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Coniferous Trees (aka conifers)

Definition: Any of various mostly needle-leaved or scale-leaved, chiefly evergreen, cone-bearing gymnospermous trees.
There are some 550 species of conifers, including pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, cypress, juniper, yew, and redwood.


Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar

About this Tree:
One of the best conifers for wildlife habitat
Well adapted to most soils
Grows 25 to 60 feet tall
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Two types, usually on the same tree -- scale-like and awl shaped
Fruit: Blue berrylike cone, 1/4 to 1/3 inch in diameter
Twig: 4-sided

Northern White Cedar

Northern White Cedar

About this Tree:
Foliage, twigs eaten by White-tailed deer
Fruit eaten by various birds
Prefers neutral to alkaline soils, limestone origin
Grows 40 to 70 feet tall
Hardiness zone 2
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Evergreen; opposite; 1/16 to 1/8 inch long; scalelike; dull yellow-green; foliage sprays fanlike
Fruit: Cone; 3/8 inch long; elliptical; upright from short curved stalk
Bark: Light red-brown; thin; fibrous

Arizona Cypress

Arizona Cypress

About this Tree:
Used for erosion control, windbreaks, urban landscaping, posts, stakes and corral poles
Prefers moist gravelly soils on slopes and benches
Grows 40 to 60 feet
Hardiness zone 6
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Minute blue-green to gray-green; scale-like; sharp pointed; finely toothed on the margins; shunlike odor when bruised
Fruit: Dark reddish brown cones about one inch long that remain on the tree for many years, become gray with age
Bark: Reddish brown with irregular, narrow, thin, curling scales that peel; on older tree's, bark becomes furrowed

Leland Cypress

Leland Cypress

About this Tree:
Used as Christmas trees
Also good for hedgerows, windbreaks and landscaping
Adapted to a wide range of soil textures
Prefers moist, well drained soils
Grows 60 to 70 feet tall
Hardiness zone 5
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Blue-green to gray-green needles, 1/8 inch long; acute; appressed with the apices of the lateral pairs often free
Fruit: Cone, 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter with 8 scales; each scale contains approximately 5 seeds per scale
Bark: Reddish-brown and scaly

Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress

About this Tree:
Well adapted to wet sites
Can be planted on dry sites
Wood very resistant to decay
Develops 'knees' under saturated conditions
Grows 60 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 4
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needle-like; delicate; arranged in 2 ranks in a feather-like fashion along small branchlets; branchlets with fine needles fall in the autumn
Fruit: Globe-shaped, woody cone, 1 inch in diameter; cones disintegrate at maturity
Twig: Reddish-brown; rough, with several short peg-like branches
Bark: Dark reddish-brown with long loose shreddy ridges

Concolor Fir

Concolor Fir

About this Tree:
Provides winter cover for wildlife
Prefers dry to moist soils
Grows 75 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; slat; linear; 2-ranked; blue-green; 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long
Fruit: Cone; erect; olive brown; cylindrical; 3 to 5 inches long
Twig: Stout; yellow-green with clustered blunt, red-brown resinous buds
Bark: Ash, gray-brown color; flattened ridges

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir

About this Tree:
Winter cover for wildlife
Prefers well drained, loamy soils
Grows 80 to 200 feet tall
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; flexible; flattened; light green-bluegreen; blunt tip; 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch long
Fruit: Cone, tan-brown; 2 to 3 inches long; clustered pairs; 3 points; protruding bracts
Twig: Slender; gray-brown; long; sharp-pointed buds
Bark: Reddish brown; deep furrows

Rocky Mountain Juniper

Rocky Mountain Juniper

About this Tree:
Foliage and fruit eaten by mammals and birds
Can grow on dry to moist soils
Grows 25 to 50 feet tall
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Small; scale-like; opposite; smooth edges; 1 to 2 inches long
Fruit: Small; fleshy; berry-like; .2 to .3 inches in diameter; bright blue
Twig: Slender, 4-sided; becoming rounded with age
Bark: Thin; reddish-brown; weathering to grayish

Austrain Pine

Austrian Pine

About this Tree:
Prefers dry, drought resistant soils
Grows 75 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Evergreen, 3 1/2 to 6 inches long; 2 in bundle; stiff; shiny dark green; silvery white buds
Fruit: Cone, 2 to 3 inches long, 1 to 1 1/4 inches wide; egg-shaped; shiny, yellow-brown; almost stalkless
Bark: Dark brown; thick; rough; furrowed into irregular scaly plates
Buds: Large, silvery buds

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine

About this Tree:
Prefers sandy-loam soils; avoid clay-wet soils
Grows 60 to 100 feet tall, 50 to 80 feet wide
Growth rate is 3 to 5 feet per year
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles in bundles of 5; 3 to 5 inches long; slender; flexible
Fruit: Cones; 4 to 8 inches long; cylindrical; often curved
Twig: Orange brown
Bark: Dark grayish brown; deeply furrowed on older trees; 1 to 2 inches thick with ridges

