Trees and Shrubs of St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM


Guide H-178

Jason Fechner, Miranda L. Kersten, Jeff Clark, and Amanda Skidmore

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University


Authors: Respectively, Graduate Assistant, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, NMSU; Program Manager, Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas, NMSU; Landscape Supervisor, St. John’s College; former Extension Integrated Pest Management Specialist Department of Extension Plant Sciences, NMSU. (Print Friendly PDF)

Aerial photograph of St. John’s College.

(Cover photo of St. John’s College by Capt Swing, Wikimedia Commons.)

Introduction

Native and ornamental trees and shrubs provide many ecosystem services for people and animals in a city landscape. They beautify the landscape, provide shade, and serve many other functions, such as providing food for pollinators. St. John’s College campus boasts a large diversity of trees and shrubs and is located at 1160 Camino de Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

This guide is designed to help you to learn the shrubs and trees found on the St. John’s College campus and assist you in developing identification skills. Remember that trees and shrubs look different throughout the year. Examine the leaves and features of each plant to help you learn these species in your own communities.

Photograph of false indigo bush in bloom.

(NMSU photo of false indigo bush by Miranda L. Kersten.)

Guide Layout

Plants in this guide are listed alphabetically by common name. Look for
identification signage around the campus to assist you in plant identification.

Common name (species identification)

  • Leaf – Description of leaf shape, color, and spacing
  • Fall color – Color of foliage in the fall
  • Bloom color and season – Flower color and season of blooming
  • Origin – Historic range of the species
  • Key ID characteristics – Characteristics of the species to help with identification

1. Accolade elm (Ulmus x ‘Accolade’)

  • Leaf – Oval to elliptical, glossy, dark green, uneven leaf bases, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Green; spring
  • Origin – Hybrid
  • Key ID characteristics – Vase-shaped, single-seeded samaras (fruit)

2. Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa)

  • Leaf – Alternate, finely divided, three to seven deep lobes, appear in clusters, small, dark green above, silver beneath
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – White; summer
  • Origin – Southwestern United States and Mexico
  • Key ID characteristics – Grayish-white hairy branches, pinkish-purple feathery seed clusters

3. Apple (Malus domestica)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, elliptical to oval, glossy, 2–4 in. (5–10 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Pink, red, white; spring
  • Origin – Central Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Fragrant and showy flowers in spring, one of the first trees to flower in spring, apple fruits found in summer and fall

4. Arizona cypress (Hesperocyparis arizonica)

  • Leaf – Opposite, scale-like, needles encircle branch, bluish-green to silvery-gray
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; spring
  • Origin – Southwestern United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Leaves produce a cross shape when viewed from top, sweet smelling foliage, exfoliating and fibrous bark reveals reddish-brown inner bark

5. Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)

  • Leaf – Densely clustered, needles in groups of two, dark green, 4 in. (10 cm) long
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; summer
  • Origin – Southern and central Europe
  • Key ID characteristics – Silky white buds 0.5–1 in. (1.3–2.5 cm) long, grayish-yellow plates on mature bark, sharp needles

6. Autumn Blaze maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, five deeply pointed lobes, bright green
  • Fall color – Orangish-red to red
  • Bloom color and season – Greenish-yellow to red; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Upward-forming branches, smooth thin gray bark mildly furrowed with maturity, long-lasting fall color, red winter buds

7. Banana yucca (Yucca baccata)

  • Leaf – Stiff, sharp, fibrous white strands on leaf margins, leaf margins curl up, bluish-green, 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) long by 1–2 in. (2.5–5 cm) wide
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Pale yellow; spring
  • Origin – Southwestern United States and northern Mexico
  • Key ID characteristics – Fruits resemble short, fat, green bananas, flowers and fruits on spike that protrudes from center of plant, generally without trunk

8. Beauty bush (Linnaea amabilis)

  • Leaf – Opposite, dark green, dull, 1–3 in. (2.5–8 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; spring
  • Origin – China
  • Key ID characteristics – Exfoliating bark on older stems, tubular flowers, arching vase habit

9. Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

  • Leaf – Glossy, elliptical to obovate in shape, dark green, 2–3 in. (5–8 cm) long, fine teeth along margins
  • Fall color – Purplish-red
  • Bloom color and season – White; late spring
  • Origin – Eastern North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Airy, slightly rounded, upright, spreading, and wire-like habit, clusters of five to six white five-petaled flowers appear in spring, small black berries (blueberry size) mature in autumn

10. Blue Arctic willow (Salix purpurea ‘Nana’)

  • Leaf – Alternate, linear to oblanceolate, lustrous blue-green above, pale green beneath, 2–4 in. (5–10 cm) long by 0.3 in. (8 mm) wide, serrate margins from mid-leaf to tip
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Grayish-white; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Leaves typically narrower than those found on the straight species, new shoots initially purplish turning gray to grayish-brown with maturity, catkins appear before leaves, purplish stems

11. Blue Mist spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blue Mist’)

  • Leaf – Opposite, pubescent, oval to elliptical, green, aromatic when brushed against, 1–2 in. (2.5–5 cm) long
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Blue; summer to early fall
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Low-mounding shrub, sweet-scented foliage, flowers in late summer resemble clouds of blue smoke, square stems

12. Brandywine (Malus ‘Branzam’)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, dark reddish-green
  • Fall color – Red to purple
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Rose-pink double flowers, 1 in. long yellow-green fruit, symmetrical habit

13. Bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata)

  • Leaf – Groups of five needles, very short and crowded together, upwardly curved, blue-green to gray-green, aromatic, 1.5 in. (4 cm) long
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; summer
  • Origin – Southwestern United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Bristle-like prickles at end of each cone scale, bark pale gray when young and turning red-brown with maturity

14. Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, five to nine rounded lobes deepest near mid-leaf (terminal lobe largest), leathery, dark green to pale green, 6–10 in. (15–25 cm) long by 4–5 in. (10–13 cm) wide
  • Fall color – Yellow-brown
  • Bloom color and season – Yellowish-green; spring
  • Origin – Eastern United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Woolly, mossy cap on large acorn covering up to half of total acorn, bark has deep furrows and irregular ridges that turn almost black with maturity

15. Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, lanceolate, grayish-green to dark green above, dense hairs on underside, 6–10 in. (15–25 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Purple; summer
  • Origin – China
  • Key ID characteristics – Pubescent twigs, dense clusters of fragrant flowers with four petals and tubular shape, arching stems with peeling gray bark upon maturity

16. Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, oval to heart-shaped, leathery, smooth, dark green, 2–3 in. (5–8 cm) long by same width, held on by a long leaf stalk (up to 2 in. [5 cm] long), wavy margins
  • Fall color – Red to maroon
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Bad-smelling showy white flowers, spotted tan fruit, twigs have lenticels with maturity, large white hairy buds in winter

17. Cardinal royal mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia ‘Michred’)

  • Leaf – Pinnate, dark green above, silvery beneath
  • Fall color – Reddish-purple to bronze
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Small bright red berries appear in clusters, upright branching

18. Chamisa/rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)

  • Leaf – Alternate, linear, hairy, petiole absent, grayish-green, 1–3 in. (2.5–8 cm) long, smooth margins
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; late summer to mid-fall
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Densely hairy stems, tubular flowers appear in rounded clusters, rounded clump-like habit

19. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, oval-shaped, dark green above, grayish-green beneath, up to 5 in. (13 cm) long, sharply toothed margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – White; late spring
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Dark reddish-purple fruits, horizontal rows of lenticels on bark that develop into shallow grooves with maturity

20. Colorado spruce (Picea pungens)

  • Leaf – Needles are 0.5–1.25 in. (1.3–3 cm) long, stiff, green to silvery-blue, simple, four sides per needle, new growth has light blue color
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; late spring to early summer
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Branches droop to the ground (trunk hidden if not pruned), scaly orange-brown bark, drooping cones 2–4 in. (5–10 cm) long with flexible scales

21. Common apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, broadly round to heart-shaped, shiny light green, 3 in. (8 cm) long by 3 in. (8 cm) wide, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Golden orange
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Apricot fruit appears in summer to early fall, five-petaled solitary flowers, red-purple leaf stalks

22. Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, oval, roughly textured, glossy to dull green above, pale green beneath, uneven leaf base, sharply pointed leaf tips, short leaf stalk, 2–5 in. (5–13 cm) long, toothed margins from midleaf to tip
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Green; spring
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Insect-formed galls often on underside of leaves (nipple gall), warty bark, round fruit wrinkles when dried

23. Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

  • Leaf – Opposite, heart-shaped, dark green, leathery surface
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – White to purple; late spring
  • Origin – Southern Europe
  • Key ID characteristics – Light gray bark with small and raised lenticels, clusters of purple flowers on stem tips

24. Common pear (Pyrus communis)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, glossy, dark green, new leaves whitish and hairy, 4 in. (10 cm) long, round-toothed to serrate margins
  • Fall color – Yellow to red
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Europe and western Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Pear fruit occurs in summer to early fall, small thorns often on branches, smooth bark develops cracks with maturity

25. Compact cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum ‘Alfredo’)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, three lobes, oval-shaped, dark green, 2–5 in. (5–13 cm) long
  • Fall color – Red
  • Bloom color and season – White; summer
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Waxy gray-brown bark, habit is upright when young and becomes rounded with age, sticky greenish-red buds, golden-yellow branches

26. Cottonwood (Populus spp.)

  • Leaf – Triangular, darker green on top, paler green beneath, flattened leaf stalk, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Greenish (female) or red (male); spring
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Flattened leaf stalk (petiole), large pointed seed capsules release cotton-like fluff, deeply fissured trunk

27. Coyote willow (Salix exigua)

  • Leaf – Linear, tapered at apex and base, grayish-green, top of leaf and underside both hairy, short to no petioles, 2–5 in. (5–13 cm) long, shallowly toothed margins
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Green; spring
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Suckering shrub that forms thickets, reddish-brown branches

28. Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum)

  • Leaf – Opposite, three-lobed, slightly resembles a maple leaf, 2–5 in. (5–13 cm) long
  • Fall color – Red
  • Bloom color and season – White; late spring to early summer
  • Origin – Northern United States and Canada
  • Key ID characteristics – Fruits resemble cranberries but are more translucent when ripened in September and October, fruits persist all winter, erect habit

29. Creeping Oregon grape (Mahonia repens)

  • Leaf – Compound, five to seven leaflets, broadly oval, pale green, smooth, leathery, spiny margins
  • Fall color – Bright purple and red
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; spring to summer
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Metallic blue berries, compact to spreading habit, fragrant flowers appear in clusters

30. Curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)

  • Leaf – Lance-shaped, leathery, resinous, dark green above, whitish beneath, 1 in. (2.5 cm) long, smooth margins curl under
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – White to yellow; spring
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Densely branched, curled leaves, hairy fruits

31. Downy hawthorn (Crataegus mollis)

  • Leaf – Simple, alternate, broad at base, three to five lobes on both sides of leaf margins, hairy, yellowish-green above, pale green beneath, 4 in. (10 cm) long, sharply serrate margins
  • Fall color – Golden yellow to coppery brown
  • Bloom color and season – White; early summer
  • Origin – Eastern North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Large flowers (1–3 in. [2.5–8 cm]) appear in dense clusters, large red or burgundy fruits, silvery scaly bark with shallow furrows, branches have straight gray thorns (1–2 in. [2.5–5 cm] long)

32. English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata)

  • Leaf – Deeply lobed (usually five lobes) with three smaller lobes at leaf tip, dark green, 1–2.5 in. (2.5–6 cm) long, toothed margins
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Europe
  • Key ID characteristics – 20 ft (6 m) tall by same width, thorny branches, low-branching tree, round habit, dark red berry-like fruit with two to three seeds

33. European mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia)

  • Leaf – Odd-pinnate, nine to 15 leaflets, flat, medium green above, paler green and often hairy beneath, 7 in. (18 cm) long leaves, 1.5 in. (4 cm) long leaflets, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Yellow to reddish-purple
  • Bloom color and season – White; early summer
  • Origin – Europe and western Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Orangish-red berry-like fruit in late summer, bluntly tipped leaflets, hairy whitish buds, dull purple to grayish twigs

