30 Types of Trees Native to Georgia (Common & Rare Species)

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Written By Thomas Pitto

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Home » Georgia » 30 Types of Trees Native to Georgia (Common & Rare Species)

Georgia is a biologically diverse state, with many different species of flora inhabiting the coastal plains in the south to the mountains in the north.

Native trees are those that are naturally adapted to the region’s soil, climate, and rainfall patterns.

The high mountain ridges of the North and the flatlands and swamps of South Georgia close to the Atlantic mean that Georgia’s hardiness zone stretches from zone 6a in the north to 9a in the south.

The wealth of native trees reflect the vast differences in landscape and temperature fluctuations.

30 Stunning Trees Native to Georgia

1. Hazel Alder (Alnus serrulata)

Hazel Alder
Image by Fritz Flohr Reynolds via Flickr

The Hazel Alder is a small tree or large, multi-stemmed, thicket-forming shrub. It’s most commonly seen as multi-trunked specimen with a densely packed, spreading crown.

It’s found in boggy grounds close to rivers, streams, lakes, springs, and wet meadows. The trunks are smooth and gray with barely noticeable pores.

The flowers are monoecious, with separate male and female flowers on the same tree, and appear in March/early April before the leaves emerge. The male catkins are brownish/yellow, slender and droop in clusters of 2-5 near the branch tips and are 2-4” long.

The female catkins are bright red upright cylinders ¼” long, located on twig tips in clusters of 2-5. 1” long fruiting cones contain winged nutlets which mature to dark brown in the fall and persist into the winter. They are enjoyed by many species of birds.

The leaves are obovate/ broad elliptic and dark green in color, with serrulate margins and a pointed tip. The Hazel Alder fixes nitrogen into the soil through its root nodules.

Other Common Names: Common Alder, Tag Alder, Hazel Alder

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall and 12-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: March/ early April

2. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Bald cypress
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Bald Cypress is the classic cypress tree of the southern swamps, where it can be seen exhibiting the curious behavior or raising knobbled ‘knees,’ from its roots.

Whilst no one knows exactly why it does this, one theory is that it is to gather oxygen. Whatever the reason, these cypress trees out-competes all other trees in the area. The Bald Cypress grows in a pyramidal shape.

The Bald Cypress is a deciduous conifer, with short needles arranged in pairs on slender branches. In spring they are yellow/green, soft green in the summer, and orange/reddish/brown in the fall.

The cones are small and globular, about 1” in diameter, and contain triangular seeds that entices wildlife.

The Bald Cypress can adapt to wet or dry conditions and can withstand flooding.

Other Common Names: White Cypress, Bald Cypress, Gulf Cypress, Red Cypress, Tidewater Red Cypress

Growing Zones: 4-10

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 20-25 ft wide

Flowering Season: April

3. Florida Maple (Acer floridanum)

Florida Maple Tree Identification
Images by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

The Florida Maple is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree with a medium to oval-sized crown. The leaves are simple, opposite, and palmate, with slightly rounded lobes, 2-4” long.

The leaves are dark green above and slightly paler on the underside in the summer, changing to hues of orange, red, and yellow in the fall. Spring sees greenish/yellow flowers on hanging clusters that appear either before or with the leaves. These are followed by two-winged samaras.

The bark is light gray and irregular, providing some winter interest with its thick curling ridges. The Florida Maple has a greater tolerance to heat than the Sugar Maple.

This type of maple tree can can function either as a shade or specimen tree in GA. As the flowers bloom early, they are an important nectar source for local pollinators. The Florida Maple grows best in moist, well-drained, acidic soils and is drought tolerant once established.

Other Common Names: Southern Sugar Maple, Caddo Maple, Rock Maple

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-60 ft tall and 25-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: January – March

4. Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

Northern catalpa
Image by Michael Gras, M.Ed. via Flickr

The Northern Catalpa features a narrow oval crown and wide-reaching branches covered with huge light green heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are glossy on the top and downy on the underside.

Clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers appear in late spring to early summer which are white with yellow stripes and purple speckles. They seem to perch above the leaves.

Slender green seed pods 8-20” long follow the flowers, maturing to dark brown and persist throughout the winter. The leaves turn yellow in the fall. The bark is pale gray to reddish brown, fissured, with large ridges on mature trees.

The Northern Catalpa isn’t too fussy about soil types and grows best in average, moist, well-drained soils. It prefers moist, fertile loams.

