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

Jul
3
Mon
9:00 am Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Jul 3 @ 9:00 am – Jul 7 @ 3:00 pm
This camp builds on the camper’s ability to encounter and describe the natural world. They will use journals, collecting equipment, and take part in many fun activities that will expand their understanding of how to
Jul
10
Mon
9:00 am Young Ecologists Week 1
Young Ecologists Week 1
Jul 10 @ 9:00 am – Jul 14 @ 3:00 pm
This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and develop their understanding of
Jul
15
Sat
2:00 pm Forest Restoration Workshop
Forest Restoration Workshop
Jul 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Forest Restoration Workshop @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
The Forest Restoration workshop offers alternatives to clear-cuts and plantations, and other ideas on how to improve the health of Island forests. It starts with a presentation in the Nature Centre and then participants will