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    Common Trees
Pere Marquette State Park
This guide lists some of the common trees that can be found in Pere Marquette State Park and the surrounding area. For fall foliage information check out our Leaf Peepers Home Page.

White Oak

Quercus alba
Deciduous tree
Height: 60 to 80 foot average with some up to 100 feet
Fall Colors: Red or brown

White Oaks have wide, flat leaves with alternate arrangements that are 4 to 8 inches long with 5 to 9 large rounded lobes. It produces elongated acorns that occur in pairs that occur on a single bowl-like cap. The number of fruit produced in a single season can be numerous. The White Oak changes color late in the fall and the color is long lasting. White Oaks can be distinguished from other oaks by their light gray, platy bark. White Oak is a durable wood and was used to build the famous battleship U.S.S. Constitution, which was nicknamed "Old Ironsides" because cannonballs bounced off its sides. Illinois school children voted the oak as the state tree in 1907, and in 1973 they voted the White Oak as the official state tree. White Oaks have been known to live as long as 400 years.

Sugar Maple

Acer saccharum
Deciduous tree
Height: 60 to 75 foot average with some up to 100 feet
Fall Colors: Yellow, orange, or red

Sugar Maples have wide, flat leaves with opposite arrangements and 3 to 5 simple lobes. Small paired winged fruit mature in September and October. With age the Sugar Mapleís bark becomes furrowed, with long irregular thick plates or ridges. Saccharum is the Latin name for sugar cane and maple syrup is made from the sap of this tree. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. The  pileated woodpecker and screech owl may make their nests in maples.
The Sugar Maple is the national tree of Canada and a stylized version of its leaf is the central feature of the Canadian flag.

Shagbark Hickory

Carya ovata
Deciduous tree
Height: 70 to 80 feet
Fall color: Yellow

Shagbark Hickory has wide, flat compound leaves with opposite arrangements leaves with 5 leaflets that are commonly 8 to14 inches long. The bark on younger trees is smooth and gray while older trees have bark that breaks into long peeling strips of bark, giving the trunk a shaggy appearance. The wood is heavy, hard, and strong, and used for tool handles and to give a smoked flavor to meats. Hickory wood has the highest heat value of any wood, making it an excellent source of fuel. Its nuts are nearly round, ranging in size from 1 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter with a thick husk that splits into 4 pieces when ripe. The nuts are eaten by both man and wildlife. Native Americans crushed the kernel, using the oil for cooking and the resulting flour for bread.

Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida
Deciduous tree/shrub
Height: 20 to 25 feet
Fall Color: Dark red

Flowering Dogwoods have wide flat leaves with opposite arrangements. It has biscuit shaped flower buds and its true flowers are greenish yellow which are subtended by showy white or pink bracts which are commonly thought of as the trees flowers. The Flowering dogwood has small glossy red fruit in the fall that come in clusters of three or more.

Northern Red Oak

Quercus rubra
Deciduous tree
Height: 60 to 75 feet
Fall Color: Dark Red

The Northern Red Oak usually has massive branches which tend to branch close to the ground. It has wide flat leaves with opposite arrangements with 7 to 11 lobes which can be wedge shaped or rounded, Its acorns are 2-2.5 cm long and are enclosed at the base in a flat, thick, saucer-like cup. In the spring its new leaves are red.

White Ash

Fraxinus americana
Deciduous tree
Fall Colors: Yellow, bronze and plum


Cercis canadensis
Deciduous tree
Fall Color: Yellow


Sassafras albidum
Deciduous tree
Height: 30 to 60 feet
Fall Colors: Yellow, orange or red

Sassafras has an irregular shape especially when it is young. It may become flat-topped and broad at maturity, and may and form thickets. Sassafras have wide, flat leaves with alternate arrangements that are 3 to 7 inches long. Its yellow flowers develop before its leaves in the spring and it has a dark blue fruit that ripens in the fall and is eaten by birds. The name probably is an adaptation of a Native American name; albidum and the bark of the roots is used to make sassafras tea and to flavor root beer.

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