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Meet A Tree - Blog

Our Blog includes many interesting tree facts, educational information, tree care tips and a "Meet A Tree" Section that features a different tree at least once a week.  We try to post daily to keep things fresh and inspire you to love trees as much as we do!


Thank you for visiting, we hope you will enjoy what you find here on these pages.


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The "American Elm" - Ulmus americana

Posted on July 27, 2017 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The "American Elm" - Ulmus americana" is a medium to large sized deciduous tree that is native to Eastern North America. Found naturally from Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario, Southern Saskatchewan, Montana and Wyoming in the North continuing South through to Florida and Texas. It is an extremely hardy tree and can withstand temperatures as low as -44 degrees F. It's numbers have significantly decreased over the last century due to Dutch Elm disease. The Elm family is made up of about 45 species and are found from Northern and Central Eurasia and Eastern North America South through Panama. Elms are not found in the Rocky Mountains or on the West Coast of North America.

 

 


 

The American Elm is the largest and most widespread of all the Elms in the North America. It grows in a beautiful upright vase shape, and was often used as a focal point or large Ornamental planting along Main Streets and Park areas throughout it's hardiness zones. However, in more recent decades it has been destroyed in many areas by Dutch Elm disease. The leaves are broad and flat, with a simple shape and fine teeth along the edges. They are bright green in color during the growing season and yellow-green to yellow in the Fall. The wood is grained in a fine wavy pattern that is remarkably durable when wet. Elm logs were hollowed out and used during Roman times as water pipes, some have even been unearthed in good condition. The wood wears well and takes well to polish. It has traditionally been used in making coffin boards, stair treads, chairs and paneling. The flowers are perect in form and contain both sexes on one flower. They grow in bunches or on long slender stalks in racemes.

 

 


 

Dutch Elm disease was introduced to the US in 1930 and has been devestating to the American Elm ever since. Dutch Elm disease is recorded in 41 states across the US. The disease is generally characterized by a gradual wilting and yellowing of the foliage, followed by death of the branches and eventually the whole tree. American Elm is also attacked by hundreds of insect species including defoliators, bark beetles, borers, leaf rollers, leaf miners, twig girdlers, and sucking insects. Both birds and mammals feed on fruit and buds, and mammals will chew the bark and twigs of younger trees. Animals and insects are not nearly as damaging to this species as Dutch Elm disease is.

 

 


 

The Buckley Elm of Michigan, a National Tree Champion was killed by Dutch Elm in 2001, it was estimated to be over 100 feet tall with a diameter of 8 feet.

 

The Oklahoma Survivor Tree is a very notable American Elm tree. Standing on the site of the Oklahoma City Bombings it has witnessed and withstood the unimaginable. You can learn more about it by checking out one of my previous blogs: http://destinationtrees.meetatree.com/2015/03/oklahoma-citys-survivor-tree-oklahoma.html

 

The tallest American Elm on record in New England "Herbie", was located in Yarmouth, Maine. It stood in this location until it too was killed by Dutch Elm disease and had to be removed in January of 2010. Herbie was estimated to be 110 feet tall and 217 years old.

 

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The Shumard Oak / Buckley Oak

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Shumard Oak / Buckley Oak - Quercus shumardii, is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 120 feet tall in ideal growing conditions. It grows in an erect form with a single trunk that is sometimes fluted or buttressed near the base. Generally the Shumard Oak is high branching with the trunk remaining branchless until the canopy. The crown is open and spreading with ascending and broad spreading branch habit.

 

 

 


Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

 

It is most easily identified by a combination of deeply cut leaves, hairless terminal buds and a shallow acorn nut that encloses less than 1/3 of the nut. The bark is pale gray in color, smooth when young, becoming finely ridged and deeply furrowed with age. The twigs are gray or light brown in color, slender in form and hairless. Terminal buds are generally egg shaped and range in size from 4-8 mm long. The leaves are alternate, simple in form, elliptic or obvate with a wide angled flattened base. Upper leaf surface is a pale yellow-green color, lustrous, hairless, the lower surface is similar in color to the upper. The leaves turn brownish with small purple spots in Autumn. The leaf blades 7-20 cm long and 6-15 cm broad. The fruit is in the form of an acorn with a cup 7-12 mm deep, enclosing 1/3 or less of the light brown nut.