Other Common Names: Catawba, Cigar Tree, Early Flowering Catalpa, Hardy Catalpa, Indian Cigar Tree, Western Catalpa

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 20-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late spring to early summer

5. White Basswood (Tilia americana var. heterophylla)

White Basswood
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

The White Basswood is a large deciduous tree with an ovate-rounded crown and large ovate, dark green leaves. They can measure up to 6” long and turn dark-green/yellow in the fall. Creamy yellow flowers appear in the early summer on hanging cymes.

The flowers are highly attractive to bees, who make a strongly flavored and rich honey from the nectar. Hard-shelled nutlets follow the flowers and ripen in late summer.

The bark on younger trees is shiny brown/gray and matures to become scaly, ridged, and furrowed. The White Basswood makes a good shade or specimen tree in larger landscapes. Prefers moist, well-drained loams, but will tolerate clay and dry soils. Plant in full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: American Linden, American Basswood, Lime Tree, Bee Tree, American Lime Tree

Growing Zones: 2-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall and 30-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early summer

6. Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The Sweet Gum is a spectacular, large-sized deciduous tree native to Eastern North America with a straight and broadly conical crown. When young, the tree has a narrow and erect shape, which matures to a rounded shape with age.

The foliage is star-shaped, with 5-7 lobes and a dark, glossy color that turns to shades of orange, red, purple, and crimson in the late fall and are aromatic when bruised.

After the leaves have been shed, they reveal the intricate branching pattern of the Sweet Gum, and the corky wings on the twigs can be appreciated.

Mid-to-late spring sees yellow-green flowers borne on spherical clusters, which are followed by hard, grizzly gum balls 1” across. They persist throughout the winter. The Sweet Gum provides interest throughout the season and can be utilized as a specimen or shade tree in larger yards.

It prefers deep, averagely moist, well-drained acidic soil and will tolerate dry, moist, or permanently wet soils, but not alkaline ones.

Other Common Names: American Red Gum, American Sweet Gum, Bilsted, Copalm Balsam, Satin Walnut

Growing Zones: 5-10

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 ft tall and 40-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: Mid-to-late spring

7. Dahoon (Ilex cassine)

Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

If you’re looking for a moderately sized, interesting native tree for your GA home, consider the Dahoon. A member of the Holly family, it rarely exceeds 30ft in height.

When grown in pairs, of one male and female, the Dahoon produces attractive berries that adorn the tree in the fall and winter, and attract plenty of birds and mammals who feast on them.

The Dahoon is a warm climate evergreen tree native to GA, that thrives in wet soils such as swamps and wetlands. They will tolerate drier conditions once established but will remain smaller in size. They are also salt and air pollution tolerant, making them suitable for urban planting.

Other Common Names: Dahoon Holly

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 12-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

8. Spruce Pine (Pinus glabra)

Spruce Pine
Image by Amber M. King, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Spruce Pine features a rounded, oval crown adorned with dark green needles. The leaves are 1 ½ to 3” long, slender, and occur in pairs. The trunk is often bent and twisted, and mature trees can often be seen with their branches close to the ground.

The cones are 1-2” long, reddish-brown and slightly egg-shaped and glossy at maturity. The bark on young trees is smooth and dark gray, becoming darker with flat ridges on older trees.

The Spruce Pine will grow in a variety of conditions, but won’t tolerate fine soils and has low drought tolerance. Its native habitat is restricted to coastal zones with wet soil, primarily along stream banks.

Other Common Names: Cedar Pine, Walter Pine

Growing Zones: 8a-9b

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: March

9. Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum)

Winged Sumac
Image by Fritz Flohr Reynolds via Flickr

The Winged Sumac is a large deciduous shrub or small tree with a short and twisted trunk and open branching. The leaves are glossy and dark green, pinnately compound, and turn reddish-purple in the fall.

Yellowish/green flowers are followed by drooping pyramidal fruit clusters which mature to a dull shade of red and persist throughout the winter months.

The fact that the leaf axis is winged and the sap is watery can allow you to distinguish it from other sumacs. Plants are normally either male or female. In the wild, they can be found on dry hill slopes, open woods, and prairies, often in thickets.

Other Common Names: Shining Sumac, Dwarf Sumac

Growing Zones: 5-11

Average Size at Maturity: 7-15 ft tall and 6-8 ft wide

Flowering Season: July – August

10. Black Willow (Salix nigra)

Black Willow
Image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr

The Black Willow is a fast-growing tree, often with several crowns and many trunks growing out at an angle from one root.

