In 2010 The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden funded the acquisition of 145 trees of 6 species that were planted by the Garden staff in selected areas of the lowland hardwood forest in the Woodland Garden. All of these species were present on Martha Crone's 1951 Garden Census and all were present prior to this planting. Total cost was $3,046.
Garden Curator Susan Wilkins commented on the project by saying: "The addition of these majestic trees will greatly enhance the ecological integrity and the beauty of the hardwood forest area for decades, if not centuries, to come."
Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides). A member of the Willow family. 25 planted. It forms a large tree with a massive trunk, often forked. The crown is broad with slightly drooping branches. The bark is smooth while young but becomes thick, rough and deeply furrowed when older. Leaves are triangular, long-pointed with curved coarse teeth, shiny green in summer turning golden yellow in autumn. In the spring the seed pods produce abundant cottony seeds that can fill the air like snow. Prefers the moist soils of lowlands and valleys. Native to the state and found in all but 20 counties - those widely scattered.
Silver Maple (Acer Saccharinum) In the Maple Family. 25 planted. This tree forms a short but stout trunk with a spreading, open irregular crown of long curving branches. The bark is gray and becomes furrowed into long scaly ridges. Leaves deeply 5-lobed, long pointed, with the middle lobe often divided into 3 lobes. Double sawtooth edges and 5 main veins from the base. Leaves are dull green on top and silvery-white underside (hence the common name) turning yellow in autumn. Branches however are brittle and frequently break in high winds. Native to the state and found in about 2/3rds of the counties, mostly absent in the western counties.
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Maple Family. The crown of the tree is rounded and dense - different from the silver maple. The leaves also have five long-pointed lobes but not as deeply cleft and with few narrow long-pointed teeth. It also has 5 main veins from the base. Leaves are dull green above and turning into deep red, orange or yellow in the autumn. Bark is similar to the silver maple - gray and becomes furrowed into long scaly ridges. The wood is a leading furniture wood and of course, the sap is drawn for it's sugar content. It is native to the state and like the silver maple it is found in about 2/3rds of the counties but with a slightly different distribution, this species being mostly absent in the drier southwest and western border counties. Eloise Butler planted this species in May 1909. 25 planted.
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) Walnut Family. 25 planted. This tree has a tall trunk, a broad and rounded crown. The bark is gray or light brown with shallow furrows that make narrow forking ridges. The leaves are pinnately compound with 7 to 9 leaflets that are stalkless, lance shaped and finely saw-toothed. Leaves are yellow-green above and turn yellow in the Autumn. Flower buds are bright yellow. The seed pods are nearly round with a thin husk and split along four wings that enclose the nut which is bitter and inedible - even to most animals. Native to the state, but found in only 30 counties, all in the eastern section of the state. Martha Crone planted this species in 1935 and 1936.
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) Walnut Family. 15 planted. While a large tree with a tall trunk, it has a narrow irregular crown, unlike the Bitternut Hickory. As the name implies, the bark has a distinctive rough shaggy look. Like the Bitternut Hickory, leaves are pinnately compound but with 5 to 7 leaflets that are elliptical or ovate, stalkless and with the edges finely saw-toothed and hairy. They are yellow green above and turn golden brown in the Autumn. The seed pods are nearly round with a thick husk and split to the base. They enclose the nut which is slightly flattened and edible. Commercial hickory nuts are produced from this species. Eloise Butler planted this species in the Garden in April 1911. This species is native to only 7 counties in the SE corner of the state.
Tamarack (Larix laricina) .30 planted. A conifer of Minnesota lowlands and bogs, it has the distinction of being deciduous. The new needle growth begins in early spring, forming as clusters of more than five on short shoots. The needles turn gold in the Autumn and by spring are usually dropped or blown away by winter winds. The cones are small and upright. This plant is indigenous to the Garden area. Eloise Butler catalogued it on April 29, 1907. Martha Crone planted a number of them in her first years as Curator. It is native to the state but generally absent south of the metro area and in the SW quadrant.