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  Guide to the Common Trees of Pennsylvania

Trees | Glossary | Visual Guide | Leaf Parts, Types, & Position

Forests have always been important to the inhabitants of the area we now call "Pennsylvania" (Latin for "Penn's Woods"). Pennsylvania's location spanning 40 degrees - 42 degrees north latitude and its varied terrain support 108 species of native trees and many other introduced from Europe and Asia.

Treetops from Seneca Point

Trees provide a renewable source of lumber, paper, nuts and chemicals. But they are also essential as living filters, removing pollution from the air we breath and the water we drink. Trees provide homes and food for wildlife, and beautify our homes with comforting shade in summer and shelter from winter winds. With wise management, forests can produce these benefits for future generations as they have in the past.

The first human beings to hunt and gather plant foods in these forests left stone tools and spearpoints at scattered campsites about 10,000 years ago. Clearing of areas for farming and villages began almost 3,000 years ago. After Europeans settlements were established along the Delaware River 400 years ago, the pace of clearing land for agriculture and the use of forest products for housing, food, fuel and the manufacture of tools, furniture and other goods, increased dramatically and expanded westward across the state. By the early 1900's, all but a few small isolated areas of virgin forest had been cut,leaving landscape of stumps and scrub growth over much of the Commonwealth. Wildfires were a common occurrence in this brushland and would rage uncontrolled for days, over thousands of acres.

Today's forests have grown out of the seemingly barren conditions left after mass cutting and severe fires. Pennsylvania is now nearly 60% forested, having 17 million acres of woodlands. And today, we still derive much of our economy and many comforts from the flora and fauna of Penn's Woods, Medicines, foods, and wood fiber, a cleaner environment, tourism, and recreation are all provided by our forests.

This selection of 57 native, and 5 introduced trees is organized according to leaf shape and arrangement. Each tree is identified by popular name familiar to Pennsylvanians and its complete scientific name. Study the drawings on the Parts Page and check out the glossary to help you understand needle-like, simple and compound leaf shapes and alternate and opposite leaf arrangements.

Select a Tree from a menu below, or download the Visual Guide

Needle-Shaped or Linear


Wide & Flat: Opposite Arrangement

Wide and Flat: Alternate Arrangement

Information courtesy of:
PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources


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