The Native Trees of Newfoundland

Naturally occurring trees in Newfoundland.
Trees that spread to Newfoundland by natural means following
(or toward the end of) the last glacial period about 12,500 years ago.
The name immediately following the name of each tree
is the person (botanical author) who first described that tree in botanical literature.

Red pine (Pinus resinosa) P88 understory in April (handsaw for scale).

Needles from the Red pine drop to the ground and turn reddish in colour as they decompose on the forest floor. At this point (22 years after the Red pine seedlings were planted), the needles are 5-10 cm thick on the ground. Because their chemical compostion differs from the original vegetation, they are now changing the chemistry of the soil.

Black spruce and cones (handsaw for scale)

Related information and and previous trees:

Black spruce
Picea mariana)

White spruce (Picea glauca) and open cones in February

Paper (White) birch recovery from moose browsing damage


- cone bearing trees
- oldest fossils about 300 million years old

Balsam Fir, Abies balsamea (Linnaeus) Miller, quite common, very susceptible to balsam woolly aphid (Adelges piceae) insect attack and most trees aren't very healthy past 30 years, the wood rots quickly outdoors but is okay for indoor construction, makes a good fast firewood when dry however the burning wood produces many sparks which can be troublesome

White Spruce, Picea glauca (Moench) Voss, quite common, Newfoundland's toughest native evergreen conifer, needles will roll between fingers (needles of Balsam fir are flat and won't roll between fingers), White spruce doesn't self-prune well and as a result its lumber often has many knots 

Larch, Tamarack, Larix laricina (DuRoi) Karl Koch, quite common and very resistant to adverse weather, known locally in Newfoundland as juniper, needs full sunlight to grow well (larch is shade intolerant), 100% of the seeds are often attacked and destroyed in the cones by cone maggots, the wood has a natural resin which acts as a preservative making larch a good choice for fence posts

Larch bent by frequent strong winds

Black Spruce, Picea mariana (Miller) Britton, Sterns, and Poggenburg, common, long wood fibres make it a favourite for paper making, Black spruce is the provincial tree of Newfoundland and Labrador, needles will roll between fingers (needles of Balsam fir are flat and won't roll between fingers),    

Red Pine, Pinus resinosa  (Aiton), rare, slow growing, confined to fewer than perhaps 20 public and private stands on the island of Newfoundland, shoots have 2 long needles per bundle, needles will snap cleanly in two when bent (needles of White pine will not snap cleanly in two when bent), new shoots/candles are damaged by hard late spring frost, Red pine require full direct unimpeded exposure to the sun - ideally from sunrise to sunset, newly planted stands of Red pine will not survive shade from alders that often invade young plantations (alders must be removed)

Image 1 - P88 Red pine in southwestern Newfoundland (August 16, 2009). Note bottle for scale.

Image 2 - P88 stand of Red pine in southwestern Newfoundland (September 5, 2009)

White Pine, Pinus strobus (Linnaeus), rare, shoots have 5 needles per bundle, susceptible to white pine blister rust fungi (Cronartium ribicola) which uses currants (Ribes sp.) as the intermediate host  


- flowering trees
- oldest fossils about 120 million years old
- ancestors diverged from the gymnosperms 200-250 millions years ago

White Birch, Betula papyrifera (Marshall), quite common, excellent firewood when dry (after 6-9 months), susceptible to birch case borer which eats leaves, grows in attractive groves sometimes with 6-8 large trees growing from one stump, generally will grow again from the stump when cut/remove, favoured by beavers for construction of dams,

Speckled Alder
, Alnus rugosa (DuRoi) Sprengel, quite common, fixes atmospheric nitrogen and hence can quickly colonize poor/marginal sites

Pin Cherry, Prunus pensylvanica (Linnaeus), common, excellent firewood with a pleasant odour, the embers form distinctive patterns in the hearth, they are attacked by a fungus (Black knot fungus - Apiosporina morbosa) and die relatively young, beavers favour them for dam construction,

Dogberry, Showy Mountain Ash, Sorbus decora (Sargent) Schneider, common, the berries are a favourite autumn food for birds, the wood has a pungent odour when freshly cut,

Black Ash, Fraxinus nigra (Marshall), very rare
Yellow Birch, Betula alleghaniensis (Britton), rare, prefers a northerly facing growing site, the most dense native wood (~705 kg/cubic metre, ~44 lbs/cubic foot) and hence the best firewood in Newfoundland, easily distinguished from White birch by the wintergreen odour of a cut twig when brought near the nose, birch bark is somewhat bright shiny yellowish or 'golden' in colour and naturally peels from the trunk, the tree trunk often partially covered by green moss  

Yellow birch (trunk/bole)

Trembling Aspen, Populus tremuloides (Michaux F.), uncommon

Choke Cherry, Prunus virginiana (Linnaeus), uncommon, a pretty flowering spring tree that forms reddish berries that have a beautiful lustre in autumn, they tend to grow alone or in small isolated stands, the trees are attacked by a fungus (Black knot fungus - Apiosporina morbosa) and die relatively young

Mountain Maple, Acer spicatum (Lamarck), uncommon, generally a small slender flexible tree that grows in shaded areas under larger trees (often Yellow birch), trunk diameter usually less than 10 cm (~ 4 inches) and height not usually more than 3 metres (~10 feet), 3 metre trees can be bent to the ground without breaking,

  • Related Links:

    Heating values of common woods of Newfoundland

    A country log ditty

    Working list of trees at arboretum and breeding sites 

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