Authors: M. Whitson
Locality: Northern Kentucky University
This is a checklist of commonly occuring species of woody plants either native, naturalized, or cultivated in northern Kentucky. This list was generated for use by Bio 312L (Dendrology) students at Northern Kentucky University, in Highland Heights, KY.
Species: 72 (species rank)
Total Taxa: 84 (including subsp. and var.)
Viburnum sp. - viburnum
Liquidambar styraciflua - Sweet-Gum
Rhus sp. - sumac
The sumacs. Most shrubs (a few viney). Red fruit = safe to touch. White fruit = skin irritant (ex. poison sumac).
Rhus aromatica - Fragrant Sumac
Fragrant sumac. Commonly cultivated as a groundcover. Foliage with strong, somewhat unpleasant smell. Trifoliate leaves make it look rather like poison ivy, but it has red drupes instead of white.
Rhus copallina - Winged Sumac
Winged or shining sumac. Shrub. Glossy compound leaves. Rachis winged.
Rhus toxicodendron - Eastern Poison-Oak
Poison ivy. AKA Toxicodendron radicans.
Rhus typhina - Stag-Horn Sumac
Staghorn sumac. Shrub. Creamy yellow sap. All parts (including the red drupes) very fuzzy.
Ilex opaca - American Holly
Berberis thunbergii - Japanese Barberry
Mahonia aquifolium - Holly-Leaf Oregon-Grape
Betula nigra - River Birch
Catalpa sp. - catalpa
Celtis occidentalis - Common Hackberry
Lonicera japonica - Japanese Honeysuckle
Japanese honeysuckle. Highly invasive twining vine from Japan. Sweetly scented flowers.
Lonicera maackii - Amur Honeysuckle
Amur honeysuckle. Highly invasive shrub from China.
Celastrus orbiculatus - Asian Bittersweet
Chinese bittersweet. Highly invasive vine. Ornamental yellow-orange fruit split to reveal red-orange seeds.
Celastrus scandens - American Bittersweet
SEUS native species of bittersweet.
Euonymus alatus - Winged Spindletree
Burning bush. Highly invasive Asian shrub. Shocking red fall color.
Euonymus atropurpurea - Eastern Wahoo
Wahoo. Charming native woodland shrub. Pink capsules split to reveal orange seeds.
Cornus drummondii - Rough-Leaf Dogwood
Cornus florida - Flowering Dogwood
Flowering dogwood. Tree with showy white bracts around insignificant flowers. Pretty red drupes in the fall.
Cornus kousa - Kousa Dogwood
Nyssa sylvatica - Black Tupelo
Elaeagnus multiflora - Cherry Silver-Berry
Cercis canadensis - Redbud
Cladrastis lutea - Kentucky Yellow-Wood
Gleditsia triacanthos - Honey-Locust
Robinia pseudacacia - Black Locust
Fagus grandifolia - American Beech
Fagus sylvatica - European Beech
Occasionally cultivated in our area. Red-leaved (called "copper beech") and variegated-leaved cultivars are common.
Quercus acutissima - Saw-Tooth Oak
From Japan and potentially invasive.
Quercus alba - Northern White Oak
Quercus imbricaria - Shingle Oak
Quercus muehlenbergii - Chinkapin Oak
Quercus phellos - Willow Oak
Quercus robur - English Oak
Sometimes cultivated in our area. Looks much like white oak (Q. alba) but with larger acorns dangling on long (2") stems.
Quercus rubra - Northern Red Oak
Ginkgo biloba - Maidenhair-Tree
From China. Cultivated but not escaped in Kentucky.
Carya cordiformis - Bitter-Nut Hickory
Juglans nigra - Black Walnut
Lindera benzoin - Northern Spicebush
Sassafras albidum - Sassafras
Magnolia acuminata - Cucumber-Tree
Magnolia grandiflora - Southern Magnolia
The cultivated European species are often called "lindens." The dried flowers are sometimes used to make a mild tea.
Tilia americana - American Basswood
Maclura pomifera - Osage-Orange
Morus alba - White Mulberry
Morus rubra - Red Mulberry
Fraxinus americana - White Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Green Ash
Amelanchier sp. - serviceberry
Crataegus sp. - hawthorn
Malus sp. - apple
Prunus sp. - plum
Prunus serotina - Black Cherry
Pyrus calleryana - Bradford Pear
From Asia. Invasive here.
Rosa multiflora - Rambler Rose
From Asia. Invasive here.
Rosa setigera - Climbing Rose
Rubus sp. - blackberry
Populus deltoides - Eastern Cottonwood
Salix sp. - willow
Acer campestre - Hedge Maple
Hedge maple. Cultivated; often pruned as a hedge. Milky sap. Simple leaves.
Paperbark maple. Cultivated at NKU. Glossy, peeling bark, compound leaves. From China. Seeds typically sterile.
Acer negundo - Ash-Leaf Maple
Box elder. Its green twigs are unusual for a maple.
Acer palmatum - Japanese Maple
Japanese red maple. Commonly cultivated. Relatively small trees. From Japan. The leaves often have 9 lobes, which is more than our other maples have.
Acer platanoides - Norway Maple
Norway maple. Looks like a sugar maple on steroids, but with milky sap. The large leaves often have very long petioles.
Acer rubrum - Red Maple
Acer saccharinum - Silver Maple
Acer saccharum - Sugar Maple
Sugar maple. Most common maple in northern Kentucky.
Aesculus parviflora - Bottlebrush Buckeye
Koelreuteria paniculata - Golden Rain-Tree
Buddleja sp. - butterflybush
Ailanthus altissima - Tree-of-Heaven
Sun-warmed trees have a fragrance rather like rancid peanut-butter. The large, pinnately compound leaves have gland-tipped teeth.
Ulmus americana - American Elm
Ulmus parvifolia - Chinese Elm
Ulmus rubra - Slippery Elm
Zelkova serrata - Japanese-Elm
Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia-Creeper
Parthenocissus tricuspidata - Boston Ivy
Vitis sp. - grape