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The Broadleaf Families of Trees in the Sierra Nevada

The Broadleaf Families of Trees in the Sierra Nevada
by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

What native broadleaf trees can you find in the Sierra Nevada? Check out the data from the classic book by the Petersons on broadleaf families of the Sierra Nevada in the Petersons' Native Trees of the Sierra Nevada.

You can see the following families of broadleaf trees in the Sierra.

Agave Family (Agavaceae).

  1. Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia).
  2. Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera).

Beech Family (Fagaceae).

Sierra Genera are in the Chinquapin genus (Castanopsis), specifically:

  1. Golden (or Giant) Chinquapin (C. chrysophylla).

or in the Oak genus (Quercus):

  1. Blue Oak (Q. douglasii) -- deciduous.
  2. California Black Oak (Q. kelloggii) -- deciduous.
  3. Canyon Live Oak (Q. chrysolepis) -- evergreen.
  4. Interior Live Oak (Q. wislizenii) -- evergreen.
  5. Oracle Oak (Q. morehus) -- evergreen.
  6. Valley Oak (Q. lobata) -- deciduous.

or in the Tanbark Oak genus (Lithocarpus):

  1. Tanbark Oak (L. densiflora).

Birch Family (Betulaceae).

Sierra Genera are in the Birch genus (Betula), specifically:

  1. Water Birch (B. occidentalis).

or are in the Alder genus (Alnus):

  1. Mountain Alder (A. tenuifolia).
  2. White Alder (A. rhombifolia).

Buckeye Family (Hippocastanaceae).

The only native member found in the Sierra Nevada is the California Buckeye (Aesculus californica), also called horse chestnut.

Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae).

The only native member found in the Sierra Nevada is the Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana).

Cacao Family (Sterculiaceae).

The only native member found in the Sierra Nevada is the California Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californica), also called slippery elm.

Dogwood Family (Cornaceae).

This family contains:

  1. Miners Dogwood (Cornus sessilis).
  2. Mountain Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii).

Heath Family (Ericaceae).

This family contains:

  1. Madrone (Arbutus menziesii).
  2. Parry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita).

Honeysuckle Family (Capriofoliaceae).

The only native member found in the Sierra Nevada is the Blue Elderberry (Sambucus caerulea).

Laurel Family (Lauraceae).

The only native laurel found in the Sierra Nevada is the California Laurel (Umbellularia californica), also called California Bay, Bay Laurel, Pepperwood, or Oregon Myrtle.

Maple Family (Aceraceae).

Maples found in the Sierra Nevada are:

  1. Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum).
  2. Box Elder (Acer negundo).
  3. Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum).

Olive Family (Oleaceae).

The tree-sized natives of this family are in the Ash (Fraxinus) genus:

  1. Arizona Ash (F. velutina).
  2. Dwarf Ash (F. anomala).
  3. Flowering Ash (F. dipetala).
  4. Oregon Ash (F. latifolia).

Pea Family (Leguminoseae).

The only native member found in the Sierra Nevada is the Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis).

Rose Family (Rosaceae).

The tree-sized natives of this family are the Mountain-mahoganies in the genus Cercocarpus:

  1. Birch-leaf Mountain-mahogany (C. betuloides).
  2. Curl-leaf Mountain-mahogany (C. ledifolius).
and, in the genus Prunus:
  1. Bitter Cherry (P. emarginata).
  2. Sierra Plum (P. subcordata).
  3. Western Choke Cherry (P. virginiana).
and, in the genus Heteromeles:
  1. Toyon (H. arbutifolia).

Sycamore Family (Platanaceae).

The only native sycamore found in the Sierra Nevada is the Western Sycamore (Platanus racemosa), also called the Plane Tree.

Walnut Family (Juglandaceae).

A single tree-sized native species in this family is the Hinds Black Walnut (Juglans hindsii), found at lower elevations.

Willow Family (Salicaceae).

Members of this family produce catkin flowers (spike-like), both male and female. The flowers that produce seeds are on separate trees from the flowers that produce pollen. Willows are hardy and grow quickly. They are common near streams and other moist places.

The poplars (Populus), excluding introduced species:

  1. Aspen (or Quaking Aspen) (P. tremuloides).
  2. Black Cottonwood (P. trichocarpa).
  3. Fremont Cottonwood (P. fremontii).
  4. Narrowleaf Cottonwood (P. angustifolia).

The willows (Salix), excluding the shrubbier species:

  1. Arroyo Willow (S. lasiolepsis).
  2. Black Willow (S. gooddingii).
  3. Dusky Willow (S. melanopsis).
  4. Mackenzie Willow (S. mackenziana).
  5. Nuttall Willow (S. scouleriana).
  6. Red Willow (S. laevigata).
  7. Sandbar Willow (S. hindsiana).
  8. Yellow Willow (S. lasiandra).

For More Information.

Resources - Book.

Resources - Related pages.