Virginia is a state covered with mountains and forests and is home to many varieties of native trees. Although there are countless species located throughout Virginia used as lawn ornamentals and shade trees, there are some species that are native to the state found in both residential and uninhabited forest areas. There are many examples available, but there are a few very common or unique to the region.
One of the most common trees associated with Virginia is the appropriately named Virginia pine. This evergreen can be found all around the state in well drained soils. It is identifiable by its tall trunk, up to 80 feet in height, and its horizontal, drooping branches that form a flat canopy at the crown of the tree.
The pine needles of the Virginia pine are thick, twisted and yellow to green in color. They grow from 1 1/2 to 3 inches long and accompany yellow cylindrical flowers at the ends of the tree’s branches. The Virginia pine also produces a dark red, egg-shaped cone around 2 inches long.
The red spruce is a massive evergreen that reaches heights of up to 80 feet and grows a trunk two feet in diameter. It is a native to Virginia and found primarily in the western parts of the state at elevations above 4,000 feet. It prefers moist, rocky soil and is most easily recognized by its dark brown or gray bark that reveals a reddish color from an under layer between the broken pattern.
The red spruce has tiny needles that only reach about 1/2 inch that are yellow to green in color. The cone is around 2 inches long and is reddish brown, shiny and smoother than many other species’ cones. The red spruce is often used as a boat building material or to construct fine instruments because of its elasticity.
The Baldcyress is a native Virginia tree than only grows in the eastern part of the state in the floodplains and wet bottomlands near the ocean. This species prefers wet soil such as the ones found in the Virginia swamps or in areas that remain flooded for long periods of time. The tree has an unusual root system than forms “knees” that rise above the soil or water surface and give it a unique appearance.
This giant trees often grow to more than 120 feet in height and may live for more than 1,000 years, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry website. The tree features very short needles and small rounded cones. The needles of the tree shed in the fall along with the leaves.
The eastern redcedar is a tree found in various soil types all across Virginia. This medium-sized cedar tree is compact and columnar with short, slender branches. It has light red fibrous bark and produces scaly, green twigs that take several years to turn brown.
The eastern redcedar is especially fragrant in both the foliage and the wood. The red heartwood is often used for posts, furniture building and chests because of its natural beauty, resistance to decay, fragrance and its insect repellent qualities.