Small flowering trees are a beautiful element in spring landscapes, cultivated and wild alike. Their peak blooming periods coincide with, or follow, the traditional flush of spring wildflowers and can be spectacular. Severe winter weather limits our species diversity, but the few that prosper are eagerly anticipated spring highlights.
The first species of note to appear in natural landscapes is Serviceberry, also called Shadbush, Juneberry or Amelanchier. In late June and early July, I’ll be competing with robins, catbirds and grouse for the small, blueberry-like fruits.
Serviceberry in full bloom, weeks beyond normal due to extended cold weather in late winter and early spring
Redbud flourishes in the wild a couple hundred miles to the south. Here, it performs fairly well at lower elevations in cultivated landscapes — when the flower buds don’t freeze.
Eastern Redbud, just beyond peak bloom (flowers generally develop before the leaves; 1 of 2)
The most prominent small, flowering tree in Central New York is, oddly, an introduced species: wild (domestic) apple. There are many varieties in the wild, differing slightly in form, flower color, fruit characteristics, etc. But, as a whole, the value added to our visual resources is immeasurable.
House Wren in a wild apple tree near its nest box
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.