Trees come in many different shapes and sizes. Some grow large and can be used to build massive wooden structures that could potentially be used for reclaimed wood. Some trees are not large enough or are more decorative. Each of the trees have value and some have enough value to be named an official state tree.
The variety of trees is tremendous illustrating the diversity of wood in this nation. Some are more commonly picked than others and it is with good reason. Most official trees were picked from 1910 to 1950 but some are newcomers to the block like North Dakota which chose its official tree in 2007 and Utah which chose its official tree in 2014. Two states, California and Nevada, even have two official trees.
Some trees are common. Different species of pine trees have been selected by Alabama (Longleaf), Arkansas (Loblolly), Idaho (Western White), Maine (Eastern White), Michigan (Eastern White), Minnesota (Red), Montana (Ponderosa), Nevada (Great Basin Bristlecone and Pinyon), New Mexico (Piñon) and North Carolina (all species). Oak is also well represented. Not only is it the official tree of the United States but it is also the official tree of Connecticut (White), the District of Columbia (Scarlet), Georgia (Southern Live), Illinois (White), Iowa (Burr), Maryland (White) and New Jersey (Northern Red). Maple is also well represented being selected in New York (Sugar), Rhode Island (Red), Vermont (Sugar), West Virginia (Sugar) and Wisconsin (Sugar).
Some other trees are represented with multiple states. The spruce tree is claimed by Alaska (Sitka), Colorado (Colorado Blue) and South Dakota (Black Hills). The tulip tree is claimed by Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. The cottonwood can call Kansas (Eastern), Nebraska (Eastern) and Wyoming (Plains) its home. The flowering dogwood tree is cherished by Missouri and Virginia and the hemlock is claimed by Pennsylvania (Eastern) and Washington (Western). Finally the American elm tree was picked by Massachusetts and North Dakota with the Sabal palm tree (more commonly known as the Palmetto) calling Florida and South Carolina home.
Other trees are more unique when it comes to an official state tree. Arizona has chosen the Blue Palo verde tree. Delaware picked the American holly tee. Louisiana went with the Bald Cypress tree. Mississippi put its tree, the Southern Magnolia on its state quarter. Others are New Hampshire (American White Birch), Ohio (Ohio Buckeye), Oklahoma (Eastern Redbud), Oregon (Douglas-fir), Texas (Pecan) and Utah (Quaking Aspen). Hawaii, all the way in the middle of the Pacific Ocean chose the Candlenut tree.
As mentioned before California had to have two trees. It should be no surprise as both of these majestic trees call the state home. The good people of our most populous state picked the Coast Redwood and the Giant Sequoia. Guess they couldn’t pick just one!
One would think that to see all of these trees would require a great deal of travel and certainly much expense but it may be cheaper than expected. In the National Arboretum in Washington DC located off R Street and New York Avenue a visitor can find all 50 states represented (four state trees can’t grow in the climate but another specimen common to the state can be found for each) as well as the District of Columbia in the (aptly named) National Grove of State Trees. While there don’t forget to check out the old U.S. Capitol columns within sight of the grove!