 

 

 

 


Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

 

The Shumard Oak is among one of the largest Red Oaks in the Southeastern United States. Under ideal conditions they are fast growing, tolerant of harsh and dry conditions and varying soils. It is considered a poplar landscape tree in the South and is used frequently in medians, parking lots, roadsides and larger suburban lawns. In natural settings it does not form pure stands but instead occurs induvidually within the forest canopy, it is often found growing along side American Elm, Winged Elm, Green Ash, White Ash, Cherrybark Oak, Southern Red Oak, Water Oak and White Oak.

 

 

 


Image Citation: Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org

 

 

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The Maple Leaf Oak - Quercus acerfolia

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The Maple Leaf Oak - Quercus acerfolia is a very unique member of the Oak - Quercus Species, Red Oak- Fagaceae family . The leaves are Maple like in shape and are broader then they are long, which is unusual for an Oak tree. The Maple Leaf Oak also has a very tiny growth range, made up of only a few counties in Eastern and Central Arkansas. It prefers dry slopes and ridges between 500-800 m and is deciduous in habit. As a member of the Red Oak- Fagaceae family, it also is relatively small reaching maximum heights of only 50 feet tall (which is large in comparison with many other families but not the Oaks).

 

 

 

The Maple Leaf Oak earned it's name because of the unique leaf shape, they are broadly elliptic to round and shaped like a Maple leaf. The blades f the leaves are 7-14 cm long and 10-15 cm broad. The yellowish green foliage appears in April, changing to a lovely Red in the Fall. The flowers are insignificant in size and are yellow green in color. The fruit is an acorn (like other Oaks) 4-7 mm deep, enclosing less than 1/3 of the egg shaped nut. The grayish bark is smooth in early years, but acquires dark ridging on the trunk with maturity.

 

 

 

Recommended for hardiness zones 5-8 Maple Leaf Oak is considered to be easily grown, drought tolerant and have minimal problems (though like most other Oaks it is susceptible to damage by many insects). Maple Leaf Oak is closely related to the Shumard Oak - Quercus Shumardii and was for a long time thought to be a variant of that species, in that case it is referred to as Quercus Shumardii var. acerfolia. Originally recorded in 1926 by Palmer, it was not until recent years that the tree was given it's own full species status because of the difference in not only the leaves but the acorn morphology. It is ideally planted as a specimen tree or focal point in any garden residential or commercially. Due to it's rarity however, it may be hard to find on the commercial market.

 

 

Image Citations (photos 1, 2 & 3): Missouri Botanical Gardens: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/FullImageDisplay.aspx?documentid=4307

 

 

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Red Maple - Acer rubrum

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The Red Maple - Acer rubrum, is also called Scarlet Maple, Swamp Maple, Water Maple, White Maple or Soft Maple in different regions. It is one of the most abundant trees in the forests of the Eastern United States, and can be found growing from Florida in the South to Canada in the North.  Red Maple is harvested and marketed as soft Maple, it is valued on a limited basis for Maple Syrup production, but is most valued as a strong and durable urban tree.  A medium to large sized deciduous tree with the potential of reaching 60-90 feet tall in ideal conditions, The Red Maple is a fast grower with beautiful fall foliage and the ability to thrive in even poor or degraded soil conditions.  

Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org


Image Citation: Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Red Maple can pose a challenge when it comes to identification as the features and characteristics of the tree change as the tree ages.  When small the bark is thin, smooth, and light gray in color, becoming thicker and a gray-brown with age and developing flaky thick bark from the trunk up to the limbs, smooth patches generally remain high in the branches into maturity and in patches on the trunk during the transitional period.  Slender and young branch tips are often bright red in color and the forked trunks and limbs that grow from the trunk usually have sharp V shaped crotches.  The leaves are oppositeand simple in form, 2.5 - 4 inches in length and width, with wide, pointed, toothed lobes.  Generally the leaves all contain three large lobes, and occasionally two additional smaller lobes.  The leaves are Green on the upper surface with a whitish underside, and become a vabrant scarlet, yellow or orange in the fall.  The sinuses between lobes generally form sharp V shaped notches.  The flowers are unisexual and tiny red or orange in color with 4-5 sepals and petals each, generally male and female flowers occur os separate trees. only occasionally on the same tree.  The furit occurs in paired Samaras (lovingly called "helicopters" by many) 1.5-3 cm long often bright red in color, maturing or sheeding before or with leaf emergence.  


Image Citation: John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org


Image Citation: David Stephens, Bugwood.org


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Wax Myrtle - Morella cerifera or Myrica cerifera

Posted on July 14, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Wax Myrtle / Southern Wax Myrtle - Myrica cerifera or Morella cerifera is a small evergreen shrub or small tree, that reaches heights of only 36 feet tall on average.  The Wax Myrtle most often forms in colonies from underground rhizomes.  Growing in an erect, leaning, or ascending form with multiple trucks and low branching habit that usually begins close to the ground.  The crown is dense and branches grow in upright or ascending. Native to a wide variety of habitats including bogs, fresh water banks, bracish water ponds, inlets, swamps, hammocks, swales and mixed upland woods.  Found mostly in the Southeastern coastal plains from Maryland and Delaware throughout south Florida, west through southern Arkansas and eastern Texas.  


Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The leaves are alterante and simple in form, aromatic when crushed, tapered at the base, blunt or rounded, margins along the entire length of the leaves and toothed at least near the tip.  The upper surface dark green, while the underside is paler in color.  The flowers male and female on separate plants, petals and sepals are absent, inflorence occur erect at the leaf axil.  The fruit is rounded whitish gray in color, in a waxy nutlike drupe, 2-4 mm in diameter, maturing between Summer and Autumn each year.  


Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

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The Purpleosier Willow - Salix purpurea

Posted on July 13, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Purpleosier Willow - Salix purpurea, is a deciduous clone forming shrub or shrubby tree that reaches heights of 4-20 feet tall. Growing in an erect, upright form or arching, usually with numerous branches and multiple trunks. Originally introduced from Europe, it has been cultivated and is now naturalized in various wetlands throughout much of the Eastern United States as far South as Georgia, west to Minnesota and Iowa and sporadic in the West.


 

 

 

 

The leaves of the Purpleosier Willow are alternate or opposite, simply shaped, narrowly oblong and often widest around the base of each leaf. The upper leaf surface is dull or slightly lustrous, dark green in color and hairless. The lower leaf surface is bluish-white in color and hairless. Each leaf blade os 2-10 cm long and 1.5- 3 cm broad. The flowers are unisexual, with male and female occuring in catkins on separate plants. Male catkins are 25-33 mm long and 6-10 mm in diameter, while the female are 13-35 mm long and 3-7 mm in diameter. Flower occur each Spring prior to the appearance of the new leaves. The fruit is an egg shaped capsule that ranges in size from 2-5 mm long.

 

 

 

 

 


Image Citations (Photos 1-3): Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org

 

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Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum

Posted on July 12, 2017 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum, is a medium to large tree that matures at 50-80 feet in height and 2-3 feet in diameter. Usually forking near the ground with two or three main trunks supporting an openly spreading crown. The Silver Maple is most easily identified by it's sharply forked form, thin, flat edge curling bark, widely spaced branches and large often partially exposed (runner) roots. When split the fissures in the bark often expose a pink color below the brown-gray upper bark.Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

 

The leaves are opposite, 6-8 inches long with prominent, pointed, coarsely toothed lobes and narrow, rounded sinuses. The lower leaf surfaces are a silver color while the upper are a crisp green. Silver Maple logs are harvested and sold often combined with Red Maple and other soft Maples. The buds are often eaten by Squirrels when other foods are not available.

