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Meet A Tree - Blog

Loquat - Eriobotrya japonica

Posted on July 3, 2018 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (6)

The Loquat - Eriobotrya japonica is most easily recognized by the combination of large coarsely toothed, heavily veined, dark green leaves and large flowering panicles with yellow or orange fruit. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of 9-20 feet high on average. The crown is dense, rounded and somewhat vase shaped. The Eriobotrya is a small genus of only 30 species of evergreen shrubs or trees that are native to mostly Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

The bark is brownish gray, smooth and somewhat hairy. The leaves are alternate, simply toothed, stiff, leathery, obovate or elliptical, with coarsely toothed margins and parallel veins. The upper leaf surface is lustrous, dark green, hairless, with a paler lower surface. The flowers are 10-15 mm in diameter with 5 petals in an oval or circular form. The flowers are a creamy white color with a sweet fragrance, borne in conspicuous branches and hairy terminal panicles. The flowers appear is late Autumn to early Winter. The fruit is a yellow, orange or whitish pome, that is pear shaped or oblong with 1-2 large seeds. The fruit matures in Spring to early Summer.

 

 

 

The Loquat was originally introduced from East Asia and is now found on disturbed sites from South Florida to South Louisiana, and cultivated into the southern portion of North Carolina. The Loquat is considered to be somewhat invasive in some portions of Florida.

 

 

 

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Moringa oleifera - Miracle Tree

Posted on January 9, 2018 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (4)

Moringa oleifera is the most common of all of the Moringa genus. The Moringa are the only members of the Moringaceae family. Moringa oleifera has many common names such as the Miracle Tree (for the high nutrient content and said healing powers), Horseradish Tree (for the root flavor, often compared to horseradish), Drumstick Tree (for the slender seedpods) , Benoil and Benzoil Tree (for the oils derived from the seeds).

 

 

 

According to tradition in parts of Africa (especially Ghana), the "Miracle Tree" and it's products have been used for generations. The leaves are extremely high in nutrient value and are said to have natural healing powers. The seed pods and leaves are eaten as a vegetable in many native areas and are used as an ingredient in herbal medicines. Not only does the Moringa oleifera's products contain high nutrient values it can also be used for water purification purposes.

 

 

 

This fast growing deciduous tree can reach a height of 32-40 feet with a diameter of just 1.5 feet. The whitish-grey bark is surrounded by a thick cork. The young shoots have purplish or greenish-white hairy bark. The open crown contains drooping, fragile branches and leathery tripinnate leaves. The fragrant flowers are bisexual and contain five unequal yellow-white petals. In cooler regions the flowers only appear once a year in April-June, however in warmer regions with high rainfall they can appear twice a year or even year round. They appear on hairy stalks in spreading clusters that are 10-25 cm long. The fruit occurs in brown three sided capsules containing dark brown seeds winged seeds that are dispersed by wind and water. When cultivated as a crop it is cut back annually to allow the pods and leaved to remain within reach.

 

 

 

The Moringa oleifera is the main focus of Moringa Connect, a program that provides registered farmers with seeds and resulting manure for crop expansion and harvesting purposes. It is also planted as part of the Feed The Future program, Feed The Future is a United States Government Global Hunger & Food Security Initiative that is currently focused in 19 countries. These programs along with the help of volunteers (including Peace Corp Members, Private and Corporate Sectors) allow areas that are otherwise void of reliable / nutritional food sources to be planted with a resource that will continually produce and reproduce to provide nutritional food for generations to come.

 

 

 

To learn more about how you can volunteer or donate to these amazing programs (Moringa Connect or Feed The Future) visit http://moringaconnect.com/ or http://www.feedthefuture.gov/

 

 

 

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The Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (2)

The Sour Orange - Citrus x aurantium is a small evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches heights of only 10-30 feet tall. The Sour Orange has been naturalized in Florida, Georgia and Texas, but originated in southeastern Asia and South Sea Islands (Fiji, Samoa, and Guam). Sour Orange is grown in orchards settings only in the Orient/various other parts of the world where its special products are of commercial importance, including southern Europe and some offshore islands of North Africa, the Middle East, Madras, India, West Tropical Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Paraguay.

 

 

Image Citation: NCSC Herbarium, Citrus ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

 

The leaves of the Sour Orange are simply shaped ovate or elliptic, lustrous and deep green in color. The flowers are small, white in color and usually have 4 or 5 petals. The fruit is orange in color, round in shape with a thick almost leathery rind. Inside of the fruit is several separate sections or cells, each having at least a single seed. The fruit is fragrant, however it is generally too sour to be eaten on it's own. The primary use of Sour Orange is for the production of marmalade. The fruits are largely exported to England and Scotland for making marmalade.

