You can spot all of the following common species in this stand. Click Here to learn the basics of tree identification.
- American beech (Fagus grandifolia): Beech has very distinctive smooth, grey bark, and smooth, toothed, unlobed leaves. The large trees here are infected with the beech-bark disease, which is spread by an introduced insect similar to the aphid.
- Yellow birch (Betula lutea): About fifty feet past the first grove of beech, below the trail, there are some very large yellow birches. Their bark is not as smooth or glossy as on young trees, but still shows coppery tones in the sunlight.
- Black cherry (Prunus serotina): The forest along this stretch has a lot of large black cherry trees, distinguishable by their “burnt potato chip” bark. Black cherry wood is a lustrous red-brown and is highly valued for furniture and veneer.
- Paper birch (Betula papyrifera): Paper birch is distinguishable by its striking white bark that peels off in horizontal layers. Don’t peel it off, though, because it is bad for the tree!
- Sweet birch (Betula lenta): Sweet, or black birch has very dark bark that peels off in rectangular blocks or flakes that can resemble black cherry. It is distinguishable by the horizontal ridging on younger trees, which resembles the bark patterns on both yellow and paper birch. If you cut a slit in the bark or scratch a twig, sweet birch gives off a sweet, sharp, wintergreen smell; its sap is used to make birch beer.
- White ash (Fraxinus americana): All species of ash are characterized by compound, opposite leaves that are sparsely toothed. They have very evenly vertically-ridged grey bark. Currently, white ash is one of the most abundant native species on the Bennington College campus, but its future is threatened by the introduced emerald ash borer beetle.
- American and slippery elm (Ulmus americana, U. rubra) : These trees can both be identified by their simple, alternate, coarsely and doubly (small teeth on the big teeth) toothed leaves. The leaves are also very rough, almost like sandpaper, especially so on slippery elms. They have corky, supple bark that breaks off in small rectangular chunks and has layers of distinctly contrasting browns and tans.