 

 

Silver Maple can be found growing almost anywhere in the Eastern Untied States. Preferring moist, deep, well drained soils where it can get sufficient moisture, for this reason it is often times found growing near stream or river banks.

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The Bitternut Hickory - Carya cordiformis

Posted on July 11, 2017 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Bitternut Hickory - Carya cordiformis also called the Bitternut or Swamp Hickory, is a deciduous tree that can reach heights upwards of 100 feet tall and 2-3 feet in diameter. It is able self prune by quickly forming a long limb free bowl, that leads up to a large rounded crown. Bitternut Hickory is named for the nuts which are so bitter that almost nothing will eat them, Squirrels will even ignore them unless nothing else is available. Bitternut Hickory can be found growing throughout the Eastern United States with the exception of the New England states and Northern portions of the Great Lakes area.

Image Citation (Leaves): Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

 

The leaves on the Bitternut Hickory are 6-10 inches long with seven to eleven narrow leaflets ranging in size from 4-6 inches long. The leaflets are bright green on top and paler in color with a light fuzz below. The leaflet margins are fine to coarsely toothed . Throughout all seasons the buds at the branch tips are bright sulfur yellow in color. The nuts are encased in an almost round shaped husk that has four ridges and is speckled with tiny yellow scales.  The bark on young trees is smooth, gradually becoming tight and interlacing as the tree ages.  The thin bark changes from a network of interlaced ridges to long, flat ridges and shallow fissures towards the crown area.


Image Citation (Bud): Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org


Image Citation (Bark): Vern Wilkins, Indiana University, Bugwood.org

The wood from the Bitternut Hickory is used commercially in manufacturing where products require tough and resilient wood.  Butternut Hickory lumber is also a popular wood choice for smoking meats and open fire cooking applications.  Pioneers extracted the oil from the nuts to use as fuel for oil lamps.  The Butternut Hickory has been used in some Urban settings because of it's ability to withstand vigors of construction on wooded lots. 

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Chickasaw Plum - Prunus angustifolia

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Chickasaw Plum - Prunus angustifolia, is a thicket-forming small tree that has an early blooming habit and folding leaves. It is deciduous and reaches heights of only 20 feet tall. It grows in an erect fashion with multiple trunks and a thicket forming habit. It is native to the United States from New Jersey to Pennsylvania in the North to Florida, Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico in the South and West. Commonly found on roadsides, in old fields, sandy clearings, rural homesteads, thickets, in open woods, dunes pastures from 0-600 m.

 

The bark is a dark reddish brown to gray, splitting but not exfoliating. The leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate, narrowly elliptic or oblong, upward folding from the mid rib, with a wedge shaped base. The upper leaf surface is lustrous, bright green, hairless with a dull under surface. The flowers are 7-10 mm in diameter, 5 petals, 10-20 stamens each, with white filaments. The fruit is ovoid or ellipsoid red or yellow drupe, 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter. The fruit is considered to be pleasant tasting and can be used for making wine, jam and jellies.

 

 

The thickets are used by cattle for shading and protection from the summers heat. When thickets form a majority of a cattles grazing area they tend to gain weight faster. Thorned thickets are a popular plantings for songbirds and game bird nesting and roosting. The fruit is eaten by numerous birds and small animals. Lesser prairie-chickens use the cover of the thickets for cooling during the day. Fire can damage the thickets but does not generally kill the plantings.

