If you have any feedback on how we can make our Tree Directory better please do contact us. We would like to hear from you.

The intention of the Tree Directory is to aid research for layouts.  The more common trees from areas will be added, with a little information about them.  If you have an area that does not appear here, let me know and I'll see what I can find.  Sometimes the more common sub species will also be listed.

If you have any recommendations for improvements, or if you think I have got anything wrong, please do not hesitate to contact me with your suggestions at Jacqui (at) railwaytrees dot co dot uk.  Sorry to write it like this but I receive approximately 300 spam emails a day.



Ironwood  In the USA this is a Hornbeam species (see Hornbeam), but in Australia it is commonly an Acacia occurring in the central and northern areas.  However Ironwood is applied to several Australian trees which have a very hard timber so pictures can be confusing. Grows to around 35 feet tall on heavy clay soils.


Alder  loves damp conditions and can be found in Europe, West Asia and North Africa.  Dependent upon the variety the fully mature height is 20 – 90 feet.


Ash grows all around Europe, especially on calcareous limestone soils to around 26 - 130 feet tall dependent upon the variety.

White Ash (Fraxinus americana) grows about 80 feet tall in valleys and slopes with moist, well-drained, rich soils, often in forests with other hardwoods.  Found E Minnesota to Cape Breton Island, south to N Florida and E Texas; to 2000 feet in the North and 5000 feet in the South.


Aspen - see Poplar



The massive swollen trunk consists of soft spongy wood saturated with water.  The fibrous wood cannot be used for building or firewood, but the bark can be shredded into strands to use a fiber for ropes, baskets, nets, cloths, etc.  There are eight species  widely distributed in belts across Africa. They also grow in Madagascar, India, Ceylon and Australia. They grow in many areas of Zimbabwe. In the Northern Province they are found between the Limpopo and the Zoutpansberg range. Messina is indeed a Baobab town. They seem to prefer hot, sandy plains. Trees can reach a height of 75 feet, and diameter of 60 feet.  The trunk can store 120,000 litres of water.



American Beech (Fagus grandiofolia) grows to 80 feet tall from S Ontario to the Atlantic Coast, south to N Florida and E Texas to 3000 feet elevation, but 6000 feet in the southern Appalachians, liking well-drained, rich, moist soil.

Common Beech grows to 130 feet tall across Europe from the Pyreness to the Caucasus and north to Russia and Denmark.

Copper Beech is not a true species, but is a sport or quirk of nature. Originally from Switzerland now widely planted and growing to 130 feet tall. About 0.1% of Common Beech will seed a Copper Beech.



Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) is common in NE USA growing to around 30 feet in abandoned uplands and open areas as well as in mixed woodlands with moist soils.

Silver Birch is confined to the Northern Hemisphere and grows up to 100 feet tall.  The trunk is actually a pale olive, not white as frequently represented on layouts.

Sweet Birch  aka Black Birch (Betula lenta)  grows 50-80 feet tall in moist, cool areas with conifers and hardwoods.  Found in S Maine to Ohio & N Alabama at 2000-6000 feet in southern mountains, but lower in northern altitudes.

White Birch  is frequently confused with silver birch because it has a white trunk, but it does not have the same pendulous form.  Grows to about 80 feet tall.

Young’s Weeping Birch Common throughout Europe with white bark and pendulous habit, but growing only to about 30 feet tall.


Cabbage Palmetto (Sabal palmetto) is the familiar palm of Florida and the southern coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas, growing from 30-50 feet, liking sandy soil.



Cedar of Lebanon is widely planted all around Europe growing up to 130 feet tall, and spreading upon aging.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) grows to 60 feet tall in limestone uplands, flood plains and abandoned fields. From N Dakota to Maine,m south to Texas and N Florida at elevations of up to 3000 feet in the South.

Northern White Cedar aka Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis) grows to 70 feet high in swampy areas or limestone uplands in SE Manitoba through the Great Lakes area S Ontario and QUebec to Maine and New York to elevations of 3000 feet in the south.  Introduced to Europe in the 16th Century after being used as a tea to save French sailors from scurvy.

Western Red Cedar aka Canoe-Cedar and Giant Arborovitae (Thuja plicata) is a false cedar, an evergreen originating in the NW Pacific coastline where it is a major component of the moist, lowland coniferous forests.  Now growing from Southern Alaska through British Columbia south to Washington and Oregon to the redwood forests of California reaching around 175 feet in height with a trunk girth of up to 8 feet diameter, occasionally larger. Growing to elevations of 3000 feet in the north and 7000 feet in the south



Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) likes moist soils and is found in S Quebec to the Atlantic Coast; south to central Florida and west to E Texas (except in the Mississippi delta region) and grows to 5000 feet elevation in southern Appalachians.