In the wild, it can be found in wet sand along streams, lakes, and ponds. The narrow leaf blades are 5” long and taper to an elongated strip and the margins are finely serrated.

Bright green/yellow twigs bear yellow/green catkins. The flowers are small and are arranged in elongated clusters with separate flowers on male and female trees. The bark is deeply furrowed.

The Black Willow has one of the largest ranges of willows across the country. Large trees are useful in building soil banks, and reducing erosion, thus minimizing the risks of flooding. The Black Willow can be used as a shade tree and a honey plant. Grows best in clay, loam, or sand.

Other Common Names: Gulf Black Willow, Swamp Willow

Growing Zones: 2-8

Average Size at Maturity: 70-80 ft tall and 30-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: March – April

11. American Elder (Sambucus canadensis)

American Elder
Image by Tatters ✾ via Flickr

The American Elderberry is a large shrub or small tree native to North America, Venezuela, and Brazil. It can be found along streams, marshes, and wetlands.

Summer sees the appearance of small white flowers borne on dense clusters, which are followed by a purplish black drupe that is edible. Many forms of wildlife enjoy the fruit and take shelter in the branches.

American Elderberry tolerates a wide range of soil types including wet and dry but prefers rich, moist soil in full sun or partial shade. The plant spreads by root suckers if they are not removed.

Other Common Names: American Elderberry, Common Elderberry, Elderberry

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 9-12 ft tall and 6-10 ft wide.

Flowering Season: Summer

12. Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

eastern cottonwood
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

The Eastern Cottonwood features an open, rounded crown when mature, with young trees often having symmetrical, pyramidal shapes. Young trees are incredibly fast-growing.

The leaves are triangular, smooth and shiny above and smooth below with a balsam-like aroma. They are 3-5” long and broad and slightly heart-shaped, with a rounded toothed margin. The flattened winter buds are resinous.

The fruit is a small pod with a silky hairy seed arranged in clusters, often 8-12” in length and only appear on female trees.

The bark on young trees is yellow tinged with green. Old trunks are ashy gray and are often divided into scaly ridges. The Eastern Cottonwood can be found along streams in GA but isn’t abundant.

Other Common Names: Carolina Poplar, Southern Cottonwood, Necklace Poplar

Growing Zones: 2-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall and 50-70 ft wide

Flowering Season: March to April

13. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern Red Cedar
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Eastern Red Cedar is an aromatic evergreen tree with a columnar to conical crown. The bark is reddish/grayish brown and exfoliates in long strips. The scale-like leaves are deeply pressed and overlapping.

In the summer, the mature leaves are medium-green whilst in the winter they’re dull in tone. Trees can be either male or female.

The Eastern Red Cedar can be used as a specimen tree, for windbreaks, shelter belts, or as a hedge. It prefers to grow in full sun, in well-drained moist loam. It’s not shade tolerant so avoid planting it under a dense canopy.

In the wild, the Eastern Red Cedar can be found in dry rocky, calcareous soils, as well as on moist flood plains and in abandoned fields.

Other Common Names: Red Cedar, Virginian Juniper, Eastern Juniper, Red Juniper

Growing Zones: 7a-8b

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 8-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

14. Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens)

Table mountain pine
Image by romana klee via Flickr

The Table Mountain Pine has a rounded and irregular shape and can be found scattered on dry slopes and mountain ridges of GA. The needles are 1 ½ – 2” long, and occur in bunches of 2, sometimes 3 to the sheath.

The cones are lopsided at the base and are somewhat egg-shaped, with glossy scales and curved spines. They usually measure 2 ½ – 3” long and occur in clusters of 3-4, and mature to a reddish-brown color. They often remain on the tree for years unopened.

The trunk of the Table Mountain Pine is short and thick, usually, either straight or crooked, and the horizontal branches are often held close to the ground.

If you want to plant a pine tree, but aren’t too keen on the Table Mountain Pine, there a plenty of others you can grow or appreciate in Georgia.

Other Common Names: Hickory Pine, Prickly Pine

Growing Zones: 5-7

Average Size at Maturity: 20-40 ft tall and 20-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: April

15. Water Oak (Quercus nigra)

Water Oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

The Water Oak is a rounded to oval crowned tree with thick and leathery leaves that are semi-evergreen in the warmer parts of its range. The leaves are shiny dark green and are wedge-shaped, sometimes with lobes on the tips.

