Chinese tallow tree is a deciduous tree growing up to 40’ tall and native to China and Japan. It was introduced in the 1700s as an ornamental valued for its shade and fall coloration, and to be cultivated for seed oil but has become invasive throughout southeastern US to Texas, and is a Red Alert pest in California. Growing especially well in open fields and abandoned farmland, roadsides, vacant lots, natural wet prairies, and bottomlands, Chinese tallow tree replaces native vegetation. It’s high reproductive capacity, vigor, lack of natural enemies, and resistance to control attempts, contribute to its success. USDA Hardiness zones 8-10.

Red Bud (Cercis canadensis)
Rosy purple flowers in dense axillary cluster appear in spring before the large heart-shaped leaves. In fall the leaves turn yellow and in winter the zigzag branching pattern provides interest. This deciduous shrub to small tree is native to open woodlands, woodland edges, meadows, and roadsides from Pennsylvania and Nebraska, south to Florida and Texas. USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8

Pigeon Plum (Coccoloba diversifolia)
Pigeon plum is a small to medium-sized tree native to coastal regions of southern Florida from Cape Canaveral to the Florida Keys. The shiny dark green leathery four inch long leaves drop in March and are immediately replaced by red new growth. USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11

Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera)
Native to coastal areas of Florida, sea grape is an evergreen shrub resistant to wind and very tolerant of salt. It has large paddle like leaves and edible fruits. USDA Hardiness zones 9-11

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Persimmon is a shrubby deciduous tree that grows up to 60’ tall and is native from Connecticut to Kansas, south to Florida and Texas. It has edible fruit and distinctive bark that provides winter interest. USDA Hardiness zones 4-9

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Growing up to 40’ tall, sassafras is a deciduous tree native to open woods, meadows, rocky uplands, and roadsides from Maine to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas. It has mitten shaped leaves that turn yellow to red or purple in the fall. Plants tend to sucker and form dense thickets. USDA Hardiness zones 4-9

Bigleaf Snowbell (Styrax grandifolius)
Bigleaf snowbell is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing up to 20’ tall and native to southeastern US where it grows in the understory of upland hardwood forests from Virginia south to Florida, and west to Texas and Missouri. It has racemes of small white fragrant flowers in early summer. USDA Hardiness zones 7-9

Titi (Cyrilla racemiflora)
Growing up to 30’ tall this shrub or small tree is evergreen to semi-evergreen and native to southeastern US from Virginia to central Florida, west to eastern Texas where it grows in wet sites such as acid shrub bogs, wet pine flatlands, swamps, cypress domes, and on stream banks. USDA Hardiness zones 6-11

By Karen