In Louisiana, trees are plentiful. Louisiana is known for its lush green vegetation, which can be seen in Louisiana’s state flag. The state also has a long history of harvesting trees to produce paper products commercially. These are the most common trees in Louisiana.
- 1. Bald Cypress (taxodium distichum)
- 2. Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm)
- 3. Western Soapberry (sapindus saponaria)
- 4. Tree of Heaven (ailanthus altissima)
- 5. Black Walnut (juglans nigra)
- 6. Water Hickory (carya aquatica)
- 7. Mockernut Hickory (carya alba)
- 8. Black Locust (robinia pseudoacacia)
- 9. Opopanax (acacia Farnesiana)
- 10. Prickly Ash/HerculesClub (zanthoxylum clava-herculis)
- 11. Common Hoptree (ptelea trifoliata)
- 12. Crybaby Tree (erythrina crista-galli)
- 13. Chinaberry (melia azedarach)
- 14. Bigleaf Magnolia (magnolia macrophylla)
- 15. Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata)
- 16. Swamp Titi (cyrilla racemiflora)
- 17. Chittum Tree (sideroxylon lycioides)
- 18. Wax Myrtle (morella cerifera)
- 19. Live Oak (quercus virginiana)
- 20. Eastern Redbud (cercis canadensis)
- 21. Pawpaw (asimina triloba)
- 22. Black Gum (eucalyptus ovata)
- 23. Common Persimmon (diospyros virginiana)
- 24. Sassafras (sassafras albidum)
- 25. American Beech (fagus grandifolia)
- 26. Sparkleberry (vaccinium arboreum)
- 27. Winged Elm (ulmus alata)
Louisiana is home to more than 1500 plant species including trees that are native-born and grow naturally within Louisiana’s borders, as well as those originally from other parts of the word now cultivated in Louisiana. Louisiana’s rich soil and humid climate have made Louisiana a great place for many types of trees to grow.
Trees are an important part of Louisiana not only because they provide beauty, shade, food, building material and oxygen to Louisiana, but also because they help improve water quality, protect Louisiana’s coast from hurricanes and other storms, provide habitats for wildlife and Louisiana’s trees play a vital role in Louisiana’s tourism industry.
Louisiana is home to some of the tallest trees in the United States, including pines over 200 feet tall and cypress trees that have been measured at nearly 300 feet tall. Let’s look at the most common types of trees found in Louisiana.
1. Bald Cypress (taxodium distichum)
Louisiana is home to both Northern and Southern Bald Cypress trees, which is Louisiana’s state tree. The Northern Bald Cypress is also Louisiana’s largest native conifer. These Louisiana natives prefer low-lying wetlands or swamps with acidic soils, so Louisiana’s many wetland areas suit them perfectly.
2. Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm)
The Louisiana State Tree, the Slash Pine’s name, comes from its tendency to grow in a “slash” pattern of several trunks coming from one base. Louisiana is home to both Shortleaf and Loblolly Pines that are native to Louisiana, similar to the Bald Cypress, Louisiana’s wetland habitats suit them well.
3. Western Soapberry (sapindus saponaria)
Louisiana’s Western Soapberry is Louisiana’s only native Sapindaceae. Louisiana State Flower, the Magnolia, is also a Sapindaceae. This tree grows up to 80 feet tall, Louisiana’s Western Soapberry trees are deciduous trees with green-white flowers that grow in clusters. Louisiana’s climate is ideal for this tree, and Louisiana is home to many beautiful examples of this Louisiana native.
4. Tree of Heaven (ailanthus altissima)
The Louisiana State Flower, Louisiana Iris, produces Louisiana’s state flower. The Tree of Heaven is native to Asia and Louisiana’s climate has allowed the tree to grow well in Louisiana for many years.
5. Black Walnut (juglans nigra)
The Louisiana state nut, the Black Walnut, is Louisiana’s only native Juglandaceae. Louisiana also grows many trees related to walnuts, including Louisiana Butternut, Louisiana Black Hickory and Louisiana Mockernut Hickory. Native to much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, it has been widely introduced in temperate regions around the world.
6. Water Hickory (carya aquatica)
Also known as Louisiana Water Hickory, Louisiana Bitternut Hickory is Louisiana’s only native hickory species. Louisiana’s many wetland areas suit Water Hickory trees well. These types of hickories are often called Swamp Hickories or Marsh Hickories because they prefer very wet areas with standing water.
7. Mockernut Hickory (carya alba)
Mockernut Hickories grow mainly in Louisiana’s forests, and the state is home to Shagbark Hickory trees also. Mockernut Hickory trees grow between 40 and 70 feet tall and their trunks can grow to be more than 15 inches wide. Mockernuts have a rough, furrowed bark that grows shaggy and peels off in narrow strips. Mockernut Hickory trees grow best in rich, moist soils and enjoy full sun and partial shade and often form a dense canopy. Louisiana’s climate allows Louisiana Mockernut Hickory trees to flourish.
8. Black Locust (robinia pseudoacacia)
Black Locust trees are native to the south central United States and eastern United States, including Louisiana. The trees favor moist soil but can survive on dry land, too.
9. Opopanax (acacia Farnesiana)
Also called Opopanax Chironium, the trees bear clusters of fragrant white flowers after winter rain. The trees may grow up to 25 feet tall, and while they are native to Morocco, Southern Europe and Asia Minor, Louisiana’s climate makes them thrive in Louisiana.