 

 

Image Citation: NCSC Herbarium, Citrus ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org

 

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Crabapples

Posted on October 17, 2017 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (3)

Crabapples are small deciduous trees with a broad and open crown. Apples and Crabapples are in the rose family, Rosaceae, in the genus Malus. Crabapples are differentiated from Apples based on fruit size. If fruit is two inches in diameter or less, it is termed a Crabapple. If the fruit is larger than two inches, it is classified as an Apple. The height of Crabapples ranges greatly from 6- 50 feet depending on the variety and the growing conditions, however most average in the 15-25 ft range. There are currently 35 species and over 700 cultivated varieties of Crabapples recorded.

 

 

Image Citation (Crabapple in bloom-Left & Right): Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org

 

The fragrant flowers are white with a hint of pink or sometimes all pink. Growing in clusters of flowers that appear with the new leaves. Crabapple flowers may be single (5 petals), semi-double (6 to 10 petals) or double (more than 10 petals). Single-flowered Crabapple varieties tend to bloom earlier than semi-double or double-flowered varieties. Actual dates of blossoming can vary each year depending on weather conditions. The length of time in bloom, can range from 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the variety and weather conditions.

 

 

Image Citation (Southern Crabapple Flowers Purple and White): Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

 

The leaves are coarsely toothed and green in color. In the fall the leaves change in color, the colors range from yellow to orange, red to purple. The falling leaves reveal the still attached fruits offering another level of interest.

The Crabapples fruit is small, long stalked and rather sour in flavor. They are yellow-green in color an grow in clusters of 3 to 4. The fruit is rarely eaten raw as it is sour, bitter and sometimes woody in texture. However in some Asian cultures it is used and valued as a sour condiment. There are few varieties that are sweet though not as common as the sour varieties.

 

 

Image Citation (Crabapple Illustration): Zelimir Borzan, University of Zagreb, Bugwood.org

 

Crabapple has been listed as one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, an alternative medicine practice promoted for its effect on health. Though this has not been scientifically proven to date.

The Crabapple grows commonly in forest clearings and near streams in the Eastern United States (but not very far North). Ornamental varieties are grown throughout the United States in many Landscapes. Crabapple trees are fairly drought tolerant. They can be low maintenance and versatile landscape plants, and offer more than one season of interest between their flowers, fruit, and changing leaf colors.

 

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The Avocado - Persea americana

Posted on August 18, 2017 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (5)

The Avocado - Persea americana - tree is a very desirable ornamental, native only to the subtropical areas of Mexico and Central America. The growing conditions must be It's fruit is often included on the seemingly growing list of "super foods", it is very high in vitamin K & B and also contains C, D & Potassium. High Avocado intake was shown in one study to lower blood cholesterol levels.

 

 

 

 

 

With an average height of just 65 feet, it is a medium sized grower. When planted in pots it is necessary to re-pot quite often as they quickly outgrow small areas. The leaves are an elongated oval shape, deep green in color with a slight sheen on the top. The fruits are either pear or egg shaped with green skin that can range from mid green to almost a black-green and pale green inside. Avocado skin, bark and pits are harmful to many animals and have been recorded to cause severe reactions to dogs, cats, cattle and rabbits. The meat of the Avocado is smooth in texture and is often compared to butter in flavor. It is very often used in Vegetarian cuisine as a meat substitute because of it's high fat content. It is also commonly used in California Rolls, Guacamole, Sandwiches, Salads, Soups and Sauces. Commercially in the United States, Haas Avocados are the most known/marketed type even thought there are dozen of other cultivars grown worldwide.

 

Avocado fruits are climacteric, meaning they mature on the tree but don't ripen until taken off. They will only ripen if mature, so if picked early the ripening process will not occur. The Banana is another fruit in the climacteric category. Most Avocado crops produce the best crops bi-annually with poor yields in the off or in between years. Once off of the tree the fruit will ripen within a two week period, if left on the tree to long the fruit will eventually fall off on it's own. Avocados can be grown from seed, although it will take the new plantings 4-6 years to mature and bear fruit. Indoors you can also grow Avocados from the pits in water, holding them near the surface with toothpicks, once the stem reaches an inch or two you can transfer it to soil.