 

 

 

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The Pomegranate - Punica granatum

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The Pomegranate - Punica granatum, is most often distinguished by the spiny branches, opposite clustered leaves, large showy flowers and very unique fruit. It occurs in a deciduous shrub or small tree form, with a single short trunk and rounded crown that reaches an average height of only 8-25 feet tall. The bark is brownish gray with thin smooth bark that becomes rougher with age. The young twigs are angled at first but become rounded with maturity. The leaves are simple, opposite, elliptic, oblong and clustered with a narrowly wedged shaped base and a blunt tipped point. The upper surface of the leaves are a lustrous deep green with a pale underside. The flowers are bisexual with fused sepals that form a tube, they are fleshy, reddish with 5-9 petals that are red, orange, yellow or white. The flowers appear in late spring to summer.

 

 


The fruit from the Pomegranate is rounded red, red-yellow, or red-brown with a white leathery berry that is 5-12 cm in diameter. The fruit matures in the Fall. Pomegranates are grown for both ornamental and food purposes and have been for centuries, the fruit is even mentioned in both the Bible and Quran. It is said that the calyx on the fruit was even the inspiration for King Solomon's crown.

 


 

The Pomegranate originated in the region that is known today as Iran and cultivated since ancient times throughout the entire Mediterranean region. It was introduced to first Spanish America in the late 16th century and later into California and Arizona. Today it is cultivated and sparingly established in some of the Southern United States from North Carolina to California. It is also widely cultivated throughout the Middle East, North Africa, tropical portions of Africa, Central Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, and India. Recently it has begun to appear in European and and the Western Hemisphere.

 

 


 

The fruit has been used for centuries in many different cuisines. It is used for juices, sauces, as a spice (flavoring), or a topping for desserts or soups. The seeds of the Pomegranate provide 12% of your daily value of Vitamins C, 16% of your value vitamin K and 10% daily value of folate, they are also an excellent source of dietary fiber at 20% of the daily value (this is entirely contained in the edible seeds).

 

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The Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis, is also called Sharinga Tree, Rubberwood or Para Rubber Tree. It was only originally found growing in the Amazon Rainforest but was planted in more widespread tropical and sub-tropical areas once the demand for it's naturally produced rubber increased. This tree is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and has major economic value because of it's milky latex that naturally occurs within the tree. Recorded uses of this and similar tree rubber/latex products date back to the Olmec people of Mesoamerica some 3600 years ago. By the late 1800's rubber plantations were established in the British colonies, Java, and Malaya. Today most rubber plantations outside of the native region occur in tropical portions of South/East Asia and West Africa. Cultivating in South America has not been satisfactory because of leaf blight this leaf blight is a major concern for plantations worldwide as it has not been cured or corrected and is thought to pose a threat to all varieties/clones growing today.

 

 

Image Citation: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

 

This latex that occurs in the Rubber Tree is the primary source of natural rubber, it occurs in vessels within the bark just outside of the phloem. The vessels spirals up and around the tree in a right handed helix pattern forming an angle of about 30 degrees and occurring at heights of up to 45 feet. In the wild the tree has been found to reach heights upwards of 100 feet, but this is not very common. Trees grow at a much slower rate once they are tapped for latex and are generally cut down after about thirty years as they usually stop producing at this point so they no longer have economical value. When harvesting cuts are made in the vessels but only deep enough to tap into them without harming the trees growth. In order to grow these trees require tropical or sub-tropical climates, with no chance of frost. One simple frost event can completely wipe out a plantation and be detrimental to production as the rubber becomes brittle and breaks. Latex production is not very reliable the amount and quality is variable from tree to tree. When a tree is tapped (the process is called rubber tapping) the latex is collected in small buckets and looks almost similar to the process used to collect syrup from Maple trees.

 

 

 

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The Silverbell - Halesia

Posted on June 30, 2017 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The Silverbell - Halesia, is a very small genus of five species of large deciduous shrubs or small trees in the family Styracaceae. It is most commonly found and reaches its greatest size in the Southern Appalachian Mountains where it is called The Mountain Silverbell. Species of this genus include Mountain-monticola(Snowdrop), Carolina-carolina (Little), Common-tetraptera, Two Winged-diptera, and Chinese-macgregorii (MacGregor's) Silverbell. This genus is only native to Eastern Asia and Eastern North America, and can be grown in hardiness zones 4-8. The different species within this genus are sometimes disputed as all being very similar to one another, some researchers say the genus only includes three members while others say four or five.


