The White Pine was given the official title of Michigan State’s Tree on March 4, 1955. Also known as a soft pine, they were referred to the “Tree of Peace” by Iroquois and Ojibway, Zhingwaak. Most often planted for timber production, borders and wildlife habitat.
The White Cedar is a medium-sized conifer. It was given the name Nokomis Giizhig by the Ojibwa, meaning Grandmother Cedar and was often the subject of scared legends. The Witch Tree, which still stands today, is growing out of a cliff face on Lake Superior in Minnesota. This was first described by a French explorer in 1731.
The Red Pine is also called the Norway Pine. The bark is reddish brown while the wood has a pale red pigment. The dark green needles are soft and flexible. When bent sharply they snap or break cleanly rather than just folding over as needles of other pines. They are unable to tolerate urban conditions or shading by other tree species.
Eastern Red cedar is an evergreen tree that is often seen as a shrub. Eastern Red cedars grow in fields, on roadsides, and in woods as an understory tree. They are often pioneers, meaning one of the first trees to take over a field. The bark of these trees is reddish-brown, and peeling off in shreds. Eastern Red cedars have two types of flowers which bloom in the spring. Male flowers are yellowish-brown and female are light bluish-green. It is a tree of reddish wood giving off the scent of cedar chests.
The Norway Spruce is the major tree in the Black Forest of Germany. As the fastest growing spruce, it has seen over 6 ft of growth in one year, given perfect weather and very little competition. This spruce is not a tree for a small yard.
The Fir was the first Christmas tree because its great height was thought to bring clear vision in the face of New Year. A broad, full shape, this tree will grow in all the U.S. except the deep south. The Douglas Fir is a very straight evergreen with upward growing branches that can become slightly droopy with age.
The Blue Spruce is also sometimes called the Colorado Blue Spruce. The Navajo and Keres Native Americans presented gifts of twigs to bring good fortune. The foliage has the ability to withstand temperature extremes. The tree forms a pyramid shape with branches growing horizontally to the ground. The botanical name pungens refers to the sharply pointed needles.
The American Tamarack is a very hardy tree and the only native Larch in Michigan (also known as Tamarack). The bluish-green needles turn yellow and drop off in autumn, leaving the tree bare for winter. In spring, soft new growth emerges and the cycle starts over once again.