34. False indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa)

  • Leaf – Odd-pinnate, 11 to 35 leaflets, spiny-tipped, oval to elliptic, dull gray-green, leaves up to 1 ft (0.3 m) long, toothless margins
  • Fall color – Golden yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Purple; late spring to early summer
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Showy and fragrant tubular flowers, lenticels on bark

35. Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium)

  • Leaf – Deeply divided (fern-like), shiny, glossy, sticky with resin, gray-green, fragrant, thick, appear feathery
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – White; summer
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Finely textured and sticky fern-like leaves, fragrant flowers and leaves, young stems are hairy and become smooth with age

36. Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, oval-shaped, 3–5 in. (7.6–13 cm) long, coarse teeth along margin
  • Fall color – Yellow to reddish purple
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; spring
  • Origin – Eastern Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Bell-shaped four-petaled flowers bloom before leaf out, plants are 2–10 ft (0.6–3 m) tall by 2–12 ft (0.6–3.6 m) wide

37. Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens)

  • Leaf – Simple, alternate, linear to spatula-shaped, densely hairy, 0.5–2 in. (1.3–5 cm) long, smooth margins
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow-green (inconspicuous); summer
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Tan fruits on female plants have four distinct wings, dense hairs on branches and leaves

38. Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii)

  • Leaf – Simple, alternate, bright green above, paler green beneath, leathery, seven to 11 deep lobes, 2–7 in. (5–18 cm) long, smooth margins
  • Fall color – Brown to red
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; spring to summer
  • Origin – Southwestern United States and Mexico
  • Key ID characteristics – Clusters of hairy buds appear at top of twigs, lateral buds smaller than terminal buds, rough and deeply furrowed gray bark, deep cup on acorns

39. Golden currant (Ribes aureum)

  • Leaf – Three lobes, leathery, broad to round, glossy, light green, 1–2 in. (2.5–5 cm) long, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Reddish-purple
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; spring
  • Origin – United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Erect habit, spice-scented drooping flowers, berries start out yellow and mature to red and then black, dark silvery-gray bark

40. Golden raintree (Koelreuteria paniculata)

  • Leaf – Pinnate to bipinnate, alternate, seven to 17 irregularly lobed leaflets, new leaves are pinkish-bronze in spring and bright green in summer, lighter green beneath, often divided, 8–14 in. (20–35.5 cm) long, irregularly toothed margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; summer
  • Origin – East Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Lantern-shaped thin brown papery seed capsules

41. Gray oak (Quercus grisea)

  • Leaf – Alternate, almost oval, grayish-green, flat, leathery, round base, 2 in. (5 cm) long, smooth to toothed margins
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Greenish-yellow; spring
  • Origin – Southwestern United States and Mexico
  • Key ID characteristics – Light gray furrowed bark, prominent leaf veins, 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) acorns with deep cup and long stalks

42. Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

  • Leaf – Odd-pinnate, five to nine leaflets, winged leaflet stalks, bright green above, paler green beneath, 3–4 in. (8–10 cm) long, toothed margin from midleaf to tip
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Green and purple; spring
  • Origin – Eastern and central North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Clusters of winged seeds (samaras) on female trees, gray-brown bark with diamond-shaped ridges when mature, opposite branching

43. Greengage (Prunus domestica ssp. italica)

  • Leaf – Dark green, oval to elliptical-shaped, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Green
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Round to oval-shaped pale green fruit with soft smooth texture, upright habit

44. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

  • Leaf – Palmate, five to seven leaflets, light green turning dark green in summer, 4–10 in. (10–25 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow to brown
  • Bloom color and season – White with red markings; spring
  • Origin – Balkans
  • Key ID characteristics – Leathery brown fruit capsule is covered in sharp spines (non-warty), buds are sticky

45. Hybrid serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, elliptical to oval-shaped, purplish when young, green when mature, smooth (hairless), 1–3 in. (2.5–8 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Golden yellow to orange
  • Bloom color and season – Pink or white; spring
  • Origin – Hybrid
  • Key ID characteristics – Pink to purple or lavender berry-like fruit, fragrant flowers are very showy and larger than other Amelanchier species

46. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, palmate, five or seven (less frequently nine) toothed lobes, green, 3 in. (8 cm) long,
  • Fall color – Yellow, reddish-purple, and bronze
  • Bloom color and season – Reddish-purple; spring
  • Origin – East Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Low branching, mound-like habit, trunk often contorted, leaves appear in horizontal layers, small fruit with wide spreading wings

47. Lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, oval to elliptic, uneven leaf base, shiny medium to dark green above, paler green beneath, 1.5–3 in. (4–8 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Reddish-green; fall
  • Origin – East Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Long drooping branches, exfoliating bark, wire-like habit

48. Mugo pine (Pinus mugo)

  • Leaf – Needles occur in pairs of two, short, stiff, sharp, straight to slightly curved, bright green, 1–3 in. (2.5–8 cm) long
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; summer
  • Origin – Central Europe
  • Key ID characteristics – Dense bushy habit, 2.5 in. (6 cm) long dull brown lopsided cones, scaly gray-brown bark with horizontal and vertical splitting

49. New Mexico locust (Robinia neomexicana)

  • Leaf – Alternate, odd-pinnate, 15 to 21 leaflets, rounded leaf tip, immature leaves hairy, smooth margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; spring to fall
  • Origin – Southwestern North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Multiple reddish-purple branches with paired thorns at each node, twigs zigzag, thicket-forming shrub

50. New Mexico olive (Forestiera neomexicana)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, medium to gray-green, 0.5–1.75 in. (1.3–4.4 cm) long by 0.5–0.75 in. (1.3–1.9 cm) wide, smooth to shallowly serrate margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Southwestern United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Whitish bark with dark black indents along the trunk, bluish-black berry-like fruit (drupe) on female plants

51. One-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma)

  • Leaf – Immature leaves are needle-like, mature leaves are scale-like, dark green
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; spring
  • Origin – Southwestern North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Bluish-black to copper-colored berry-like cones containing one seed, thin scaly bark with exfoliating branchlets, white resin glands on leaves

52. Oregon leaf holly (Mahonia aquifolium)

  • Leaf – Alternate, pinnate, five to nine leaflets, pointed, leathery, oval, new growth bright red turning glossy dark green with maturity, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Deep burgundy
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; spring
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Clusters of dark blue-purplish berries, lightly fragrant flowers, upright to spreading habit

53. Persian yellow rose (Rosa foetida persiana)

  • Leaf – Dark green, five to seven leaflets, elliptic to obovate
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; summer
  • Origin – Persia
  • Key ID characteristics – Very fragrant flowers, very showy globular yellow flowers, sphere-shaped red rose hips follow flowers, upright habit, thorns along stem

54. Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis)

  • Leaf – Simple, linear, needle-like, two needles per fascicle, curve upward, needles usually pressed together, 1–1.5 in. (2.5–4 cm) long, smooth margins
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; spring
  • Origin – Southwestern United States to Mexico
  • Key ID characteristics – Short gray-brown trunk often having reddish patches, knobby and nearly round cones appear in clusters of two or three

55. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

  • Leaf – Three needles per cluster, slightly twisted, 3–5 in. (7–13 cm) long
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; summer
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Bark has a butterscotch scent when bruised, 4 in. (10 cm) reddish-brown cones with recurved prickles on the end of cone scales, rough orange-brown twigs

56. Powis Castle artemisia (Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’)

  • Leaf – Deep pinnate divisions or finely dissected, silvery-green, aromatic, fern-like
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Leaves mildly camphor-scented, mound-like rounded habit, feathery appearance

57. Purple leaf sand cherry (Prunus x cistena)

  • Leaf – Alternate, elliptical, crimson purple, round to oval, 2 in. (5 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Bronze-green
  • Bloom color and season – Whitish-pink; spring
  • Origin – Hybrid
  • Key ID characteristics – Emerging reddish-purple foliage with red shoot tips, dense shrub with multiple gray fissured trunks

58. Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

  • Leaf – Oval to triangular to nearly round, deep green above, paler green beneath, glossy, 3 in. (8 cm) long, finely toothed margins
  • Fall color – Golden yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Gray-green; spring
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Flattened petioles, bark greenish-white to chalky brown, hairy flower clusters