10. Prickly Ash/HerculesClub (zanthoxylum clava-herculis)
The trees are native to the Southeastern United States, and grow in large clusters. The trees can grow up to 25 feet tall. Louisiana’s climate suits the trees well because they prefer milder weather than other trees in their natural ranges. They need full sun or partial shade and moist soil to flourish, which Louisiana naturally provides.
11. Common Hoptree (ptelea trifoliata)
Louisiana’s Common Hoptree, also called Ptelea trifoliata is a small tree that grows up to 35 feet tall. It has alternate leaves that grow in groups of three and clusters hanging from trees when in bloom. The trees grow well in Louisiana and produce yellow blooms in the summer and fall and also fruit, which attracts birds.
12. Crybaby Tree (erythrina crista-galli)
Georgia’s state tree, the trees can grow up to 60 feet tall and are deciduous trees that bloom in clusters of red flowers. The trees like moist soil but can also grow in dryer areas. They need full sun or partial shade to flourish and often attract wildlife because their fruit attracts birds.
13. Chinaberry (melia azedarach)
Chinaberry trees bear clusters of small, purple flowers followed by fruits that produce an odor that smells like spoiled apricots. They can grow up to 30 feet tall and are native to China, the Himalayas and Japan. Louisiana’s climate suits Chinaberry trees well because they prefer milder weather than what their natural range provides.
14. Bigleaf Magnolia (magnolia macrophylla)
These trees bear large, waxy flowers and grow best in moist soil. They also thrive in shade and give off a sweet aroma. The Bigleaf Magnolia is one of Louisiana’s most prevalent trees because they grow well in the state’s climate.
15. Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata)
The trees grow up to 50 feet tall and their leaves resemble cucumber slices. The trees grow well in moist soil and bear large white flowers that produce a cucumber scent.
16. Swamp Titi (cyrilla racemiflora)
Swamp Titi trees grow best in moist soil or standing water and often bear clusters of small, fragrant white flowers. The trees can get up to 30 feet tall. This type of tree grows in Louisiana wetlands due to the trees’ preference for moist soil.
17. Chittum Tree (sideroxylon lycioides)
Chittum trees grow best in wet areas and bear small flowers that produce a yellow fruit. The trees can grow up to 20 feet tall and thrive in Louisiana’s climate because they prefer the state’s moist conditions.
18. Wax Myrtle (morella cerifera)
Louisiana’s state tree, Wax Myrtle trees grow best in wet or moist areas and need full sun to thrive. They can attain heights of 30 feet and their leaves are oblong shaped. The trees bear flowers that produce a waxy substance that can be used for candles, hence the name Wax Myrtle.
19. Live Oak (quercus virginiana)
Live oaks can grow to a height of 100 feet tall, and their leaves are evergreen. They thrive in an area that has moist soil and give off a distinctive scent. These trees grow well in Louisiana’s mild climate because they require shade, moisture and heat.
20. Eastern Redbud (cercis canadensis)
Eastern Redbud trees are deciduous trees that grow in the southeastern United States. They bear white flowers in groups of 3, which attracts birds. The trees are small, reaching heights of 15 feet tall. Louisiana’s climate is favorable to Eastern Redbud trees because it has mild winters, though they prefer moist soil.
21. Pawpaw (asimina triloba)
Pawpaws trees are deciduous trees that grow in the southeastern US. They bear clusters of greenish-yellow flowers and white fruit that attracts squirrels, birds and other small animals. Pawpaw trees can reach heights of 10 feet tall and thrive in moist soil. Louisiana’s climate is hospitable to these trees because it has mild winters and moist, warm summers.
22. Black Gum (eucalyptus ovata)
Black gums produce a waxy substance that is often used for making candles. The trees have large green leaves and can grow up to 100 feet tall. They thrive in moist soil and need full sun to flourish.
23. Common Persimmon (diospyros virginiana)
Persimmon trees bear oblong leaves and orange fruit that is edible. They grow in moist soil and need full sun to thrive. The trees can get up to 100 feet tall and are often found in floodplains because they like wet areas.
24. Sassafras (sassafras albidum)
Sassafras trees are deciduous trees that grow in the eastern US. Their leaves are thin and dark green, and they need full sun to thrive. They can reach a height of 50 feet tall and prefer moist soil. Louisiana’s climate is ideal for sassafras trees because it has mild winters and wet summers.
25. American Beech (fagus grandifolia)
Beech trees are trees that grow well in the eastern US. The trees bear triangular leaves and need full sun to thrive. They can reach a height of 60 feet and prefer well drained soil. Beech trees grow well in Louisiana because they like moist conditions and do not need much sunlight.
26. Sparkleberry (vaccinium arboreum)
Sparkleberry trees bear small white flowers that produce yellow-red fruit that are edible. They grow in moist soil and need full sun to survive. The trees can get up to 20 feet tall, thrive in Louisiana’s climate because they like moisture and heat, and attract birds with their fruit.
27. Winged Elm (ulmus alata)
Winged elms trees bear small leaves and flowers. They grow well in moist soil and need full sun to thrive. The trees can get up to 40 feet tall, and they do best in Louisiana’s climate because it is warm most of the year.