Ornamental Trees

Ohio Buckeye Pride-of-India Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven

What are they?

This group draws together a mixed bunch of trees which are essentially introduced, garden plants which may occasionally be found in the wider countryside (and thus could be taken as a wild plant), or which may be a strong feature of the Cape May landscape and thus catch the plant hunter's eye.

Where are they found?

Most likely to be found in urban or semi-urban areas, waste ground or - occasionally - on the site of a former house which may have long since gone.


This is a mixed bunch which should be readily identifiable from the pictures presented below.

Ohio Buckeye      Aesculus glabra

A small to medium-sized, sometimes shrubby, tree. Native to North America but not native in Cape May County. Known from a small tree on Nature Conservancy property near Cape May Point - origin unknown but not likely to have been planted. Flowers May.
Ohio Buckeye Ohio Buckeye
Flowers & leaves

Pride-of-India      Koelreuteria paniculata

(Goldenrain Tree) Native to Asia. Not known to be established in the wild but included here as this is a very showy and eye-catching species when in flower or fruit.
Pride-of-India Pride-of-India Pride-of-India Pride-of-India
Flower panicle
Flowers close-up
Seed capsules
Pride-of-India Pride-of-India
Winter bud

Tree-of-heaven      Ailanthus altissima

Native to Asia but now well-established as a persistent and invasive alien in many places. A fast-growing tree which seeds freely and spreads rapidly on waste ground and other marginal habitats if left unchecked. Widespread and common. Flowers June to July. Bark pale gray; young trees have a mosaic of flaky patches, with diamond-shaped markings similar to those found on poplar trees, but older trees show trunks with vertical grooves.
Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven
Flowers close-up
Young leaves
flushed purple

Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven Tree-of-heaven
Leaflet base
with short lobes
Seed clusters
Winter twig
Bark on young tree

Foxglove-tree      Paulownia tomentosa

(Princesstree) Introduced from Asia. A fairly common garden tree which rarely turns up self-seeded in the wild. Flowers May. Bare stems can look similar to Tree-of-heaven, while large leaves resemble those of the catalpas. Easily identified when in flower; during the winter, trees old enough to have flowered can easily be told by the clusters of wooden seed pods that remain on the tree well into the following year.
Foxglove-tree Foxglove-tree Foxglove-tree Foxglove-tree
Leaf underside
seed pods

Foxglove-tree Foxglove-tree
Winter bud