Origin of trees

The trees of our forests are native to Europe, but from the Romans, the conquerors have introduced new species (eg cherry). In the Middle Ages, the Crusaders and traders bring back species from the Middle East. The conquest of the East by caravan, then by sea, brings new species. Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch compete on the seas in search of new lands. The race to spices justifies the botanical expeditions. The eighteenth century was the golden age of European gardens which are planted with American, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian species. At this time, they're French and English who distinguished themselves and ... gave their name to "bougainvillea", "parrotia" and other "Fr David" (a Chinese maple).
The folder origin classes trees by origin (countries or continents) and gives the latin names and english names.


A wide variety of trees was classified according to their mechanisms of reproduction. The current classification has been developed by Carl von Linné in the years 1730-1750. To summarize, two major categories exist: " entomophilous " are pollinated by insects, butterflies or birds (ie cherry), the " Anemophilous " use the wind (conifers).

Recognize a tree by its bark

In winter, deciduous trees show their bark and their form to identify them. Only some are easy to recognize throuhg specific form (such as poplar, which is upright or oak with twisted branches) or special bark. We give some examples of bark to facilitate identification. They were categorized bark (smooth, cracked, shedding in strips, and so on..) : barks

Criteria for choosing a tree

We choose a tree first in terms of its use (orchard, ornamental, shade, windcheater, cut-view).
For that, I look at :
its growth and its form (outline), its period of flowering and its flower color (which usually last a month), the color of leaves in summer and at fall (even if it does not last). I do not forget to check its adaptation to the soil, and its sturdiness and resistance to violent winds. The conifers bearing leaves in winter can be hit by storm. Their creeping roots have hardly helped to withstand winds of 200 km / h in the storm of 1999 in France. Finally, their wood is brittle and less durable than many hardwoods. The following chapters detail these criteria:

Soils and the environment

The major categories of soil are the calcareous and clay soils. Most trees more tolerant to clay soils that retain water while limestone soils are more permeable, dry and hot. In contrast, a young tree grows more easily in a calcareous soil, soft, than in a compact clay soil, because in the latter case, the roots penetrate less easily.

To this we must add the environment exposed to sun or shade, and the adaptation to the altitude or sea air. This file lists the species as a function of the Environment.

The growth and the form of trees

If I plant a tree (usually it is in its fourth year), I want to see it grow before my eyes, so that it reaches several meters high at its tenth year. According to its form , its spread will be reduced (columnar) or wide (spreading or weeping). The optimal size and form depend on environment : a city garden (less than 1000m ²) does not bear bulky species such as oaks or chestnut. We prefer slow growing species.

Of course tree growth depends on the environment (climate, exposure, wind, soil), but in general, the following growth is observed in tempered climate :
table of tree growth.

Flowers and Fruit

The flowers appear from March, in tempered climate, despite the risk of frost. But throughout the year, the flowers of different species will hatch in immutable order. Any interest for a gardener is to take advantage of this spread over time to punctuate the garden with touches of color all year through : we will combine trees and shrubs that bloom one after the other, for example forthysias (in yellow flowers in March), mimosas if the climate is adapted (Riviera), prunus (plum) blossoming in late March, magnolias (flowers in early April), cherry (bright white flowers in April ), lilacs (fragrant late April), laburnum (drooping clusters of beautiful flowers Papilionaceae in May, however, be aware of poisonous fruit), and so on ... why not an Albizia, wearing feathery flowers in summer. We also combine the colors and flower shapes. Do not neglect the Salicaceae, which flourish in the form of catkins before the spring and the leaves appear, because they rely on wind for pollination. Like evergreens, they disperse their pollen in thousands of yellow particles, rather strange (especially on cars!) : timing of flowers

Recognize leaves

This section offers to recognize leaves with images of actual leaves, picked from March 2000 to late 2001, mostly in the Paris region. Rather than detailing scientific-empirical criteria of recognition (I limited to a few words explained in the glossary), I invite you to scroll through the images and find the approaching leave you want to identify. But to accelerate research, I have reported separately leaves large (length> 30 cm, including petiole), also leaves of color special . Make a special search using the engine which operates the database. You must specify if your leave is:

Fall Foliage

The fall foliage is one that most attracts the eye: simple cherry trees turn to flamboyant yellow, ephemeral, while maples and American liquidambars remember their origins across the Atlantic and become covered with red shimmer.

Utility and utilization of trees

the trees are useful in many ways, for construction, for medicine, for the traditional occupations, in planning, and more generally for their contribution to the balance of ecosystems. You will better protect trees if you know and appreciate them, every day, in town, in forests, parks or in your garden.
To go ahead : use of trees


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