The branches are slender and the small leaves are finely textured. In the fall the foliage becomes yellow.

The Water Oak is a fast-growing shade tree suited to the southeast. It’ll grow happily in most types of soil.

It’s a relatively short-lived tree, so if you want to plant a longer-lived oak tree in GA, there are other options for you to consider. It’ll grow in light shade in deep, moist, poorly drained soils.

Other Common Names: Possum Oak, Duck Oak, Punk Oak, Spotted Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-100 ft tall and 60-70 ft wide

Flowering Season: May

16. Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata)

Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

The Sugarberry is a deciduous tree with a broad-to-oval rounded form and a medium growth rate. The leaves are dark green above and paler green on the underside.

They are alternate, oblong-to-lance-shaped, 2-4” long, and 1.25” wide. The trunk is gray, smooth, and mildly ridged. Small reddish-brown fruit ripens from September to October.

The Sugarberry is a long-lived shade tree that grows best in moist soil. In the wild, it can be found in moist, flood plain soil, mostly in the lower piedmont and coastal plains. The Sugarberry provides a food source for fall migrating birds.

Other Common Names: Southern Hackberry, Hackberry, Sugar Hackberry

Growing Zones: 7a-8b

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 ft tall and 60-80 ft wide

Flowering Season: March-May, when the leaves appear

17. Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava)

Yellow Buckeye
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The Yellow Buckeye provides a wild beauty to the landscape through the combination of the yellow spring flowers, the thick bark, and the impressive fall tones of orange and yellow.

It can be planted as a shade tree due to its dense foliage and oval shape, or as a visual screen. The Yellow Buckeye features a spreading canopy that effectively blocks out sunlight.

The Yellow Buckeye is a flowering tree that produces an abundance of yellow flowers arranged in erect clusters (panicles) 5-7” long.

These are followed by a pale, greenish/brown smooth fruit with 1-2 shiny brown seeds. It’ll grow in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy well-drained, and wet clay soils. It prefers average moisture levels but will tolerate some drought and flood conditions.

Other Common Names: Sweet Buckeye, Big Buckeye

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-75 ft tall and 25-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: May

18. Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

Green Ash
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

The Green Ash is softly pyramidal in youth and develops an upright spreading habit in maturity. The crown shape varies from irregular to symmetrical/round on the top.

The leave can measure 8” long or more and are divided into 5-9 leaflets with lightly toothed, smooth margins and pointed tips. The flowers appear in small clusters, with females and males on separate trees.

Small inconspicuous fruit follows the flowers and features a ‘blade’ and wing extending halfway towards the base.

The Green Ash is the most widespread native ash, with variations in twigs and leaf forms throughout its range. It can be found in open woodlands, along streams and riverbanks and ditches, swamps, and depressions. It’ll grow best in moist, sandy to loamy fertile soils.

Other Common Names: Red Ash

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 35-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – June

19. Sweetleaf (Symplocos tinctoria)

Image by Puddin Tain via Flickr

The Sweetleaf is a deciduous small tree or large shrub with showy blooms that normally appear before the leaves.

The flowers appear in compact clusters and are small, fragrant, cream-colored and are borne profusely along the branch tips of the previous year’s growth. They feature multiple stamens, which makes them particularly showy.

The Sweetleaf often features numerous trunks and an open crown of spreading branches, filled with foliage that has a sweet taste that is relished by browsers.

The bark and leaves can be used to make a yellow dye and was used by early settlers as a tonic. The Sweetleaf will grow in moist, sandy, alluvial soils in partial shade.

Other Common Names: Yellowwood, Common Sweetleaf, Wild Laurel, Horse Sugar

Growing Zones: 7-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-35 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early spring

20. Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)

Bigleaf Magnolia
Image by 阿橋 HQ via Flickr

The Bigleaf Magnolia is a deciduous tree with a big wide crown of spreading branches. Late spring to early summer sees large, fragrant flowers appear 8-10” across, with a rose/purple hue at the base.

The blossom is followed by egg-shaped fruit which mature in the late summer to reveal large red seeds which are enjoyed by birds and small mammals. The leaves are large and oblong to obovate, up to 36” long and 12” wide, green above and gray/silver below.

The Bigleaf Magnolia is a wonderful shade or specimen tree, in landscapes large and protected enough to support them. They prefer moist, organically rich well-drained acidic soils. They’ll tolerate clay loams as well as sandy soils and some drought.

