Trees not easily available for purchase

The Ministry of Natural Resources encourages you to plant native trees. It’s alright to plant trees in this section, but it may be very difficult to find them in many commercial nurseries.

Swamp White Oak

Quercus bicolor


The swamp white oak is found in southern Ontario. It’s a rare tree and is uncommon in the rest of Canada.


It grows to be about 22 metres tall, with a trunk that’s 90 centimetres in diameter.   The leaves of the swamp white oak are 12 to 17 centimetres long and are wedge-shaped.  They are shiny green on top and pale greyish-green underneath.


The swamp white oak’s acorns are 2 to 3 centimetres long and grow on stems that can be up to 10 centimetres long.  The cup of the acorn is covered in scales.


As its name suggests, the swamp white oak grows in damp soil and along the edges of swamps.


Black Maple

Acer nigrum


The black maple is found across southern Ontario.  It is similar to the sugar maple, but prefers wet soil and floodplains.   It can grow to be 35 metres tall with a trunk that’s 90 centimetres in diameter. 


Its leaves are 8 to 20 centimetres long and have three lobes.  They are dark green on top and yellowish-green underneath.  They turn brownish-yellow in the fall, unlike the sugar maple’s leaves which turn brilliant red. 



Chinquapin Oak

Quercus muehlenbergii


The chinquapin oak is rare in Ontario – it’s only found in the south-west of the province and near the Thousand Islands.


It’s a medium sized tree that can grow to be 30 metres tall with a trunk that’s 60 centimetres in diameter.  It can grow in dry, rocky, and sandy soil.


Its leaves are 10 to 18 centimetres long and have a toothed edge.  They are shiny green on top and greyish green underneath.  The chinquapin’s acorns are 12 to 35 millimetres long and are half-covered by a scaly cup. 

American Basswood

Tilia americana


The basswood is a large tree that can grow to be more than 35 metres tall.  It is found in central and southern Ontario and can live for more than 200 years.


In July, yellow flowers that are about 1 centimetre wide bloom on the basswood tree.  It also produces little berries that are 8 to 12 millimetres wide and grow in bunches.  The basswood’s seeds are contained in the berries, and are spread by wind and animals.


Its leaves are heart-shaped and are 12 to 15 centimetres long and have sharp teeth along the edge.  They are dull green on top and lighter underneath.

Common Hackberry

Celtis occidentalis


The hackberry is a smaller tree, growing up to 15 metres tall.  Its purplish-red berries are edible, and are 6 to 8 millimetres across.


It’s uncommon in Ontario, but can be found along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and farther north along the St Lawrence. 


Its pointed leaves are 6 to 9 centimetres long and are a deep bluish-green.  They turn yellow in the fall.  The hackberry’s bark is ridged and grey or light yellowish-brown.



Ostrya virginiana


The ironwood is found in central and southern Ontario.  It has very hard wood which is used to make tool handles.


It can grow to be up to 15 metres tall with bark that is greyish-brown that separates into strips that peel away from the tree.  Its leaves are 7 to 12 centimetres long and are oval shaped with a pointed end.  They are a dark yellowish-green, turning dull yellow in the fall.


The ironwood’s seeds grow inside bunches of thin, papery pods that fall from the tree during the winter.  



Sassafras albidum


The sassafras is rare in Ontario – it can be found in the south of the province.  It grows to be about 20 metres tall, but is smaller and like a shrub, if it’s in a dry and sandy spot. 


Its 10 to 15 centimetre-long leaves are special, because they grow in three different shapes – oval with no lobe, one lobe, or two lobes.  They are dark green, and turn yellow or red in the fall.  When the leaves are crushed, they smell like cinnamon.


Bark on the sassafras is dark brown with deep grooves.  In the spring, small yellow flowers grow on the tree.  Later in the summer, it produces 10 to 15 millimetre-long dark blue berries with a big seed inside.



Ohio Buckeye

Aesculus glabra


The Ohio buckeye is native to the United States but can be found in southwestern Ontario.  It’s a smaller tree that grows to be about 15 metres tall. 


Its bark is grey but turns dark brown as the tree gets older.  Its oval, pointed leaves are 6 to 15 centimetres and grow in a star shape on a central stalk and are yellowish-green.  They turn yellow or orange in the fall.


The Ohio buckeye’s leaves, twigs and bark smell bad when they are broken or crushed.



Photography: Daniel Tigner, Canadian Forest Tree Essences