Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

How to Use this Site
This website is the result of my own explorations and learning about trees & shrubs in Ontario. I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented on this site. If you find an error or wish to suggest changes, please email me!

This site focuses on trees and shrubs in Ontario (Canada). If you are not from Ontario, don't go away! Many or most of the species featured here occur elsewhere in North America, and many occur elsewhere in the world.

It is my hope that this site will aid both the novice in learning to identify trees and shrubs, and as well provide a source of information for naturalists, scientists, landscape restorationists and others. The emphasis of this site is on visual recognition; hence it is heavy on photographs. Most of the photographs on this site are my own. If you wish to use any of them, please read this page.

This site is a growing and changing entity, with new material being added all the time - but I almost never remove anything. Corrections and additional information are welcomed at any time. Help me to maintain this as a valuable and accurate site for everyone to utilise - email me with suggested changes and corrections.

Each species of tree and shrub in Ontario is featured on its own page. All of the "species pages" have the same format, as follows. There are two main sections on a species page. The top section contains factual information about the species. The lower section contains photographs of various aspects of the species, along with descriptive comments and additional information.

For an overview of classifying trees and shrubs in Ontario for the purpose of identifying them, click here. Some valuable tips are included in notes I made while on tree & shrub ID walks with others - click here.

The top part of a species page contains the following information:

  • Page Heading: The page title has the Common Name I have chosen to use for this species on this site. The common name used for a species on this site is not the "right" or "correct" common name - it's simply the one I have chosen to use to refer to it. You may know this species by a different Common Name.
    The page title also has the Latin Name for the species. For the Latin Name, I have tried to use the one that is in current use in Ontario for that species.
  • Other common names: This lists various alternate Common Names for the species. I have included every Common Name that I know of. All of these Common Names are included in the " Common Names" list.
  • Other Latin names: This lists various alternate Latin Names for the species. I have included every Latin Name that I know of. All of these Latin Names are included in the " Latin Names" list.
  • French Name: I have listed the usual French Name for the species. At present there is no list of French Names of all the species on this site.
  • Family: This is the Family of species to which this species belongs. Both the common and Latin names are shown. There is a list of Families here.
  • Distinctive features: This is a quick summary of distinctive features that are a quick aid in identifying this species, that help to tell it apart from similar species.
  • Similar species: This is a list of species which may appear to be similar. Please note that a species may be listed here if it is closely similar or just vaguely similar. If you are more expert in tree/shrub identification, then you may wonder why certain species are listed here. Please bear in mind that one of the goals of this website is to make tree and shrub identification accessible to novices. Thus I have listed similar species that may possibly be confused with the species featured on the page.
    "Similar species" does not necessarily mean that the species are related, just that they are somewhat similar in appearance or name.
  • Leaves: a description of the leaves. For a list of species on this site grouped by leaf type, click here.
  • Trunk and bark: A description of the trunk and bark of this species. For some subshrubs, this may not be very useful information.
  • Height: An indication of the usual height of this species. For vines this is the usual length.
  • Flowers: A description of the flowers of this species, and when they bloom.
  • Fruit/Seeds: A description of the fruit and/or seeds of the species, and when these form and ripen. Also sometimes an indication of whether they are edible (but see below).
  • Habitat: A description of where this species usually grows. For a list of species on this site grouped by Habitat, click here.
  • Edible/Medicinal/Poisonous/Uses: A brief description of the edible and medicinal uses of the species if applicable, a brief description of its poisonous properties if applicable, and other uses of the species.
  • Trees in Canada (Farrar) page: The page number in this book where this species appears. This is the main reference book for trees in Canada (see the Booklist).
  • Shrubs of Ontario (Soper) page: The page number in this book where this species appears. This book is the main reference book for shrubs in Ontario (see the Booklist).
  • Newcombe page: The page number in this book where this species appears. This is the main field guide for wildflowers in eastern North America. Although it is about wildflowers, many species of shrubs are included (see the Booklist).
  • Tree or Shrub: An indication of whether this species is a tree, shrub, subshrub, or vine.
  • Native or Alien: An indication of whether this species is usually considered to be native or non-native (alien) to Ontario.
  • Status: An indication of how common or rare this species is in Ontario.
  • Notes: Other notes about this species. Also links to other pages on this site about this species.

After this top section there is a section with numerous photographs of the plant's trunk, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds, and more. These are selected to aid you in identifying the species.