Pin Cherry  (Prunus pensylvanica) grows to around 30 feet and likes moist soils, especially clearings and burned areas.  Oft found with Aspens, Paper Birch or Eastern White Pine.  Found in British Columbia to Newfoundland, south of Hudson Bay and south to Great Lakes region, New England and Georgia, and up to 6000 feet elevation in the southern Appalachians.



American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) was abundant in the East but since 1904 has been blighted by a fungus, being nearly wiped out by 1950.  Sprouts grow from former trees but are soon killed by the blight.  Some areas are now fungus free and cultivated trees thrive there. SE Canada and Maine to Georgia, Indiana and Mississippi to 4000 feet elevation, liking moist upland soils in mixed forests.



American Elm (Ulnus americana) grows to 100 feet in valleys, floodplains and mixed hardwood forests. From Saskatchewan east to Atlantic Coast, south to central Florida and Texas up to 2500 feet elevation.

Slippery Elm (Ulnus rubra) grows to around 70 feet liking floodplains and moist soils, but also on dry uplands in hardwood forests.  From S Ontario to S Quebec and Maine, south to NW Florida and central Texas, west to SE North Dakota up to 2000 feet elevation.       



Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) is the only fir native to Northeast America growing to about 60 feet tall, now found in W Alberta east to Newfoundland, south to Minnesota, NE Iowa and Pennsylvania to the timberline in the North and above 4000 feet elevation in the southern mountains.

Douglas Fir is a false fir growing throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to 245 feet.  Often there is no branching for the first 100 feet.


Hawthorn  aka May native throughout Europe growing only to about 35 feet tall withstanding strong winds, exposure and cold.

Cockspur Hawthorn (Cragaegus crus-galli) likes moist soil or low upland slopes.  A thin tree growing around 30 feet tall from SE Canada to N Florida, west to E Texas and north to Iowa to elevations of 2000 feet.


Hornbeam is found across Britain and Central Europe to SW Asia.  Growing to around 100 feet.

Ironwood aka American Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginian) grows to about 65 feet across Eastern and Southern USAThe Ironwood of Hornbean is not to be confused with the Ironwood in Australia which is generally an Acacia.


Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) Originally native to SE Europe and now planted everywhere in Europe, growing up to 100 feet tall. Naturalised in some parts of Northeast USA where it grows to around 70 feet tall in rich, moist soils.


Lime  (Not the same as the fruit trees which are a citrus.)  Growing 50 - 130 feet tall dependent upon variety right across Europe. 

American Lime  AKA American Basswood or Linden, (Tilia americana) an important tree of eastern hardwoods forests growing to around 60 feet tall as well as in the uplands and valleys with moist soils from Maine to North Carolina and west to Missouri.



Boxelder (Acer negundo) grows to around 30-60 feet on stream banks and valleys with wet or moist soils.  Found in S Alberta through Ontario and New York, south to S Texas and central Florida; to 8000 feet elevation in the Southwest.

Red Maple (Ace rubrum) grows 60-90 feet tall liking damp soils.  Growing to elevations of 6000 feet from SW Manitoba and N Minnesota to Newfoundland and south to East Texas and South Florida.

Sycamore  Found around Europe and the Eastern USA (however, for American Sycamore see under Plane) growing to a mature height of about 100 feet on and is resistant to strong winds and salt laden coastal air.


Oak  There are over 600 varieties of Oak.   In the main they are mostly a northern hemisphere tree, plus tropical south-east Asia, Central and South America.  Dependent upon the variety trees can be from 26 feet to 130 feet tall when fully mature.

Black Oak  (Quercus velutina) grows to around 80 feet tall on sandy and rocky ridges, but clay soil on hillsides. To elevations of 5000 feet in SE Minnesota and S Ontario to SW Maine, E Texas and NW Florida.

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) grows more northerly than any other oak in North America, but can also be found in Europe (inc UK) growing to 80 feet tall.  Found in the US in SE Saskatchewan and N Dakota to New Brunswick and Tennessee to SE Texas, Louisiana and Alabama at elevations of 300-2000 feet, highest in the North West.

