Juglas nigras L. – Black Walnut
This walnut tree has alternate leaf arrangements and once compound. It has 11-14 leaflets with a feather shape. It has a pinnate leaf complexity. This tree was located right outside the College of Public Health on our OSU campus. Its habitat is usually scattered as individual or small groupings of the tree throughout central and eastern parts of the US. It thrives on coves and well-drained bottoms in the Midwest or in the Appalachians.  Black Walnut trees are special in that they produce very nutritious edible nuts that have high antioxidant and fatty acid levels, which help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and even diabetes. (source: https://www.almanac.com/black-walnut-trees) Discovering this genus of walnuts is helping me cure my tree blindness by educating me on the different types of trees that produce edible nuts!


Walnuts produced by this tree have an extremely hard shell which makes it difficult for even squirrels to break into!



Acer saccharinum – Silver Maple
This maple tree has opposite leaf arrangements, with a simple leaf complexity. The leaves are toothed, lobed, and green on top and white on the bottom. This tree was located just outside our library on campus. Its deep notches differentiate it from its relative, the sugar maple. This species of maple is native to the eastern and central US and is one of the most abundant trees growing in the country. This tree was especially hard to distinguish from its “twin,” the sugar maple. Its distinctive deep notches help to differentiate the two. Its natural habitat can be found on stream banks, flood plains, and edges of lakes, where the soil is moist and well-drained.  (source: https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/acer/saccharinum.htm#:~:text=It%20is%20found%20on%20stream,%2Ddrained%2C%20moist%20alluvial%20soils.) The silver maple is often used for its wood, which can be used to construct sturdy furniture, such as cabinets. Differentiating this from the sugar maple was difficult, so I’m glad I’ve acquired the skill to do so now!

Silver Maple

It’s hard to make out, but the color is lighter on the bottom-side of the leaf!


Populus deltoides Marsh. – Eastern Cottonwood
The Eastern Cottonwood has an alternate leaf arrangement and simple leaf complexity. Its leaves are broad, unlobed, and toothed without thorns. These leaves are special because they are pan-veined and rather heart-shaped. This tree was located just outside Jennings Hall on our campus! Cottonwoods require full sun and high moisture content in the soil. Their natural habitat is along lakes and rivers, and even in marshy areas. The trees prefer soil with silt but can tolerate almost any soil condition. (source: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/cottonwood/cottonwood-tree-in-landscapes.htm) This tree is unique in its ability to rapidly grow, which makes them an asset in wildlife environments. Their hollow trunks provide habitats for other animals, and the twigs and bark can be used as food sources.



Asimina Adans – Pawpaw tree
The Pawpaw tree has a pinnate leaf complexity with an alternate leaf arrangement. This tree was located just outside the 12th Avenue parking garage on our campus. The leaves are long and broad with a wedge shape, and buds without scales. The tree’s natural habitat is native to most of the eastern US, which is humid. This is perfect because they thrive in fertile, moist, well-drained soil under full sun. (source: https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/2018/01/pawpaw-a-tropical-fruit/#:~:text=The%20pawpaw%20is%20native%20to,is%20protected%20from%20high%20winds.) The Pawpaw tree is unique in that it produces edible fruits which have a flavor profile of a combination of bananas and mangoes. The pawpaw fruit produced by this tree is revered in the humid regions of the US. Ohio even has a local pawpaw fair that is rolling around in September 2022! As mentioned in the tree blindness articles, these trees are a great food source to gorge on in the late summer.

They are in bright yellow on the inside and smell incredible!



Liquidambar – Sweet Gum tree
The Sweet Gum tree has large, lobed green leaves with an alternate leaf arrangement and simple leaf complexity. The leaves are star-shaped with around 5-7 deep lobes that are pointed at the end. This tree was located just outside Jennings Hall on our campus. This tree in special because it produces hundreds of these green spiky balls, which help make it distinctive. This tree’s natural habitat is native to the Southeastern United States, where it grows in acidic, moist, well-drained soil. (source: https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=928#:~:text=The%20American%20sweetgum%20grows%20in,It%20has%20moderate%20drought%20tolerance.) This tree is unique in that it can reach heights of up to 100 feet and grow to be 400 years old. Its wood is useful in making plywood and other furniture parts and was previously used as chewing gum and for medicinal purposes. This tree has spiny fruits that are easily identifiable, which may help cure your tree blindness!

Look at how spiky those fruits are!



Quercus coccinea – Scarlet Oak
The White Oak tree has a simple leaf complexity and alternate leaf arrangement. The leaves are deeply lobed and have bristled tips. These trees produce cup-shaped acorns, and the leaves are slightly white on the underside. This tree is unique in its brilliant color change during the autumn seasons, where the leaves turn a vibrant scarlet color. Its natural habitat can be found in the Eastern US, where it thrives under full sun and moist, acid soil.  (source: https://caseytrees.org/2011/11/tree-month-scarlet-oak/#:~:text=The%20scarlet%20oak’s%20acorn%20is,branches%20of%20the%20pin%20oak.) You can spot this tree from a mile away during the autumn seasons when its leaves change color, which can help you in identifying it from other oak tree species. I can’t wait to see this tree change colors in the fall!

Distinctive cup-shaped acorns!



Acer saccharum – Sugar Maple
The Sugar Maple tree has opposite leaf arrangement and simple leaf complexity. Its leaves are lobed with around 3-5 lobes and have relatively shallow lobes, in comparison to their look-alike, the Silver Maple. Its natural habitat is on sands and silt loams and thrives in moist, deep, well-drained, acidic soil. This tree was located just outside Jennings Hall on our campus! (source: https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/treedetail.cfm?itemID=870) The greatest concentration of sugar maples can be found in New York and in Michigans, where they thrive in abundance. These sugar maples are iconic because they are the national emblem of Canada. Their leaves are special because they turn a vibrant orange in the fall, and are densely packed on the tree branches. Because of the unique shape and color of this tree, it can easily be spotted when out on the field–helping you cure some more of that tree blindness.

Oh, Canada~



Tilia euchlora – Caucasian Lime
The Caucasian Lime tree has simple leaf complexity and alternate leaf arrangement. These leaves are distinctive due to their sharply serrated edges and shiny green tops with white undersides. This tree was located just outside the College of Public Health here at OSU. The Caucasian Lime tree is native to Ukraine and Illinois, where there is full sun and moist, fertile, well-drained loams. (source: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/tilia-x-euchlora/) Although these trees are called Caucasian Lime trees, they are not related to citrus lime. These trees occur in the eastern US, but most of the population lives in the UK and in Asia. Unique in its name and heart-shaped, glossy leaves, this tree is unmistakable with its fragrant-smelling leaves. If you have tree blindness, go ahead and give this tree a sniff, and you should be able to discern it from the others.

Distinctively pale undersides!