Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Saturday - November 06, 2010

From: Patchogue, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees native to Long Island, NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

My question is: What are the main trees that were native to Long Island before all other trees began to be brought into Long Island?

ANSWER:

I'm sure you have heard the saying, "Give a man a fish, you'll feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you'll feed him for a lifetime".

I can't give you a list of trees to answer your question, but I can help you find the answer yourself. There are a few different sources for you to check.

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we define "native plants" as those that grow in a particular place without being introduce by man.  As you can imagine, at times it is hard to determine at the edge of a range whether a plant is occuring there as a result of nature or man.

If you visit our Native Plant Database and perform a Combination Search for "New York" selecting "trees" as the habit, it will generate a list of 180 trees that are considered native to New York.  Each plant name on the list is linked to a detailed information page about that plant. Most have a number of images of the plants as well.

Using the first plant on the list,  Abies balsamea (Balsam fir), you will notice the USDA symbol on the plant information page just under the plant names.  It is linked to the USDA database page for that plant. On that page you will find a map of North America and more information about the plant. To the left of the image is a notation titled Native Status.  In this case it says L48 (lower 48 states of the US), CAN (Canada) and SMP (St Pierre et Miquelon ... islands in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River that are still part of France).  The map of North America shows (in green) the states and provinces where the plant is present.

If you click on your state, it will show a county distribution map. From that map, you will have to draw your own conclusions as to whether or not a tree is present and native or present and introduced.

You can also perform a search on the USDA database website.  You will find the search feature at the top of the grey sidebar on the left of the homepage.  You will want to perform an Advanced Search selecting your county (New York: Suffolk?) under 1. Distribution and "tree" for growth habit and "L48 Native" for Native Status under 3. Ecology.  You can compare their list with ours.

I would also recommend contacting your County Agricultural Extension Office to see if they can offer advice and have included a couple of books in our Bibliography that might be helpful.

 

More Trees Questions

Need suggestions for trees with non-invasive root system in Paramus, NJ.
August 23, 2011 - What trees can I plant in New Jersey with non invasive root systems? We lost our tree to a storm and are looking for a viable replacement.
view the full question and answer

Are blue spruce (Picea pungens) poisonous?
May 30, 2009 - Are blue spruce trees poisonous at all? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree or shrub in Massachusetts
May 16, 2013 - Good morning, We are in Zone 5 and have a tree/shrub I cannot identify in the backyard of our new home. Tall (6')and growing, green stems,and when the stems are broken the branches smell of lemon o...
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.