Live Oak is an evergreen Oak growing to around 50 feet on sandy soils and near marshes.  Found from SE Virginia to S Florida, west to S Texas; local in SW Oklahoma and NE New Mexico up to 300 feet elevation.

Pin Oak  (Quercus palustris) named for its long bristles (pins) grows 50-90 feet tall on clay and other poorly drained areas. Found only to elevations of 1000 feet from Vermont to Massachusetts to North Carolina and S Iowa, Kansas and NE Oklahoma.

White Oak (Quercus alba) is one of the largest oaks in North America growing to 100 feet tall liking moist, well-drained soils in Central Minnesota, S Ontario to Maine to Texas and N Florida to elevations of 5500 feet, although higher in the southern Appalachians.


Pear Native to Europe and western Asia, but now naturalised in Maine to Florida, Texas and Missouri.  Growing to around 40 feet in clearings with moist soils.



Sycamore – American, also called Buttonwood or American Planetree, (Plaanus occidentalis) grows 60-100 feet on stream banks, flood plains and in mixed forests.  Across E Nebrask to SW Maine, south to Central Texas and NW Florida to elevations of 3200 feet.



American Plum (Prunus americana) grows to around 30 feet in valleys and low slopes with moist soil.  Found in SE Saskatchewan to New Hampshire, south to Florida, Oklahoma and Montana to around 3000 feet elevation.



Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is the most widely distributed tree in North America growing up to 70 feet on gravely slopes and moist soils.   Growing to sea level in the North, but up to 10000 feet elevation in the south.

Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) is about the largest hardwood in the East of USA, growing up to five feet a year, in wet soils, reaching 100 feet in height.

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra) Planted all around the world growing up to 100 feet tall, liking temperate areas with moist soils.

White Poplar (Populus alba) is native to Europe and Asia, but now naturalised throughout North America growing to 80 feet tall in moist soils.

Yellow Poplar aka Tuliptree or Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) grow up to 120 feet tall liking valleys and moist slopes with well-drained soils. Found from Michigan and S Ontario to Vermont and south to Louisiana and Florida at elevations to 1000 feet in the North and 4500 feet in the south.



Eastern White Pine grows over 100 feet tall on well drained sandy soils in the US from SE Manitoba and Minnesota east to Newfoundland and New England, south to NE Iowa and N Georgia at sea level to 2000 feet elevation and to 5000 feet in the southern Appalachians.  In the UK it is also known as the Weymouth Pine.

Scots Pine is native to Europe and Asia, but naturalised locally from SE Canada to Iowa, and east to New England.  Growing to around 70 feet tall on sandy to loamy soils.  (Americans sometimes call this the Scotch Pine; the Scottish know that scotch refers only to the amber nectar or a type of pepper)

Stone Pine  Originally from Southern Europe, but now widespread including the USA and Australia.  Grows to around 65 feet tall.


Rowan also known as Mountain Ash although not an Ash, grows across North, West and Central Europe. Growing to heights of 65 feet it can sometimes be found in mountains to about 3500 feet elevation, seemingly growing from bare rock.



Giant Sequoia  (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is one of the tallest, and longest living trees in the world.  Growing to 250 feet tall with a 20 foot diameter trunk mature sequoias are typically more than 1500 years old.  Found on moist mountain slopes with rocky soils and in groves with other conifers.  Found on the western slope of Sierra Nevada in Central California at elevations of 4500 - 7500 feet.


Sycamore See under Maple for European and Plane for American.



Black Willow (Salix Nigra) likes damp conditions and can often be found with Cottonwoods.  Grows from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Coast, south through Mississippi Valley to Gulf Coast up to 5000 feet elevation.  Height 60-100 feet dependent on circumstances. Most important willow in North America – furniture, toys, barrels and pulpwood.

Goat Willow known as Pussy Willow  (Salix Discolor) likes damp conditions and can often be found in conifer forests. Grows Europe and western Asia to around 35 feet tall; in NE Canada & New England south to Delaware, west to British Columbia and North Dakota up to 4000 feet elevation, but only around 20 feet tall.

White Willow is found across Europe and Western Asia growing to around 80 feet tall, thriving on damp soils – subspecies variant is Cricket Bat Willow sometimes referred to as the Blue Willow.

Weeping Willow  (Salix Babylonica) A Chinese native grows in open areas near water around 40 - 60 feet tall. Found across Europe; S Ontario and Quebec to Missouri and Georgia. 


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