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.
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.
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