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Specific Species of Trees


Trees are the most prominent plants around French Hill Pond. For the purpose of this website, a tree is defined as a woody plant with an erect trunk at least 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) in diameter at 4.5 feet (1.3 meters) above the ground. It must also grow to a height of  at least 13 feet (4 meters) and support foliage. (Some authorities use definitions that may differ from this definition slightly.) Any woody plant that does not meet these criteria is a shrub. Shrubs are described under Plants. The shrubs Lowbush Blueberry, Rugosa Rose, Sheep Laurel, Speckled Alder and Sweet Fern are described under Field Plants. The shrubs Common Winterberry and Northern Bush Honeysuckle are described under Woodland Plants.

Trees may be deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous trees shed all their leaves seasonally. Evergreen trees keep most of their leaves all year. However, all evergreens shed some of their leaves during the year. Conifer trees have fruits whose seeds are contained in a dry, scaly, cone-shaped container. They form a taxonomic division called Coniferophyta from the Latin "conifer" that has the same meaning in Latin as in English. (Some trees that are not classified as conifers produce cones as fruits but also have obvious flowers, conifers do not have conventional flowers.) Most conifers are evergreens. However, some conifers are deciduous. For example, a common tree around French Hill Pond is the Tamarack, a type of larch (genus: Larix), that is deciduous. Flowering trees are angiosperms, in the division called Magnoliophyta and are considered hardwood trees. In more tropical climates, some angiosperms are evergreens. Conifer trees do not flower in the usual manner but form fruits directly and are classified as gymnosperms from the Latin for "naked seed" and are considered softwood trees. Conifers do produce primitive flowers, called imperfect flowers, that produce cones at the tip of a twig or scattered among the branches but these flowers are not as obvious or important for identification as those on flowering trees. Trees may also be classified as monoecious or dioecious. Monoecious trees have both male and females flowers on an individual tree. Dioecious trees have either male or female flowers on any particular tree but not both. These classifications may be confusing but help to explain the behavior or appearance of specific species in a mixed environment.

Trees are identified by examining the texture and color of the bark, the shape and color of the leaves, flowers or cones, fruit, height and shape of the crown. For more information on leaves. flowers and roots, see the French Hill Pond Flora page.

Pine trees are often distinguished by the number of needles in a bundle, called a fascicle. The Eastern White Pine always has five needles in a fascicle as shown in the left bundle in the photograph below. The middle fascicle contains two needles, characteristic of the Jack Pine, Red Pine and Scotch Pine. A fascicle of three needles, shown to the right, is found on Pitch Pines. All these pines can be found on Mount Desert Island. However, the Scotch Pine is uncommon in the wild.

Pine Needle Bundles

The root systems of each tree is briefly described on the pages for specific species. This information is important if driveways, roadways, conduits, buried wires or ditches are to be constructed near the trunks of trees. The root systems of trees generally extend underground out to the longest branches of the trees. The roots have a minimum depth under most soil conditions. One can expect to encounter roots from a tree if one digs under the branches of the tree and below the minimum root depth. Trees with shallow root systems can present problems if they are under sidewalks, driveways etc. Septic systems can be adversely affected by trees whose branches extend over the evaporation field.

The forest around French Hill Pond is a mix of evergreens and deciduous trees since the great fire of 1947. However, the virgin forests on Mount Desert Island should be predominately evergreen. If the forest around French Hill Pond does not burn again and people do not intervene, most of the deciduous trees will be replaced by evergreens.

The age of a tree can be estimated by measuring the diameter of the trunk or counting the growth rings in the trunk when the tree is cut. The following photograph shows the growth rings on the cross-section of a trunk. The spacing of the growth rings indicate the conditions under which the tree grew in any given year. Wide spaces indicate favorable growth conditions.

Growth Rings

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Specific Species of Trees

Click on the picture or name of one of the trees below to see a detailed description on that tree. This section of the website uses bold, green lettering to identify hyperlinks. These trees are arranged in columns by family.  The identification of some conifers can be tricky. The differences between species of spruces and between Balsam Fir and Hemlock are subtle at some times during the year. Other conifers and flowering trees are easier to identify. Some species of trees will also hybridize. ONLY THE LINKS IN GREEN ARE ACTIVE AT THIS TIME. THE OTHER LINKS ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

Beech (Fagaceae) Birch (Betulaceae) Cypress (Cupressacea) Maple (Aceraceae) Pine (Pinaceae)


Red Oak
Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Paper Birch
Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
Northern White-cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Northern White-cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Black Spruce
Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

        Balsam Fir
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) 

      Eastern White Pine
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Rose (Rosaceae)

Willow (Salicaceae)
    Jack Pine
Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana)
Pin Cherry
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
Bigtooth Aspen or Poplar
Bigtooth Aspen (Populus grandindentata)
    Pitch Pine
Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
  Quaking Aspen
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
    Red Pine
Red Pine (Pinus resinosa)
        Red Spruce
Red Spruce (Picea rubens)
Tamarack (Larix laricina) 
        White Spruce
White Spruce (Picea glauca)


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