Other Common Names: Umbrella Tree, Large Leaved Cucumber Tree

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late spring to early summer

21. Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Image by Megan Hansen via Flickr

The Sourwood is a slow-growing deciduous tree that brings interest to the landscape across the seasons. It features a pyramidal shape, with narrow oblong crown.

The pendulous branches feature finely toothed, glossy-green leaves that turn dark red/crimson in the autumn. The sour taste of the leaves gives this tree its common name.

Urn-shaped flowers appear in the early summer that resemble the Lily of the Valley. They are borne on drooping panicles up to 10” long on the branch tips.

The bloom lasts for between 3 and 4 weeks and attracts bees, and is followed by a small silver/gray capsule that persists throughout the winter. The gray bark provides winter interest with its deep fissures.

The Sourwood works well as a specimen or lawn tree. It prefers organically rich, acidic, moist well-drained soil in either full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Sorrel Tree, Titi

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early summer

22. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Red Maple
Image by mirabelka szuszu via Flickr

The Red Maple is a deciduous tree with an oblong to oval shape. It’s one of the most common deciduous trees across the eastern and northeastern United States.

It features a smooth light gray bark. Clusters of small red flowers appear in February and are followed by small winged fruit in March. The fall color varies between shades of red and yellow. In the wild it can be found in low-lying areas, always close to water.

The Red Maple likes full sun and moist soil. If you’re wondering if you can grow maple trees in the heat and humidity of the South then the answer is yes. The red maple can tolerate hot and dry conditions provided it receives irrigation. It’ll also tolerate wet soils.

Other Common Names: Swamp Maple, Water Maple, Soft Maple

Growing Zones: 6b-8b

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 25-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: February

23. Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

Image by Teresa Grau Ros via Flickr

The American Sycamore is a large, wide canopied deciduous tree with a wide open crown of crooked branches.

On older trees, the bark exfoliates in plates or scales, revealing a smooth whitish inner bark. The leaves are broadly ovate, often wider than long and pointed. Globular fruit persists until around December.

The American Sycamore prefers deep moist well-drained soils such as sandy loams or silty clay. In the wild, it can be found along streams, especially in the Piedmont area. It’s a fast-growing tree that is also suitable as a shade tree or large specimen.

Other Common Names: American Sycamore, Eastern Sycamore, American Plane Tree, Plane Tree, Buttonwood, Buttonball Tree, Western Plane Tree.

Growing Zones: 6b-8b

Average Size at Maturity: 75-100 ft tall and 40-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: March – April

24. American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

American Hornbeam
Image by Kevin Faccenda via Flickr

The American Hornbeam is a small-to-medium-sized tree that’s attractive in all seasons. It features a rounded crown and an upright and spreading habit. The branches are covered with ovate, serrated, veined leaves which emerge reddish purple in the spring.

In the summer they take on a dark green hue, before turning orange/yellow/red in the fall. Spring sees flowers appear on separate male and female trees. Female flowers are succeeded by clusters of winged nutlets and can be seen from late spring to early fall.

The bark is fluted and blue-gray with sinewy ridges that lend the tree winter interest. The American Hornbeam will grow in fertile, moist to dry well-drained soils. It’ll grow in full sun to partial shade and will tolerate wet or dry sites, some flooding and drought as well as full shade.

Other Common Names: Blue Beech, Water Beech, Musclewood, Ironwood

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

25. Allegheny Chinquapin (Castanea pumila)

Allegheny Chinquapin
Image by sonnia hill via Flickr

The Allegheny Chinquapin is a thicket forming shrub or tree, and is either a single trunk or a multi-trunked tree with horizontal lower branches, ascending in the upper crown.

The leaves are toothed, glossy dark green in the summer, and turn yellow or purple in the winter. The flower is a large pale yellow spike, followed by a nut encased in a large prickly husk.

The nut is a favored food of deer, squirrels, and other animals, including humans. The fragrant blossoms are ornamental and attractive. The Allegheny Chinquapin grows best in well-drained sandy soils in partial shade.

Other Common Names: Allegheny Chinkapin, Chinquapin, Chinkapin

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 6-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

26. Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra)

Pignut Hickory
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

The Pignut Hickory is a relatively small-size tree that prefers open, well-drained areas. The nuts of the Pignut Hickory are barely palatable but will be eaten by animals when little else is available.

