List of Native Trees for Philadelphia

Dogwood - a tree native to Philadelphia
Dogwood – a tree native to Philadelphia. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Fairmount Park provides a “Recommended Street Tree List” that consists of both native and non-native trees. I modified that list by removing the non-native trees. The original list contains more trees that are suitable to harsh urban conditions of pollution, soil compaction and lack of water. It is just that those extra trees are not native to Philadelphia. Native trees are the best choice in boosting and somewhat restoring the city’s ecosystem.

The best results will come from matching the tree to the situation.

If you are concerned about a tree falling, perhaps a smaller tree would be best in that situation. Small and medium trees will work best under power lines.

Taller trees will work best with no overhead power lines, as they may not need to be trimmed. Trees that have a broad open canopy will provide wide-spread shade. If your tree will be planted on a street, a tall canopy tree will grow strong enough to withstand a car backing into it.

See also Street Trees

Tree Philly gives away free trees to Philadelphia residents each spring and fall. You order your tree, pick it up and plant it on your property or at your curb. National Arbor Day is always the last Friday in April, plant a tree to celebrate and thank the gift of the trees.

dogwood in spring
A Dogwood tree in spring.

A List of Native Trees

The following list only has trees that are native to Philadelphia. All the native trees listed will tolerate harsh urban conditions of pollution, soil compaction and lack of water.

See also: Leaf Colors of the Common Trees in the Oak-Hickory Forest 

Small Trees – (mature height under 30 feet)
Amelanchier x grandiflora — Seviceberry
Carpinus caroliniana — American RedBud
Crataegus crusgalli var. inermis — Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn
Prunus virginiana — Common Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana — “Shubert” — Canada Red Chokecherry

Medium Trees – (mature height 30 feet to 40 feet)
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis — Thornless Honeylocust
Ostrya virginiana – Hop Hornbeam

Large Trees – (mature height over 45 feet)
Acer rubrum “Autumn Flame” — Autumn Flame Red Maple
Acer rubrum “Red Sunset” — Red SUnset Red Maple
Acer saccharum “Green Mountain” — Green Mountain Sugar Maple
Fraxinus americana ” Autumn Purple” — Autumn Purple White Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica “Marshall’s Seedless” — Green Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica “Patmore” — Patmore Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica “Summit” — Summit Ash
Quercus shumardii — Shumard Oak

Narrow Streets
Acer rubrum “Armstrong” — Fastigate Red Maple
Acer saccharum “Goldspire” — Goldspire Maple
Quercus palustris “Pringreen” — Green Pillar Pin Oak

Boulevard or Park Trees
Carya glabra — Pignut Hickory
Carya ovata — Shagbark Hickory
Juniperus virginiana — “princeton Sentry” — Eastern Redcedar
Liquidambar styraciflua — Tuliptree
Nyssa sylvatica — Black Tupelo
Quercus alba — White Oak
Quercus bicolor — Swamp White Oak
Quercus palustris — Pin Oak
Quercus phellos — Willow Oak
QUercus rubra — Red Oak
Ulmus americana “Delaware” — Delaware American Elm

vibrant autumn colors of local trees
vibrant autumn colors of local trees. Photo by Donna L. Long

More About Native Trees

Common trees of PA is a free, downloadable identification key of native and naturalized tree species.

Books on Native Plants for Pennsylvania, the MidAtlantic, and the Northeast – links to

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded by Doug Tallamy – this book started it all. Professor Tallamy explains the scientific reasons insects need native plants to support the ecosystem. Professor Tallamy focuses on native (indigenous) trees. Don’t miss this one. 

Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation by Donald Leopold – my favorite book on native plants. I refer to it often. There is an entire chapter on native trees.

Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States: The Guide to Creating a Sustainable Landscape by Tony Dove

Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants by Heather N. Holm

Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide by Heather N. Holm

Gardening and Landscaping with Native Plants

Landscaping with Native Plants in PA


White Oak Tree leaves backlit by the Sun
White Oak Tree leaves backlit by the Sun. Photo by Donna L. Long.

More on Native Trees and Plants

Native Plants of Pennsylvania Links and Plant Lists 

Healthy Forest – Restoring the WIssahickon

Summer Blooming Native Plants


One comment

  1. Donna: Carpinus caught my eye, since I’ve just recently memorized it. I double checked and it’s hornbeam. I didn’t check the rest of the list. Thanks for your posts

    Dana Sullivan

We're Listening

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.