Native Trees

Native Trees

Native trees can be found growing in maritime forests or other wooded areas along the coast.  These trees can also compliment a yard or garden in residential settings.


Acer rubrum
Red Maple – Deciduous, medium-sized tree for moist to average soils. Red spring blooms followed by red, winged seeds. Yellow, orange and red fall foliage.

  Aesculus pavia
Red Buckeye – Small, deciduous shrub or tree with striking red spring flowers that attract hummingbirds. Prefers partial shade and protection from high winds.
Amelanchier Canadensis
Serviceberry – Shrub or small tree found in moist habitats in sun or shade. Attractive white spring blooms followed by edible berries that provide food for wildlife.
  Cercis Canadensis
Eastern Redbud – Small deciduous tree known for the spectacular display of pink flowers in spring. Heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in fall. Best grown as an understory plant.
Chamaecyparis thyoides
Atlantic White Cedar – Evergreen tree that grows to 80 feet tall, usually found in wet areas of the coastal plain.  Important forest habitat for wildlife, providing food and shelter.
Chionanthus virginicus
American Fringetree – Large shrub or small tree usually 15-25 feet tall. Prefers the understory in dry soils. Beautiful display of fragrant, white, lacy flowers in spring. Produces purple fruit in late summer that is eaten by birds.
  Cornus florida
Flowering Dogwood – Small, deciduous tree known for the beautiful spring flowers and for red berries and foliage in fall. Berries are an important food for birds and other wildlife. Best grown as an understory tree.

Diosporos virginiana
Common Persimmon – Small to medium sized deciduous tree common in open woodlands and forest edges. Edible fruit attracts wildlife. This tree is messy so plant in a suitable location.
  Gordonia lasianthus
Loblolly-bay – Medium sized, evergreen tree usually found in moist, swampy areas. Showy, fragrant flowers from May through September. Worth trying if you have a moist area and if you can find one!
  Ilex opaca
American Holly – This majestic, evergreen tree can be grown in a variety of soils in full to partial sun. Can grow to 60 feet. Insignificant white spring flowers attract pollinators. Red berries on the female plants are beautiful and help feed wildlife.
Juniperus virginiana
Eastern Red Cedar – This evergreen shrub or small tree is a common sight on the Outer Banks, where it thrives despite the sandy soils, salt, wind and hot sun. Provides fruits for wildlife in fall and winter. Makes a good screen.
  Liquidambar styraciflua
Sweetgum  – Medium to large tree (to 95 feet) commonly seen in a variety of habitats. Produces prickly seed balls which in fall and winter provide food for birds. Sweetgums also produce beautiful fall foliage in yellow, orange, red and purple.
  Magnolia grandiflora
Southern Magnolia – Medium to large evergreen tree known for the thick, leathery leaves and large, showy, fragrant white flowers in spring and summer. Produce cones of red berries enjoyed by wildlife. This tree needs plenty of room to spread out!
Magnolia virginiana
Sweet Bay – Semi-evergreen small tree found in moist habitats in full sun to partial shade. Produces fragrant, showy white flowers from March until July and red fruit for the birds in the fall.
Oxydendrum arboretum
Sourwood – Small, slender tree produces fragrant white flowers from May to July, which attract bees. Nice orange to red fall color. Best grown as an understory tree.
  Pinus palustris
Longleaf Pine – Large, evergreen conifer most common in the sandhills. Formerly covered millions of acres of “Longleaf Pine savannah,” important habitat for many rare species of plants and animals.
Pinus taeda
Loblolly Pine – Large, evergreen conifer very common in our area. Easily grown in moist or dry soils. Seeds in cones provide a valuable food for wildlife and trees provide good habitat, as well. Commonly cultivated for lumber.
  Prunus caroliniana
Cherry Laurel – Semi-evergreen shrub or small tree grown as screen plants and for the clusters of fragrant, creamy-white early spring flowers which attract pollinators and the fall fruits that attract birds. Grow in full to partial sun and moist, well-drained soil.
  Prunus serotina
Black Cherry – Medium sized, deciduous tree common in open woods and fields. Has racemes of white flowers in spring followed by reddish black berries that attract birds. The foliage turns a nice yellow to orange color in fall. This is a tree worth having for the many attributes but it is rather messy so plant it away from driveways, etc.
Quercus virginiana
Live Oak – Symbolic of the deep south, this large tree is also common on the outer banks, where it is salt, sand and wind tolerant. Considered an evergreen, it sheds its leaves in the spring when the new foliage is forming. Provides great habitat and food for wildlife, as do all our native oaks.
Sassafras albidum
Sassafras – Deciduous, small to medium sized tree, once used to flavor root beer. Produces late summer fruits loved by birds and has nice fall color.

Taxodium ascendens
Pond Cypress – Like the common Bald Cypress; foliage is different. A large deciduous conifer found in wet areas but adaptable to average soils.
Taxodium distichum
Bald Cypress – Large, picturesque, deciduous, conifer grows to over 100 feet tall. Famous for the “knees” and the widely-buttressed trunks, cypress trees are found primarily in wet, swampy areas, where they provide good habitat for a variety of wildlife. Adaptable to average soils.
  Zanthoxylum clava-herculis
Prickly Ash – Small, prickly tree suitable for the dry, sandy, salty habitats of the outer banks. Produces fall fruit for birds and is the host plant for the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. A most interesting and attractive tree worth having in hot, dry areas.