shrub or small tree.  Height 6′ to 18′.  The small blackish fruits appear in Sept-Oct and are eaten by foxes, quail and songbirds.  This tree is common along the fence rows of the South, as the seeds are deposited there by the birds who eat the fruit.  The fruits can also be eaten by humans, but rarely are.

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Willow oak

Willow oak is a medium to large sized deciduous tree with lance shaped leaves that are quite willowlike.  Willow oaks can get as tall as 130 ft, but are more commonly 40-60 ft tall.  This oak occurs along streams, in bottomlands and in wet woods.

quercusphellosalmsparksmall willowoak


Star-shaped leaves change through a beautiful rainbow of colors in the fall.  Its fruit is a peculiar spiny ball, golfball-sized, that persists through winter on the tree.  The sweetgum is one of the most pH-tolerant of all trees, thriving equally well in acid or alkaline conditions.

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This Shutterstock image was downloaded on 4-20-06 for HSW: TREASURY OF GARDENING

Green ash


Green ash leaves are olive-green to yellowish green on top and pale green underneath. They turn clear yellow in fall.  The fruit is an elongated single-seeded samara with a single wing, reminiscent of one-half of a maple samara.  Green ash is a popular landscaping and shelterwood tree and several cultivars have been named.