59. Quince (Cydonia oblonga)

  • Leaf – Oval-shaped, pale green above, hairy-gray below, up to 4 in. (10 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Light pink; spring
  • Origin – Western Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Crooked branches, fruits are round to pear-shaped, fruits green when immature and bright yellow when mature

60. Redleaf rose (Rosa glauca)

  • Leaf – Alternate, odd-pinnate, five to seven leaflets, ovate, smooth, purplish tinge, 1–1.5 in. (2.5–3.8 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; late spring to early summer
  • Origin – Central and southern Europe
  • Key ID characteristics – Orange-red hips form from flowers in fall and persist into winter, small pink flowers are soft and vase-shaped, minimal thorns on reddish-violet canes

61. Rock spirea (Holodiscus dumosus)

  • Leaf – Alternate, oval, pronounced veins, leaf hairiness varies, 0.5–1 in. (1.3–2.5 cm) long, prominent teeth and lobes along the upper edges or complete leaf margin
  • Fall color – Bronze red
  • Bloom color and season – White to light pink; summer
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Exfoliating bark, low spreading habit, reddish-brown branches

62. Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

  • Leaf – Scale-like, leaves pressed closely to branches, gray to blue-green
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; spring
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Bluish-green foliage, metallic blue berry-like cones, fibrous bark

63. Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum)

  • Leaf – Three to five lobes, sharp teeth, 5 in. (13 cm) long, red-green leaf stalks, sometimes divided into three leaflets
  • Fall color – Yellow to red
  • Bloom color and season – Pale green; late spring
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Blunt buds, sharply toothed leaves, 90° or less wingspread on fruits (samaras), smooth bark with narrow furrows

64. Royal Purple smoketree (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’)

  • Leaf – Oval-shaped, maroon to purplish-red, up to 3 in. (8 cm) long
  • Fall color – Reddish-purple
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Hairs on spent flowers turn into a pink to purplish-pink puff that gives the plant a smoke-like appearance

65. Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa)

  • Leaf – Odd-pinnate, five to nine leaflets, wrinkled appearance, dark green with pronounced veins, underside of leaf is covered with fine soft hairs, up to 2 in. (5 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; summer
  • Origin – East Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Prickles and thorns on branches, sprawling to rounded habit, fleshy edible cherry tomato-shaped hips initially green but turn bright red with maturity (late summer)

66. Russian hawthorn (Crataegus ambigua)

  • Leaf – Alternate, four to seven deep lobes, soft green, slightly hairy, 2.5 in. (6 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow to red
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Eastern Europe and western Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Purple spines on branches, twisting branches, dark red to purplish-black fruit

67. Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, narrow, silvery to bluish-green, dark green above, silvery beneath, 2 in. (5 cm) long by 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) wide
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; summer
  • Origin – Europe and Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Thorny twigs, olive-like fruit with silver scales, exfoliating reddish-brown bark

68. Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.)

  • Leaf – Alternate, scale-like, bluish-green, about 0.5 in. (1.5 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; summer
  • Origin – Asia and eastern Europe
  • Key ID characteristics – Slender reddish branches, leaves appear similar to evergreens, pink flower tufts

69. Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris)

  • Leaf – Bluish-green, twisted needles grow in pairs, 1–3 in. (2.5–7.5 cm) long
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; spring
  • Origin – Northern Europe and Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Gray or reddish-brown cracks on bark on lower trunk, orange and flaky bark on upper trunk

70. Sea Green juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Sea Green’)

  • Leaf – Bluish-green, evergreen in mild winter areas, needle-like when young, scale-like when mature
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Compact habit with arching branches, foliage may turn dark green in winter, powder blue fleshy cones on female plants from late spring to late winter

71. Silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea)

  • Leaf – Opposite, elliptic, medium green with silvery appearance, covered with hairs, silver scales on leaves, 1–2 in. (2.5–5 cm) long
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow (male), inconspicuous (female); spring
  • Origin – Western United States and Canada
  • Key ID characteristics – Loose silvery-brown scales on hairy buds, thin exfoliating bark on mature branches with terminal spines (spines up to 2 in. [5 cm] long)

