Book Review: Urban Forests: A Natural History

I was researching the history of a centennial elm on Old Saybrook's Main Street when Maggie Redfern (Conn College Arboretum) suggested that I pick up a copy of "Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees in the American Cityscape" by Jill Jonnes. The cover looks like a textbook and the title is about as exciting, but never judge a book by its cover. The writing in "Urban Forests" is clear and moves quickly, with lots of anecdotes and a light touch. For those who love trees and landscapes, this specialized book is a great read.

Thinking about native trees

Pussy Willow

The soft paws of pussy willow, a small native tree, go hand in hand with late February in the southern New England town where I live. But apparently we'll have to stick to town and city streets to find Salix discolor (its other name), because in a number of places, they are considered almost gone from the wild landscape.

They are not alone. For more examples, think balsam fir (Abies balsamea), eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), inkberry (Ilex glabra), fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), sweet gum tree, (Liquidambar styraciflua).

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