Return to Big Trees


Hardwood trees differ from conifers (softwoods) in several important ways. Hardwood trees belong to a class of trees known as angiosperms, which means they produce seeds with some type of outside covering. This might be a fruit, such as a pear or an apple, or a nut with a hard casing such as an acorn or a pecan. By contrast, conifers are part of the class of trees known as gymnosperms, which means they produce seeds (cones) with no covering.

Also, unlike conifers, hardwood trees typically have broad leaves (not needles), some type of flower, and are usually deciduous—meaning their leaves drop in the colder months. While these rules apply in most cases, not all hardwoods are necessarily deciduous (the American holly is an evergreen, for example) and, likewise, not all conifers are evergreen (baldcypress, dawn-redwood, and larch all drop their needles). Hardwood trees offer valuable benefits to society (e.g., aspirin was originally derived from willow bark), timber products, energy savings, as well as food for people and wildlife.

The table below contains links to Hardwoods included in the 5th Edition of “Big Trees of Delaware”. The data is periodically updated between editions as trees get remeasured or new trees get discovered.

Hardwood Tree Species 
Green ashSand hickoryWillow oak
White ashShagbark hickoryBur oak
American basswoodShellbark hickoryChestnut oak
Littleleaf lindenAmerican hollyOvercup oak
American beechAmerican hornbeamPost oak
European beechKentucky coffeetreeSwamp chestnut oak
River birchBlack locustWhite oak
Ohio buckeyeBigleaf magnoliaPaw-paw
Horse-chestnutCucumber magnoliaPersimmon
Sweet buckeyeSaucer magnoliaEastern cottonwood
DuPont buckeyeSouthern magnoliaBigtooth aspen
CatalpaSweetbay magnoliaRedbud
Black cherryRed mapleSassafras
Sweet cherrySilver mapleSweetgum
DogwoodSugar mapleLondon planetree
American elmBlack oakSycamore
Slippery elmLaurel oakBlackhaw viburnum
GinkgoNorthern red oakBlack walnut
HackberryPin oakButternut
Bitternut hickoryScarlet oakEnglish walnut
Mockernut hickoryShingle oakYellow-poplar
Pignut hickorySouthern red oakZelkova
PecanWater oakUnusual Trees