Indian Creek - Native Trees

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 Reference Books:
Forest Trees of Illinois
by Robert H. Mohlenbrock
available from the IDNR by calling 1-800-720-3249 between 8:30 - 4:30 M-F      
$8 plus tax, shipping & handling

Peterson Field Guides - Trees and Shrubs by George A. Petrides   

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees - Eastern Region by Elbert L. Little

 Photos and notes on this page are taken from:

Click on the tree name below for more descriptions and more photos.

White Ash (Fraxinus americana)

The single winged fruit of the White Ash is a food enjoyed by many varieties of bird.



Basswood (Tilia americana)

The Basswood provides food for many insects, animals and birds. Honeybees feed on the flowers, producing what is reputed to be a choice grade of honey. Birds eat the buds, small mammals eat the fruit, and several species feed on the bark and sprouts.



Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)

The Black Haw has white blossoms in the spring.  Its fruits are shiny, bluish-black, ovoid, and occur on bright red stalks. They occur in September to October. Song and game birds, as well as a variety of small mammals and deer eat them.




Box Elder (Acer negundo)

The Box Elder is a medium tree that grows to 60 feet tall.  It grows in moist woods and attracts box elder bugs, which feed on it and the Silver Maple.




Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

The buckeye portion of the name derives from the fruits, which are mahogany brown with a large gray spot, resembling a buck's eye. The bark and seeds contain a narcotic chemical that is poisonous to livestock.





Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

The string-bean like fruit of the Catalpa make it easy to spot





Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

The Black Cherry’s strong, heavy wood has been used extensively for furniture, veneer, and interior finish.





Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

Reportedly early immigrants in Kentucky used the large seeds of this tree to make "coffee."





Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

This rapid growing but short lived tree can reach 200 feet in height.  Its cotton like seeds flood the spring air.





Iowa Crab Apple (Malus ioensis)

The Crab Apple is an important source of food for wildlife. The fruits are relished by deer and many birds, including cedar waxwings, mockingbirds, robins, pheasant and quail.





American Elm (Ulmus americana)

Many American Elms have been lost to the Dutch Elm disease, but this stately tree can still be found in the subdivision.





Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

Slippery or red elm is named for its inner bark, which is moist and sticky (and consequently "slippery") and red. It is distinguishable from other elms by its red, hairy buds and its rough, hairy twigs.





Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

The wood of the Hackberry is heavy and close-grained, but soft. It is used for fence posts and furniture. Native Americans used hackberry to treat sore throat. Various birds and mammals feed on the berries after they ripen in autumn.





Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)

The Bitternut Hickory is present in every county in Illinois. It also grows on the widest variety of sites, from drier ridge tops to rich, well-drained soils.





Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

The Shagbark Hickory has a distinctive shaggy bark and bears a sweet tasting nut.  Native Americans used Shagbark hickory as a treatment for rheumatism and other ills.





    Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

The branches often but not always have large distinctive, branching thorns, not found on other trees that are native to North America.





Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Bark of the trunk of this tree is light brown in color. It is fractured into narrow scales, which are loose at their ends. This gives the trunk a shredded look.





Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Called Silver Maple for the silvery-white color of the underside of the leaf, this fast growing tree turns a bright light yellow in the fall. 





Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

The bright golden yellow and orange autumn leaves of Indian Creek’s abundant Sugar Maples make Indian Creek a spectacular place to be in the fall.





Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)

The berries or the Red Mulberry are edible and widely desirable, and a long line forms for them every year in the late spring: people, livestock, many kinds of birds, various other wildlife.





Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

The Bur Oak is slow growing, but long lived, and may reach ages approaching 1000 years.  It thrives under a broad range of environmental conditions. It survives in dry, mineral-poor soils as well as wet soils. Its thick bark protects it from fire, and its deep taproot allows it to survive drought. Bur oak is also one of the most cold-tolerant oaks.





Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Northern Red Oak seedlings do not tolerate shade. They require a gap in the canopy to grow to maturity. Red oak is a rapidly growing, long-lived tree. The oldest of the red oaks may live to 300 to 500 years of age, but these are the exceptions. The average age of most red oaks today is less than that.





White Oak (Quercus alba)

The white oak is the official Illinois state tree, and occurs in every county in Illinois, but it rarely occurs in pure stands. The close-grained, strong wood is one our best for furniture and hardwood flooring. Native American Indians made flour from its acorns.





Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)

The Osage Orange is also known as Hedge Apple.  Native only in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, it was commonly planted elsewhere in hedge rows and has often escaped from cultivation.  The seeds of the large greenish-yellow fruit are enjoyed by squirrels in the winter time.





Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Pawpaw prefers moist, fertile soil and commonly grows in stream valleys and on ravine slopes. It is very tolerant of shade and typically is found beneath larger trees in a forest. Pawpaw fruits are a favorite food of opossums (pawpaw is sometimes referred to as possumhaw), raccoons, foxes, mice, and people.





Wild Plum (Prunus americana)

The Wild Plum (also called American Plum) is a small tree that grows to just 20 feet tall.  Its red fruit is juicy and sweet and used in making jelly and preserves.





Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

The Redbud can typically can be found as an under story tree in hardwood forests. It is a small, attractive tree with spreading branches and masses of lavender spring blossoms. Landscapers frequently use the Redbud as an ornamental.




Red Haw (Crataegus mollis)

The Red Haw is also known as the Downy Hawthorne.  The growth habit may be extremely variable: from rounded, wide-spreading trees to low-spreading, ball-shaped masses. Showy, white flowers are produced in broad heads on downy stalks in mid-May.





Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

The Sycamore has large leaves and a distinctive bark which falls away in sections to expose large patches of whitish or greenish inner bark.  It is most often found in moist soils along the creek and can grow to be quite large.





Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)

The eastern wahoo is a small tree (up to 15 – 25 feet) that grows in moist soils, especially thickets, valleys, and forest edges, and which is related to the commonly planted Asian burning bush. White-tailed deer browse on the leaves and young shoots. Although a food to some birds, including the cardinal, catbird, eastern bluebird, and wild turkey, the seeds are toxic to humans.





Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

The Black Walnut’s rich, dark brown, close-grained wood makes this tree one of the most valuable of our hardwoods. Historically, the wood was widely used in building construction. Because of a toxic substance coming from the roots of the Black Walnut, many garden plants such as tomatoes and blackberries cannot grow under these trees.





Black Willow (Salix nigra)

The Black Willow generally grows in moist soils.  It is useful in holding stream banks in place, protecting them from stream erosion.