In the state of Ohio, several species of trees produce white flowers during the springtime. Trees such as the apple, American plum, dogwood and northern catalpa have medium to large flowers. Others have much smaller flowers that often grow in clusters close together, such as the common hoptree, black locust, black cherry and devil’s walkingstick.
Black locust is a valuable tree that is planted to control erosion and to provide durable fence posts or poles. Black locusts can grow to 80 feet. They have gray to light black bark. The white flowers form on what botanists call a raceme, a stalk that droops down from the branches. These aromatic flowers come out in late spring in clusters, which make the tree an attractive sight. Black locust has compound leaves, with as many as 19 small, rounded leaflets on each stalk. They have a bluish-gray hue to them and are silver-gray below.
The common hoptree features small, white flowers with a tinge of green. The hoptree seldom reaches more than 25 feet in height; it has a thick crown with a round shape. The elliptical leaves come in threes and are about 2.5 to 5 inches in length, with the middle leaf typically the longest. The pleasant-smelling flowers bloom in June and grow in clusters.
The black cherry bears small, white flowers, about one-third of an inch wide, and grow in groups on 4- to 6-inch long racemes. The black cherry flowers are sweet-smelling blossoms that emerge in May in most parts of Ohio. The black cherry has scaly black bark when mature and can grow to 60 feet tall. The narrow leaves are as long as 6 inches, and are among the first leaves to emerge in the early spring. Any cherries that the birds and other wildlife fail to eat will ripen to a black color and taste bitter, although they are juicy and soft.
Few trees have a more appropriate name than the devil’s walkingstick—the sharp spines on the trunk and twigs give this tree its odd name; handling one of these trees is a potentially painful proposition. The flowers are very small and arrive in July in long clusters, as long as 18 inches. The compound leaves grow on very long stalks, with some reaching 5 feet long. A devil's walkingstick can grow to 30 feet tall.
Callery Pear (Bradford Pear)
The Callery pear is an ornamental tree native to Asia. The Bradford pear is a cultivar of this species and an excellent ornamental tree. It grows in different parts of Ohio, and in spring it produces abundant amounts of corymbs, which are flat-topped clusters of tiny white flowers, with the clusters having a diameter of 3 inches. From late April through early May, these very attractive flowers cover the trees. Despite their grand appearance, the flowers of the Callery pear are not aromatic.