Why Plant Native Trees?

Native trees, and other climate adapted plants, have grown in cooperation with the animals, birds and butterflies of the region, and offer food and habitat that help the ecology thrive. In addition to our tree collection, all plants added to the Park are native to the region as well.

An example is the much maligned Black Cherry tree (Prunus serotina), often referred to as a "weed tree", which has evolved to offer nectar and pollen to native pollinators and honey bees. According to well-known entomologist, ecologist and author, Dr. Doug Tallamy, the small red or black fruits are a favorite food of more than 40 species of birds, as well as many mammals.

Black Cherry also serves as the host plant for an amazing array of butterflies and moths – more than 450 species, including: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cherry Gall Azure, Viceroy, Columbia Silkmoth, Promethea Moth, Small-eyed Sphinx Moth, Wild Cherry Sphinx Moth, Banded Tussock Moth, Band-edged Prominent, Spotted Apatelodes and Red-Spotted Purple.

Dr. Tallamy explains that the Black Cherry and other prunus are his #2 ecological pick after his top choice - Native Oaks.

Amelanchier Arborea Tree

Amelancher Arborea - Downy Serviceberry

Meaning of Piedmont Native

Piedmont Region Map

The Piedmont Region is a plateau located in the eastern United States. It sits between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south.

Native trees are those naturally occurring in this region and historically found in this geographic area.

Determination of native status, for the purposes of planting at McFarlane, are verified with Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States, Alan S. Weakley, University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU).

Goals of the Tree Collection

The Tree collection at McFarlane Nature Park includes at least one specimen of every Piedmont-Native tree appropriate to the site.

Making this tree collection accessible enables:

1. Visitors to acquaint themselves with the trees that naturally grow here.

2. Students to learn and examine the trees.

3. Tree species to be conserved.

4. Native trees to be available to birds and insects that co-evolved with them in the Piedmont.

5. Visitors to see trees that are not readily available to purchase on their own properties which they may want to special order from a nearby nursery.

Some, like our spectacular Ginkgos, are not at home here...