Home to an ecological diversity that includes mountain ranges in the north and swamplands in the south, Georgia boasts of a variety of ecosystems where a wide range of plants and trees thrive. Microclimates give rise to certain types of plants and trees that have adapted uniquely to their surroundings. For instance, according to our knowledgeable arborists, the eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) abounds in the cool, mountainous region of northern Georgia but is rarely seen in the southern part of the state where the heat and humidity restrict its growth.

Below are five common trees that are native to the Peach State with their Latin names and a brief description for each one.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Indigenous to the southeast region of the country, this magnificent tree is usually found along swamps and streams near the coast. Its evergreen leaves are typically two to three inches wide and from five up to 10 inches long. The leaves are glossy, smooth and bright green.

Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus octandra)

Also known as sweet buckeye or big buckeye, this tree can reach heights of 110 feet, making it an excellent shade tree. It grows abundantly in the Great Smoky Mountains of southeastern United States. In Georgia, it can be found in the eastern and northern parts of the state. The seeds of this tree can be harmful to animals as they contain a poisonous glucuside.

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovate)

Occurring mostly in the fertile soils of the southwest and northern parts of Georgia, the wood of this hardy tree is often used to give meat a characteristically rich and smoky aroma and flavor. It is a tough and shock-resistant hardwood that is often used for agricultural implements.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Found on fertile, well-drained areas throughout Georgia, the dogwood is mainly an ornamental tree due to its colorful and showy flowers. Its light brown, close-grained wood surface is often tinged with red, making it an attractive and popular choice for decorative handles.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

A small tree, sassafras can be found all over the Peach State. Its leaves and twigs are highly aromatic and its roots have been used to brew a spicy tea with a distinctly piquant flavor. Its oil is also a common ingredient used in perfumed soaps.

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