Trees Taxonomic List

Tree Identification in Maine…..                             Trees in the Ecosystem….

Maine holds the distinction of being the most forested state in America.  In fact, according to the Maine Forest Service, 65 different species of trees grow on 17.8 million acres.  That equals 90% of the land within the State of Maine. Trees can be found growing at sea-level along the very edges of coastal bays to the upper elevations of Mount Katahdin, almost a mile into the sky.  Trees or lack of them, define the type of ecosystem or habitat where they are found growing.  Certain species of trees typically grow together depending on the climate and soil of the area.  Hardwood or broadleaf trees are more typical in the southern part of the state while softwood or needle-bearing trees are more common in the northern part of the state; however there are many exceptions, especially with the white pine, maples, poplars and birches that are found everywhere.

Trees are classified as part of the Plant Kingdom.  Trees obtain nutrients through the process of Photosynthesis and make seeds.  Trees are divided into Gymnosperms, plants with naked seeds that grow cones, and Angiosperms, plants with hidden seeds that grow inside of fruit after the plant has flowered.

Typically in Maine we can think of the Gymnosperms as Conifers and Angiosperms as the Broadleaf trees.  For example, the Tamarack is a deciduous Conifer so it is a Gymnosperm, meaning it bears cones along with the Pine, Spruce and Fir family of trees.  Conifers are specially adapted to colder climates which are why they are the more dominant tree found in Northern Maine.

Maine is the northern most area where some Broadleaf trees are able to grow such as the Oak and Hickory Families.  However the Maples  are specially adapted to the cooler temperatures of the north and western part of the state and are famous for Maple Syrup and Fall Foliage.  Some of the Broadleaf Angiosperms produce obvious fruit such as Acorns, Beechnuts, Cherries, Hazelnuts and Rose Hips while many others are less obvious.  Examples of Trees with very different types of seed enclosures would be the Maples, Birches and Poplars.

Here is the Taxonomic list Trees found in Maine.

Doman: Eukarya – multi-celled organisms

Kingdom: Plants – photosynthesis

SubKingdom: Vascular Plants – has xylem and phloem

Division: Conifers or Gymnosperms

Class: Pinopsida -Simple leaves with male & female cones on the same tree

Order: Pinales -Trees with Needle-like leaves

Family: Pine -Pine, Spruce, Fir and Tamarack Trees in Maine

Family: Cypress –Cedar and Juniper Trees in Maine

Division: Angiosperms – Flowering Trees

Class: Dicots – 2 seed leaves, multi-branched leaf veins, vascular bundle arranged in a ring, flowering parts usually 4 or 5, taproot with rootlets


Salicaceae:          Willow, Poplar

Juglandaceae:   Shagbark Hickory, Butternut

Betulaceae:        Birch, Alder, Hornbeam, Hophornbeam

Gagaceae:           American Chestnut, Beech, Oak

Ulmaceae:          Elm

Lauraceae:          Sassafras

Hamamelidaceae:    Witchhazel

Rosaceae:           Serviceberry, Hawthorn, Cherry, Plum, Apples, Mountain Ash

Anacardiaceae:     (Cashew Family) Sumac

Aceraceae:         Maple

Hippocastanaceae:     Horsechestnut or Buckeye Family

Tiliaceae:             Basswood or Linden Family

Cornaceae:         Dogwood

Ericaceae:            Heath & Laurals (some are Evergreen)

Oleaceae:            (Olive Family) Ash

Rubiaceae:          (Madder Family) Buttonbush

Caprifoliaceae:  Honeysuckle Family Elderberry, Arrowwood, Nannyberry & Viburnum

Families of Maple, Sumac (Cashew) & Horsechestnut Families of Trees

Tree Identification….