Eldarica Pine

Eldarica Pine

About this Tree:
Prefers fine sands, silt loams to silty clay loams, and very well drained to moderately well drained soils
Fast growth if irrigated
Hardiness zone 7
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles 4 to 6 inches long borne in bundles of 2 or rarely 3; new growth blue-green, older growth darker green
Fruit: Cones; reddish brown to brown; borne singly or in whorls of 3 to 6; cones are ovate-conic, approximately 4 inches in length; unarmed
Bark: Silvery gray and shiny when young; becoming reddish brown; fissured and scaly on older trunks

Loblolly Pine

Loblolly Pine

About this Tree:
Seeds eaten by Bobwhite quail and mourning dove
Tolerates poorly drained to well drained soils
Grows 80 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 7
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; 5 to 9 inches long; 3 in bundle; stout, stiff, often twisted
Fruit: 3 to 5 inches long; conical
Bark: Blackish-gray; thick, deeply furrowed into scaly ridges exposing brown inner layers

Ponderosa Pine

Ponderosa Pine

About this Tree:
Seeds eaten by birds, mammals
Can grow on dry soils
Grows 75 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 3
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; stout; flexible; yellow-green; 5 to 10 inches long; clusters of 2 or 3
Fruit: Cone, tan-brown; 3 to 6 inches long; scales with prickles
Twig: Stout; orange-brown; turpentine odor when broken
Bark: Black, yellow-orange (old); wide, shallow-furrowed; flaky plates

Red Pine

Red Pine

About this Tree:
Seeds used by songbirds and small mammals
Prefers well-drained, sandy soils
Grows 70 to 80 feet tall
Hardiness zone 2
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; to 6 1/2 inches long; 2 in a bundle; dark green, snap cleanly
Fruit: Egg-shaped cones, 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 inches long
Bark: Reddish-brown or gray; with broad, flat, scaly plates; becoming thick

Scotch Pine

Scotch Pine

About this Tree:
Prefers sandy to loam soils
Grows 50 to 75 feet tall
Hardiness zone 2
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; 1 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches long; 2 in bundle; stiff; slightly flattened; twisted; blue-green
Fruit: Cone; 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches long; egg-shaped; pale yellow-brown
Bark: Reddish-brown; thin; becoming gray and shredding in papery plates

Short Leaf Pine

Short Leaf Pine

About this Tree:
Seeds are eaten by mourning dove and Bobwhite quail
Prefers dry ridges, sandy loams and silt loams
Grows 30 to 70 feet tall
Hardiness zone 6
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; 4 1/2 inches long; 2 or sometimes 3 in bundle; slender, flexible; dark blue-green
Fruit: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long; conical
Bark: Reddish-brown; large scaly plates

Slash Pine

Slash Pine

About this Tree:
Seeds eaten by Bobwhite quail and mourning dove
Prefers poorly drained sandy soils
Grows 60 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 7
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; 7 to 10 inches long; 2 and 3 in bundle; stout; stiff; shiny green
Fruit: 2 1/2 to 6 inches long; narrowly shaped; shiny dark brown
Bark: Purplish-brown; flattened, scaly plates; rough and furrowed

Virginia Pine

Virginia Pine

About this Tree:
Good wildlife value
Prefers well drained soils
Poor shade tolerance
Good drought tolerance
Grows 30 to 40 feet tall
Hardiness zone 4
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long; stout; gray-green; in bundles of two; twisted
Fruit: Dark reddish-brown; ovoid; lustrous; 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, with a sharp spine at the end of each scale
Bark: Shallow fissures; dark brown loose scales

Colorado Blue Spruce

Colorado Blue Spruce

About this Tree:
Winter cover for wildlife
Prefers upland dry soils
Grows 75 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 2
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; stiff; spirally arranged; 4-sided; 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long; very prickly; sharp pointed
Fruit: Cone, oblong; tan-brown; cylindrical; 3 to 4 inches long; papery scales
Twig: Stout; orange to gray-brown
Bark: Silvery gray-brown

Norway Spruce

Norway Spruce

About this Tree:
Foliage, twigs eaten by White-tailed deer
Needles eaten by grouse
Winter cover for many species
Prefers moist soil
Grows 75 to 100 feet tall
Hardiness zone 2
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles; 1/2 to 1 inch long; stiff; 4-angled; sharp-pointed; shiny, dark green with whitish lines; drooping foliage
Fruit: Cones; 4 to 6 inches long; cylindrical; light brown; hanging down
Bark: Reddish-brown; scaly

White Spruce

White Spruce

About this Tree:
Foliage, twigs eaten by White-tailed deer
Needles eaten by grouse
Winter cover for many species
Prefers moist, sandy loam soils
Grows 50 to 60 feet tall; 1 to 3 feet per year
Grows 3 to 6 feet tall
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Needles 1/2 to 3/4 inches long; stiff; 4-angled, sharp pointed; blue-green, with whitish lines
Fruit: Cones, 1 to 2 inches long
Twig: Orange-brown; slender; peglike bases
Bark: Gray or brown; inner bark whitish

Casuarina

Casuarina

About this Tree:
Provides perching and nesting for birds
Tolerates dry or wet soil, salinity, heat and wind
Grows 50 to 100 feet tall
Grows up to 8 to 10 feet per year
Hardiness zone 8
Identification Tips:
Leaves: Scale-like; 1/8 inch long
Fruit: Light brown, warty ball
Bark: Light gray brown; smoothish on small trees, later becoming furrowed


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