72. Snowball bush (Viburnum opulus)

  • Leaf – Opposite, simple, three lobes, resemble maple leaves, dark green, smooth leaf surface, 2–4 in. (5–10 cm) long by same width, smooth margins with coarse teeth
  • Fall color – Purplish-red
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Europe and Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Arching branches, white flowers on the outside open first and are followed by cream-colored disk-like flowers on the inside, drooping clusters of fruit start green in summer and turn bright red with maturity in fall, petioles have warty appearance when viewed close-up

73. Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)

  • Leaf – Opposite, oblong-elliptic to rounded shape, dull green, up to 2 in. (5 cm) long
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; summer
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Waxy fruit (drupes) initially pale green and mature to white in late summer to early fall, fruit persists into winter, bushy habit, pink flowers are small and bell-shaped, dense foliage

74. Sweet cherry (Prunus avium)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, oval, dark green, up to 6 in. (15 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Europe and Asia
  • Key ID characteristics – Single pit encloses seed inside fruit, flowers appear before leaves in spring

75. Three leaf sumac (Rhus trilobata)

  • Leaf – Alternate, compound, three leaflets, leaflets not on stalks, wedge-shaped at base, shiny and smooth above, medium green, end leaflet 1.2–2.5 in. (3–6.5 cm) long, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Bright yellow to red
  • Bloom color and season – White to yellow; spring
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Three leaflets per leaf, hairy stems and bark with sticky red fruit, leaves aromatic when crushed

76. Thornless cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis)

  • Leaf – Dark green, glossy, thick, wedge-shaped, smooth, 2.5 in. (6 cm) long, toothed margins
  • Fall color – Orange to red
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Flowers in clusters, upright or spreading habit, red fruit persists into winter

77. Thornless honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis)

  • Leaf – Alternate, pinnate to bipinnate, petiole swollen at base, 15 to 30 leaflets
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Yellow; late spring to early summer
  • Origin – North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Thornless variety, twisted seed pods 1.5 ft (0.5 m) long, stems zigzag

78. True leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, short leaf stalk, dark green above, fuzzy silver beneath, leathery, triangular teeth at tip, 1.5 in. (4 cm) long
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Hairy silvery-white twisted fruits, very small leaves resemble alder species, flowers appear in clusters

79. Vanhoutte spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, almost oval, bluish-green, three to five obscure lobes, 1.5 in. (4 cm) long, toothed margins
  • Fall color – None
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Hybrid
  • Key ID characteristics – Tiny, showy flowers appear in clusters, fountain-like vase-shaped habit with arching branches

80. Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)

  • Leaf – Shallowly lobed (three to seven lobes), broadly triangular, glossy dark green, 2.5 in. (6 cm) long, serrate margins
  • Fall color – Orange to red
  • Bloom color and season – White; summer
  • Origin – Eastern United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Small bright red fruits with five seeds, unpleasant odor, flowers with five petals, thorny stems

81. Weeping Red Jade crabapple (Malus x scheideckeri ‘Red Jade’)

  • Leaf – Glossy, medium green, 3.5 in. (9 cm) long
  • Fall color – Yellow
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Cultivar
  • Key ID characteristics – Weeping branches, white flowers, bright red fruits

82. Weeping willow (Salix babylonica)

  • Leaf – Narrow, lance-shaped, light green above, grayer green beneath, hairy when young, smooth with age, 6 in. (15 cm) long by 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) wide, finely toothed margins
  • Fall color – Greenish-yellow
  • Bloom color and season – Silver-green; spring
  • Origin – China
  • Key ID characteristics – Weeping habit with rounded crown, long green leaf stalks, rough gray-black bark

83. Western sandcherry (Prunus pumila var. besseyi)

  • Leaf – Alternate, simple, oval to lance-shaped leaves, grayish-green, no stalk (sessile), fleshy, wedge-shaped base with acute tip, finely serrate margins
  • Fall color – Crimson red
  • Bloom color and season – White; spring
  • Origin – Northern United States and Canada
  • Key ID characteristics – Shiny leaves, fruit is red then purple when immature and black with maturity, smooth twigs, low-growing shrub

84. White fir (Abies concolor)

  • Leaf – 2 in. (5 cm) long needles curve upwards, pale grayish green, flat with rounded tips, fragrant (citrus-like) when crushed
  • Fall color – Evergreen
  • Bloom color and season – Non-flowering; spring
  • Origin – Western United States
  • Key ID characteristics – Longer needles than other firs, drooping branches, resinous buds, circular leaf scars

