Trees

gray birch branch

CONIFEROUS TREES:

Conifers are also known as evergreeens, needle-leafed trees, or softwoods. Mature coniferous trees generally have a straight central trunk with short branches which spread to form a conical or columnar crown. The leaves are either very narrow compared to their length (needle-like), or small and scale like, with straight veins unconnected by cross veins. All conifers with the exception of larch, keep their green colour over winter and leaves are retained for two or more years.

DECIDUOUS TREES:

Deciduous trees are also known as broad-leafed trees or as hardwoods. The form of deciduous trees varies, but the commonest has a broad rounded crown with branches often as long or longer than the short tapered trunk. The leaves are broad compared to their length, and are retained on the tree for only one season before being shed each fall.

The Acadian Forest

Prince Edward Island’s forests belong to the Acadian Forest Region classification. It is also sometimes refered to as the Atlantic Maritime region. At present however, very little of this original forest remains.

In 1806, John Stewart wrote an excellent description of Forest Trees and Other Vegetable Productions on Prince Edward Island at that time. At one point or another in PEI’s past, most of the original Acadian forests were harvested or lost through fire. In it’s place, many abandoned agricultural lands have grown up with what’s termed “old field” white spruce.

At the Macphail Woods, we are trying to return this abandoned farmland into restored acadian forests through sound ecological forestry practices. The following is an almost complete list of the native trees that may be seen on PEI, as well as along the Macphail trails.

Native Trees of Prince Edward Island


Conifers

  • White Spruce – S5 (Abundant)
  • Red Spruce – S5 (Abundant)
  • Black Spruce – S5 (Abundant)
  • White Pine – S5 (Abundant)
  • Red Pine – S2 (Rare)
  • Jack’s Pine – S3 (Uncommon)
  • Eastern White Cedar – S3S4 (Uncommon – Fairly Common)
  • Eastern Larch – S5 (Abundant)
  • Eastern Hemlock – S3S4 (Uncommon – Fairly Common)
  • Balsam Fir – S5 (Abundant)



Deciduous

  • Red Maple – S5 (Abundant)
  • Striped Maple – S5 (Abundant)
  • Sugar Maple – S5 (Abundant)
  • Mountain Maple – S5 (Abundant)
  • Red Oak – S4 (Fairly Common)
  • American Elm – S3 (Uncommon)
  • Trembling Aspen – S5 (Abundant)
  • Large-tooth Aspen – S5 (Abundant)
  • American Beech – S5 (Abundant)
  • Grey Birch – S5 (Abundant)
  • White Birch – S5 (Abundant)
  • Yellow Birch – S5 (Abundant)
  • Ironwood – S1 (Extremely Rare)
  • Black Ash – S2 (Rare)
  • White Ash – S4 (Fairly Common)



The Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (ACCDC) in Sackville, N.B. has been a great asset for determining what is a native plant and its rarity.  They have a ranking system for plants found in each individual province (S1 to S5).  Some of the species which we will be planting, such as white spruce, wild raisin and red osier dogwood, have a ranking of S5 – “widespread, abundant, and secure under present conditions”.  Though common, these are still very useful plants and can be planted in a wide variety of open sites, such as in the school plantings where there is full sun.

The ACCDC rankings for rare plants are:

  • S1 – Extremely rare: May be especially vulnerable to extirpation (typically 5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals)
  • S2 – Rare: May be vulnerable to extirpation due to rarity or other factors (6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals).
  • S3 – Uncommon: or found only in a restricted range, even if abundant at some locations (21-100 occurrences).
  • S4 – Usually widespread, Fairly Common: and apparently secure with many occurrences, but of longer-term concern (e.g., watch list)(100+ occurrences).
  • S5 – Abundant: widespread and secure, under present conditions.
  • SU – Unrankable: Possibly in peril, but status is uncertain – need more information.

Over the past few years we have made great progress in increasing our numbers and varieties of rarer Island plants that can be used in a variety of landscape and restoration projects.  The witch hazel we have been planting out is one of our rarest native shrubs and listed as an S1.  It has been producing seed starting at about three years old.  Hobblebush is one of our showiest plants throughout the year, although these shrubs are so rare that few Islanders have had the chance to see them.


As you scroll through our guides, you’ll notice some guides have more information or better photos than others. We are always looking to increase the quality and accessibility of our nature guides.

If you are interested in helping us improve these guides, whether through photos, research, writing or website development, then please contact us via phone: (902) 651-2575 or email: danielmcrae@macphailwoods.org

Upcoming Events

Apr
29
Sat
7:30 pm Owl Prowl 2017 #3
Owl Prowl 2017 #3
Apr 29 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Owl Prowl 2017 #3 @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Come celebrate the wonderful world of owls at one of three Owl Prowls at the Macphail Homestead in Orwell on April 21, 22 and 29. The Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation will open up the Great
May
6
Sat
10:00 am Landscaping with Native Plants
Landscaping with Native Plants
May 6 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Landscaping with Native Plants @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
The use of native plants to improve wildlife habitat, beautify yards and reduce the size of lawns is attracting a lot of attention these days. A wide variety of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns
May
13
Sat
8:00 am Birds 8 am and Breakfast 7 am
Birds 8 am and Breakfast 7 am
May 13 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Birds 8 am and Breakfast 7 am @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Island woodlands are alive with birds and their songs. While year-round avian residents such as barred owls and juncos are already sitting on their nests, many migrants have just now returned and are singing up