 

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Common Apple - Malus pumila

Posted on August 17, 2017 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (3)

Common Apple - Malus pumila - Trees are small deciduous trees in the Rosaceae family with a single erect trunk and low hanging branches that often reach the ground. Sometimes also called Paradise Apple, this is the Apple of commerce. Numerous cultivars have been selected from this genus for taste, size, shape and color. Fruits of wild plants are often of lesser quality then those that are tended to in orchards. Other varieties of Apples and Crab Apples have smaller fruit and thorny twigs.

 

The fragrant flowers are white with a hint of pink or sometimes all pink. Flower have 5 petals and appear with the new leaves in mid - late Spring. The leaves are alternate, simply shaped, oval or elliptic with a bluntly pointed tip. The upper leaf surface is a deep green hairy when young, becoming hairless with age. The fruit is round or slightly ellipsoid pome, green when young becoming red with maturity. The fruit matures in Summer to Early Fall annually.

 

Growing commonly in forest clearings, near streams in the Eastern United States (but not very far to the North or Gulf Coast region). Ornamental varieties are grown throughout the majority of the United States. It is believed that the Common Apple was originally introduced from Asia or Europe but has naturalized in many areas within it's hardiness zones.

 

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The Elderberries - Sambucus

Posted on August 2, 2017 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (1)

The Elderberries - Sambucus are a small genus made up of only 10 species of which only 2 are commonly found in North America the American Elderberry- Sambucus nigra and the Red Elderberry- Sambucus racemosa, a third Danewort/Dwarf Elderberry- Sambucus ebulus is reported to be naturalized in the Northeast portions of the United States. They are deciduous shrubs, small trees or herbs with very soft wood and conspicuous pith.

 

 

Image Citation: (Common Elderberry) Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

 

The leaves are opposite and compound usually pinnate but occasionally bi-pinnate. The leaflets are lanceolate or ovate with distinctly toothed margins. The flowers are small, white or cream in color and generally made up 3-5 petals and 5 stamens. When crushed the flowers produce a sweet yet rancid odor. The fruit is a fleshy round berry like drupe, red or black in color depending on the species, these berries generally occur in bunches.

 

 

Image Citation: (Elderberry Flowers) Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

 

The Elderberries are mostly found in moist to wet areas, roadsides, ditches, wetland and woodland margins at elevations ranging from 3-3000 m. It is a dominant under story species in riparian woodlands where it persists despite the competition from other species, it does not however grow well in closed story forests. American Elderberries are found from the central portion of the US (Wisconsin to Texas) all the way to the East Coast and as far North as Nova Scotia. The Red Elderberries are found in a more limited area on either coast of the US, from Alaska in the North and Northern California in the South on the Pacific Coast, Sporadically from Northern Idaho to Arizona and New Mexico in the central portion of the country, and from Wisconsin to Nova Scotia in the North East and West Virginia, Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic/South.

 

 

Image Citation: (Red Elderberry) Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org

 

American Elderberry is best distinguished by the black fruit, whereas the Red Elderberry has red fruit. Similar species include Box Elder and Ash, which have similar leaves however neither have fleshy fruits as the Elderberries do. The fleshy fruit is edible and has been used by various cultures including Native Americans, Spaniards, Cahuillas, French, Austrians, and Germans for many different purposes. The berries can be used to make wine, jams, jelly, syrup and pies. When dried they can be cooked down to form a sauce (sometimes called sauco by the Cahuillas) that does not require any type of sweetening. The flowers are sometimes added to batters, eaten raw, added to teas, or even fried for a sweet snack. The twigs can be used to tap Maple trees for Syrup collection, basket weaving, flute and clapper stick making, tinder and even homemade squirt guns (when hollowed out).

 

 

Image Citation: (Dwarf Elderberry) Jan Samanek, Phytosanitary Administration, Bugwood.org

 

Many Elderberries are planted for their ornamental value offering visual interest with both the flowers and the berries, others are planted for the wildlife value as they attract birds, small mammals, rodents, deer and butterflies. They are very a productive, adaptable and easy to establish species. Elderberries also are a very useful ground cover for stabilizing stream banks and other sites that are prone to erosion. Elderberries grow best from seed and are most often sown in the Fall season, cutting from this species are not very successful. This species is recommended for hardiness zones 3-8 and can be found at many nurseries for planting in your own garden.

 

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Chickasaw Plum - Prunus angustifolia

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (1)

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 Tangerine - Citrus reticulata

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (1)

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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