White Flowering Tree Identification
While there are dozens of species of trees that produce white flowers, several varieties remain among the most popular and adaptable to a wide range of growing areas. These include flowering crabs, flowering dogwoods, hawthorns, flowering pears, flowering peaches, cherry trees, and magnolia trees.
In some cases, the flowers appear before the trees have leafed out, a welcome sight in many areas in the early spring.
At an average height of 20 to 25 feet, flowering crabapples are compact landscaping trees. Their leaves are bright glossy green, and they bear clusters of single pinkish flowers in the spring that eventually turn white before producing small red berries that are a favourite with birds. Sometimes grown as large shrubs, they can be cut back to a single trunk. The branches spread to form a dense crown.
June marks the start of the hawthorn's flower show. Reddish leaves turn green, red, orange or purple, and small shiny reddish fruit appear and remain on the tree into the winter months. The hawthorn can grow as wide as it grows tall, often reaching a height of 25 feet.
The most popular of the flowering pears, the Bradford can grow up to 40 feet or more and produces snowy white blossoms in the spring. The green foliage turns red in the fall. It is grown primarily as an ornamental tree.
White Flowering Dogwood
Growing in no distinct pattern, this free-spirited tree generally reaches a height of no more than 20 feet. Its fragrant showy white flowers appear before the leaves do in the spring, and last for quite some time. The tree produces a profusion of white single flowers, and its leave turn red in the fall. This tree also produces yellow or red berrylike fruit that is highly poisonous to humans.
Large and very impressive double snow-white flowers are this tree's distinctive feature. It's a fast grower that tops out at 20 feet, and it does best if pruned back every year after its blooming period end.
The Yoshino cherry in particular, a gift from the Japanese to the U.S. in 1912, is the star attraction each year the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. A spectacular ornamental tree, its mildly fragrant white and pink blossoms appear every year some time in March.
While some magnolia trees bear pinkish flowers, a few varieties, such as the Ballerina magnolia, are known to produce white flowers in the spring. Ranging in height from 20 to 30 feet, its dark green leaves turn yellow and orange in the fall.
- Chest of Books: The Best Ornamental Flowering Trees
- Petersen Field Guide to Eastern Trees, George A. Petrides, 1988