 

This attractive shrub or small tree grows in moist soils, commonly along streams and in the understory of hardwood forests. It has a moderate growth rate and can lives about 100 years. In tree form it can reach anywhere from 15-65 feet tall. The leaves are simple and ovate in shape and a medium green during the growing season. The wood is soft and close grained. The white bell shaped pendulous flowers and small size make it a desirable tree for landscaping. The flowers are a white or very pale pink, produced in open clusters of 2-6 flowers. The fruit is a distinctive, oblong dry drupe that is 2–4 cm long. All species except for the Two-Winged (Halesia diptera) have four narrow longitudinal ribs or wings on fruit; diptera only has two, making it the most distinctive of the group.The seeds are eaten by squirrels and the flowers provide honey for bees.

 

 


 

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The Sandbar Willow - Salix interior

Posted on June 29, 2017 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

The Sandbar Willow - Salix interior, is most easily identified by it's shrubby, thicket forming growing habit and narrowly linear leaves that are bluish white below. Sandbar Willow grows as a small tree or large shrub reaching heights of 13-30 feet tall, usually growing in a rounded, dense, shrubby, sprawling fashion with multiple clonal trunks arising from wide spreading surface roots. Rarely does the Sandbar Willow grow with a single erect trunk.

 

The leaves are alternate, simple, narrowly linear, with a wedge shaped base. The upper leaf surface is moderately lustrous and hairy, with a paler lower surface. The flowers are unisexual, male and female flowers intermixed on the same catkins. The flowers occur in Spring to Summer, after the new leaves appear. The fruit is a capsule 4-10 mm long.

 

 

Image Citation: Richard Webb, Bugwood.org

 

The Sandbar Willow is native with specimens being found growing from 10-1800 m in a triangle shape across the North America. It can be found as far North as Alaska, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick, Maine to Virginia in the East, Louisiana to Texas in the South and Colorado, Washington and back to Alaska in the West. It is most commonly found along sandbars, sandy or silty floodplains, lake or pond margins, drainage ditches, distrubed sites and sand hills in the Praries.

 

 

 

Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

 

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The Tangerine - Citrus reticulata

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Tangerine - Citrus reticulata is also referred to as the Satsuma or Mandarin Orange. It is a small evergreen tree that grows in a single erect form with single short trunks or low branched multi-trunks. It has a dense crown and for the most part the branches remain spineless, though on some varieties they do bare large thorns. They are classified in to Citrus genus, and the Rutaceae family.

 

 


 

The leaves occur in an alternate unifoliate, lanceolate or elliptic fashion. The margins are blunt with rounded teeth and a lustrous dark green upper surface. The flowers are white, developing in the Spring with 5 petals that are produced in terminal clusters. The Tangerines is native to China and has been highly cultivated in Florida but has not yet naturalized. Many varieties and hybrid are currently cultivated and marketed in the United States. Most of the tangerines sold in your local grocery store or farmers market are hybrid varieties and have been better developed over time for greater performance and crop production.


 

The citrus fruit is a vertically compressed hesperidium that is 5 - 10 cm in diameter, orange in color and a very close relative or member of the Mandarin family. They are much smaller in size then the common Orange and have a sweeter flavor. The rind is generally thin and loose, removing easily to reveal 8-15 easily separated sections. The fruit matures in late Fall to early Winter. The fruit is most commonly peeled and eaten right from your hand. It is also used as a garnish in salads, main courses, and desserts. The juice of the Tangerines is sold in both the raw form and concentrated in the United States. The rind can be used as a zest, flavoring or garnish either fresh or dried. Tangerines are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and folate. They also contain small amounts of magnesium, Vitamin B (B1, B2 & B3), Lutein, Potassium and Zeaxanthin.

 

 


 

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