85. Woods’ rose (Rosa woodsii)

  • Leaf – Odd-pinnate, five to nine leaflets, oval to elliptic, small, roughly 1 in. (2.5 cm) long, tip finely toothed
  • Fall color – Reddish-orange
  • Bloom color and season – Pink; summer
  • Origin – Western North America
  • Key ID characteristics – Grows in dense thickets, straight to mildly curved prickles, red stems, five-petaled flowers followed by orange-red hips, smaller leaves than other Rosa species

Glossary

Alternate: Leaves or flowers borne singly along a stem.

Branchlet: A smaller branch or a branch that is growing off another branch.

Catkin: A slim, cylindrical, spike-like cluster.

Compound leaf: Two or more leaflets attached to a single stem.

Evergreen: A tree whose leaves do not change color in fall/winter and remain green year-round.

Fascicle: Cluster of leaves or flowers that are growing close together.

Gall: Abnormal growth on a plant, often caused by immature insects.

Habit: Growth form or appearance of a plant.

Hybrid: A cross between two species, denoted by “×”; for example, Amelanchier × grandiflora.

Lanceolate: Shaped like the head of a spear or lance; longer than it is wide, narrowly oval-shaped, broadest in the lower half and tapering to a tip.

Lenticel: Raised pore on bark that assists with gas exchange.

Linear: Long and very narrow in shape, with sides that are mostly parallel.

Lobes: Rounded portions of a leaf margin.

Margin: The leaf edge.

Node: Point on the stem from which leaves and branches grow.

Oblanceolate: Shaped like a lance, but tapered at the base and broadest in the upper half; a lanceolate shape with the pointed tip at the base.

Obovate: Shaped like an egg but narrow at the base.

Odd-pinnate: A pinnately compound leaf with an odd number of leaflets and with a terminal leaflet at the end.

Opposite: Growing in pairs on either side of stem.

Ovate: Oval- or egg-shaped.

Palmate: A compound leaf with several leaflets growing from the petiole, a central point.

Petiole: The stalk of a leaf that joins the leaf to the stem.

Pinnate: A compound leaf with several leaflets growing along an extended petiole, which may look like several small leaves.

Pubescent: Having hairs.

Samara: A winged fruit that contains one seed.

Serrate: Having teeth- or saw-like notches.

Simple: Undivided or unsegmented, such as a leaf not divided into leaflets.

Additional Resources

Check out the following resources to learn more about tree identification and tree species in your area.

Allred, K.W., and R. DeWitt Ivey. 2012. Flora Neomexicana III: An illustrated identification manual. Morrisville, NC: Lulu Press Inc.

Arbor Day Foundation. 2019. What tree is that? [Online]. Available at https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/fullonline.cfm

Carter, J.L. 1997. Trees and shrubs of New Mexico. Boulder, CO: Mimbres Publishing.

Morrow, B.H. 2016. Best plants for New Mexico gardens and landscapes, revised and expanded ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Petrides, G.A., and O. Petrides. 1998. A field guide to western trees: Western United States and Canada, 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Phillips, J. 1998. New Mexico gardeners guide. Nashville: Cool Springs Press.

Tree Plotter. 2019. Nsew Mexico Tree Plotter inventory [Online]. Available at https://pg-cloud.com/NewMexico/

New Mexico State University has a variety of resources to help you identify tree pests and other causes of stress, such as through the following programs:

For Further Reading

H-169: Using Insectary Plants to Attract and Sustain Beneficial Insects for Biological Pest Control
https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/H169/welcome.html

H-172: Backyard Beneficial Insects in New Mexico
https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/H172/welcome.html

H-174: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies for Common Insect Pests of Trees in New Mexico
https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/H174/welcome.html


Photo of Miranda Kersten.

Miranda Kersten is a Senior Program Specialist with the urban integrated pest management (IPM) program at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center in Los Lunas. Her work focuses on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation, monitoring beneficial insects across urban landscapes, and managing IPM research projects.


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August 2021, Las Cruces, NM