Tree Identifications

We decided to do a tree identification of the plant species of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park using New York City TREES A Field Guide for the Metropolitan Area by Edward Sibley Barnard. Of course, we did not identify all the trees because that would be impossible. Instead, we chose two areas to focus on, a dry area meaning that there are no bodies of water present, and a wet area where there is water present. The dry area is located on 111st and 46th Avenue, near the Hall of Science. While the wet area is near Meadow Lake. The reasons why we performed this project is to get a sample of the types of tree in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and to determine how much of the trees found in the area is native to North America or was brought to the area by humans.  We want to have an idea if the planting patterns of the past is consistent with today. Also, certain flora have positive and negative effect in certain areas. With an idea of what types of trees are in the area, it might be possible to determine the effects it can have on Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.


Tree #1:

Ginkgo biloba L.

Leaf of a Ginkgo


  • Fan-shaped leaves
  • About 1 1/2 to 3 inches wide
  • Irregular teeth
  • Has notches
  • Matte green color
  • Has a plum shaped fruit

What is it? It is a Ginkgo biloba L., common name is Ginkgo. A ginkgo tree can grow up to 40-80 ft. and is the only living member of an ancient arboreal (tree) order. This tree is able to survive in the harsh conditions of urban areas and you can find many of these ginkgo trees throughout New York City. It is said by herbalists that the extracts from ginkgo leaves can cure coughs, allergies, and  even improve memory. The ginkgo tree, however, is not native to the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area.

Tree #2:

Prunus spp.

Leaf of a Prunus spp.

Fruits of a Wild Cherry Tree

Joshua and a Cherry


  • Alternate
  • Lanced-shaped
  • Sharply pointed
  • Fine teeth
  • Has bright red fruit

What is it? It is a Prunus spp., common name is Wild Cherry, specifically, the black cherry. The wild cherry tree can grow up to 15-80 ft. in height but in the wild, it can grow up to 100 ft. It has a hard, reddish brown wood, which makes it sought after to produce fine furniture. The fruits of this type of tree have a bitter sweet taste and are usually made into wine and jelly. The Wild Cherry is native to the eastern part of North America, particularly Quebec, Ontario, Texas, Florida, Mexico, and Guatemala. Therefore, one can conclude that it is brought to the area we are studying by humans.

Tree #3:

Pinus strobus L.

Leaf of a Pinus strobus L.


  • Needles in bundles of 5
  • Blue-green
  • Edges are finely toothed
  • Has long reddish brown cones

Vanessa holding a leaf of Pinus strobus L.

Pine Comb of Pinus strobus L.

Joshua holding the pine comb of Pinus strobus L.

What is it? It is a Pinus strobus L., common name is Eastern White Pine. It can grow to be 80-100 ft. tall. When Europeans first arrived in North America, many of these trees were cut down to be made into masts of British naval ships. A fine specimen of the Eastern Whit Pine can go up to 100 pounds of sterling, which is a small fortune at that time. The Eastern White Pine is native to eastern North America, specifically, Newfoundland, Minnesota, Manitoba, and south along the Appalachian Mountains.

Tree #4:

Cercis canadensis L.

Redbud Leaves


  • Alternate
  • Broadly heart-shaped
  • Smooth edges
  • Branching veins coming out from the stems
  • Has pods

What is it? It is a Cercis canadensis L., common name is Redbud. It can grow to be 15-40 ft. in height. During spring, specifically, April and May, purplish pink blossoms will bloom. For the rest of the year, it goes unnoticed. This tree is widely planted for ornamental reasons. The Redbud produces legumes, 2-3.5 inch long pods. This tree is native to North America from southern Ontario, Canada south to northern Florida.


Tree #1:

Nyssa sylvatica marshall

Black Tupelo leaves


  • Alternate
  • Oval and bluntly pointed
  • 2 inches long
  • A central vein with a few secondary veins branching out
  • dark green color and pale at the bottom

What is it? It is a Nyssa Sylvatica Marshall, also known as the Black Tupelo. This tree height is usually 30 to 80 ft tall.  The Black Tupelo is most commonly fall on the edge of swampy areas which is how it got its name, (Tupelo in Greek means swamp tree where Nyssa means water nymph) In the autumn, the leaves show a dark green color that turns into shades of orange and yellow. This tree is native to eastern North America particulary, New England and southern Ontario and going south to central Florida and Texas.

Tree #2:

Morus spp.

Mulberry Leaves


  • Irregular shaped leaves, lobed
  • Alternate and simple
  • Toothed edges
  • 2 to 8 inches long

What is it? It is a Morus spp., commonly known as the Mulberry tree. Interestingly, William Prince, in Flushing was very successful into establishing the white mulberry in New York since he wanted to sell these trees as ornamentals and also to initiate a silk industry. The mulberry usually grows to be 20 to 50 feet high. These trees are native to warm climate area in Asia, Africa, Europe, and both North and South America; however, most of this species of tree is native to America.

Tree #3:

Amelanchier spp.

Serviceberry leaves


  • Alternate oval leaves
  • A central vein that branches out into a few secondary veins
  • Toothed and pointed tip

What is it? It is the Amelanchier spp. also known as the Serviceberry. It blooms in the spring into star shaped blossoms near rivers. They are found in bogs and swamps and grow to be 10 to 40 feet tall. This tree found by Meadow Lake is most likely to be the Allegheny Serviceberry tree. The Serviceberry is native to all the states of the United States except for Hawaii.


From the identification of several trees, we realized that most found in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is native to the eastern part of North America expect for one, which is the gingko tree. Around 1937, about 1,200 large trees such as: the Norway maple, America, English, and Asiatic elms, sycamores and different kinds of oak, gingkos and willows, were planted. 1 Through our observation, we are  conclude that the planting patterns of the pst is reflected today because trees planted in the past were mostly trees native to North America and the sample of trees we identified is native to North America except for one.


  1. Cynthia Zaitzevsky, Long Island Landscapes and the Women Who Designed Them (New York: Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, 2009), 241

One Response to Tree Identifications

  1. Jason Munshi-South says:

    I think again that this section needs material to tie it in to the other sections. You should also provide a strong rationale for doing tree identification. The most interesting reason from my perspective is to get an idea of whether planting patterns we know about from the past are reflected in the current tree composition at the site. Please remember that the second name in scientific names is not capitalized!


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