Often, the branches of the Pignut Hickory bend downwards, which lends the tree a drooping appearance. The leaves are compound and pinnately divided, usually with 5-7 finely toothed leaflets.

The bark of this type of hickory is often scaly with intersecting ridges. The nuts mature to dark brown in the fall and are protected by 4 husks that split apart when ready. According to the University of Guelph, the wood is tough and durable and burns well with little ash.

Other Common Names: Sweet Pignut, Coast Pignut Hickory, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory, Swamp Hickory

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-65 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: April-May

27. Virginian Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Virginian Witch Hazel
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The Virginian Witch Hazel is an erect deciduous large shrub or small flowering tree, with sweet-smelling flowers in the fall. The flowers consist of golden, crooked, ribbon-like twisted petals. The flowers appear on the arching branches around fall and may persist until December.

The leaves of the Witch-Hazel are oval and emerge light green, darkening as they mature, before turning a golden hue in the fall before being shed. Plant in full sun to partial shade in averagely moist, well-draining soil. It prefers a rich, moist acidic soil, and will tolerate some clay.

Other Common Names: Common Witch Hazel

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: Mid October – Mid November

28. Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Image by Jesús Cabrera via Flickr

The honeylocust is a fast-growing tree with a thin and airy crown that provides dappled shade that allows grass to grow underneath. It features an oval to a rounded shape and has either pinnately or bipinnately compound leaves that are 8” long with 8-14 leaflets.

Small greenish/yellow blossoms appear on spike-like thorns and have a noticeable aroma to them. Large brown seeds with a leathery look follow the flowers and can reach up to 18” in length, but more often remain around 7-8” long.

The Honeylocust is suited to urban planting and will tolerate both wet and dry sites, pollution compacted soil, and salt. The Honeylocust is also useful in controlling erosion and stabilizing poor soils.

Other Common Names: Honey Locust, Honey Shucks Locust, Sweet Bean Tree, Sweet Locust, Thorny Locust

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 ft tall and 60-80 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

29. Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)

Image by Malcolm Manners via Flickr

The Sparkleberry is a spreading large shrub or small tree capable of growing up to 25 ft tall but is often smaller. It features a short trunk and an irregular crown of spreading branches lined with elliptical leaves.

Small fragrant white, bell-shaped flowers appear in the early summer and are followed by persistent, inedible black berries that are enjoyed by many forms of wildlife.

The foliage is dark green and turns dark red in the fall. In the wild, the Sparkleberry can be found in sandy open woods, in clearings, and along wooded riverbanks. Plant in sandy or rocky soils.

Other Common Names: Farkleberry, Tree Sparkleberry, Winter Huckleberry, Huckleberry

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 8-15 ft tall and 8-10 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early summer

30. Hercules Club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis)

Hercules Club
Image by sonnia hill via Flickr

Hercules Club is a rounded crowned, aromatic spiny tree with spreading branches. The leaves are compound and feature 9-19 leaflets with pointed tips. The trunk features pointed protuberances. It features gland dots on the foliage, fruit, and flowers.

In the wild, it can be seen in forested areas, prairies, meadows, savannas, and pastures. The bitter and aromatic bark and foliage can be used to make a home remedy for toothache.

Hercules Club prefers dry sandy or medium loam soils in full sun.

Other Common Names: Pepperbark, Toothache Tree, Tickle Tongue, Prickly Ash

Growing Zones: 7-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall and 12-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: March- April

Georgia Natives

Georgia is a diverse state with a hot and humid climate typically of the American South. The Coastal Plain and swamps of the state has warm winter weather so experiences a long growing season and sits in zone 9a.

The north of the State is home to mountain ridges and reaches down to zone 6a. Needless to say, this encompasses a wealth of different ecosystems, so plenty of different native trees can be appreciated and grown throughout the state.

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Thomas Pitto

Propagation Expert & Permaculture Enthusiast

Thomas worked for a number of years as the head of plant propagation for a horticultural contractor taking care of many different species of ornamental trees & shrubs. He learned how to propagate certain endangered endemic species and has a love of permaculture, sustainability and conscious living. When Thomas isn't hiking in nature he can be found playing music, reading a book, or eating fruit under a tree.

2 thoughts on “30 Types of Trees Native to Georgia (Common & Rare Species)”

  1. hi thomas, this is a wonderful article. Most of these trees are probably not found at my loval nursery. does the state of georgia sell them? any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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