Mississippi State University

Table of Contents


  1. Campus Tree Trail

    MSU is home to more than 10,000 tree species and varieties. Each year the university plants 80-100 new ones. This tour will introduce you to some of the trees living on Mississippi State's campus.


    1. Live Oak

      Live oak
      Spanish oak

      Quercus virginiana Miller
      Family: Fagaceae

      Habitat and Ecology:

      Site: common in dry, sandy woods; occasionally occurs in moist deciduous

      forests, roadsides, and borders of salt marshes

      Soil Texture: medium - coarse

      Soil pH: 4.5 - 6.5

      Range: Virginia; south to Florida; west to Texas; in Mississippi, reported by the NRCS Plants Database in the counties of Washington, Hinds, Copiah, Adams, Amite, Wilkinson, Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson



      Type: simple, alternate, persistent
      Size: 1.38” - 4.0” long; 0.75” - 2.0” wide
      Margin: entire

      Apex: rounded; may have bristle tip

      Base: cuneate to rounded

      Shape: oblong

      Color: light to dark green above; grayish green below

      Surface: shiny above; densely pubescent below

      Venation: pinnate


      Size: slender, rigid

      Color: gray

      Surface: juvenile pubescent; older smooth; leaf scars half-round; numerous bundle scars


      Size: < 0.13” long

      Shape: ovate, nearly globular

      Color: reddish brown

      Surface: several light brown scales with pale margins

      Fruit and Flowers:

      Nut: acorn, annual; cup goblet-shaped, light gray scales with reddish tips, often pubescent, encloses 25 - 50% of nut

      Size: 0.63” - 1.0” long
      Shape: narrowly oblong
      Color: dark brown to black

      Flower: monoecious; unisexual; staminate, yellow, hairy catkins, 3.0” long; pistillate, in few-flowered spikes , 1.0” - 3.0” long


      Bark: dark reddish brown to nearly black; furrowed; separating into small appressed scales

      Physical Attributes:

      Form: single stem

      Size: 50.0’ - 80.0’, mature

      Growth Rate: 25.0’ maximum @ 20 yrs

      Life Span: (>100 yrs)

      Tolerances: Shade: medium Drought: medium Fire: low Anaerobic: medium


      Propagation: seed (no cold stratification required); bare root; container

      Other: resprout/coppice potential


      Wildlife Value and Uses:
      acorns important food source for northern bobwhite, mallard, sap- suckers, wild turkey, black bear, squirrel, and white-tailed deer; provides cover for birds and mammals; rounded clumps of ball moss found in live oak used for nest construction


      Timber Value and Uses: heavy, strong wood; of little use commercially although suitable for construction; excellent species for reforestation to prevent soil erosion; originally cleared for agriculture; potential for revegetating coal mine spoils.


      Landscaping Info: used for shade and as an ornamental; fast growing if well watered and soil conditions are good; 4 feet in the first year; extremely hard to kill because it sprouts vigorously from the root collar; susceptible to freezing temperatures and acid rain


      Other Facts: first publicly owned forestland at the end of the eighteenth century was for the purpose of preserving the supply of southern live oak for the Navy’s shipbuilding needs; considered "one of the noblest trees in the world and virtually an emblem of the Old South"; protected today for public enjoyment

    2. Leland Cypress

      Cupressus × leylandii

    3. American Sycamore (Moon Tree)

    4. Southern Magnolia

    5. Green Ash

    6. Bald cypress

    7. Willow Oak

    8. Ginkgo

    9. Southern Pecan

    10. Yellow Poplar

    11. Sweetbay magnolia

    12. Common fig

    13. Saucer magnolia

    14. Japanese maple

    15. Ginkgo (Melting tree)

    16. Slash pine

      slash pine
      Pinus elliottii Engelm.
      Family: Pinaceae

      Habitat and Ecology:

      Site: low ground; swamps, hammocks, along streams; often invasive on abandoned fields

      Soil Texture: fine – medium Soil pH: 4.0 – 6.4

      Range: grows naturally from Georgetown County, SC, south to central Florida, and west to Tangipahoa Parish, LA; native range includes the lower Coastal Plain, part of the middle Coastal Plain, and the hills of south Georgia; established (by planting) as far north as Tennessee, in north central Georgia, and Alabama; planted and direct-seeded in Louisiana and eastern Texas where it now reproduces naturally; in Mississippi, reported by the NRCS Plants Database primarily in the coastal counties.




      Type: 2-3 per fascicle; evergreen; persistent for 2 seasons

      Size: 7.0” - 12.0” long; fascicle sheaths 0.5” - 0.75” long

      Color: dark green

      Characteristics: shiny; short; stiff; straight


      Size: stout

      Color: light orange-brown

      Characteristics: rough; ridged by compact arrangement of needles and scales


      Size: 0.5” - 0.75” long

      Shape: elliptic - ovate

      Color: rusty brown

      Surface: free at tips


      Pollen Cones: purplish brown; 0.5” - 2.0” long; dense clusters at base of terminal buds

      Ovulate Cones: pinkish purple; at tip of elongating twigs; solitary or paired

      Mature Cones:

      Size: 3.0” - 7.0” long

      Shape: ovoid to elongated, cylindrical

      Characteristics: lustrous tan scales; scale prickle small recurved; not extremely sharp

      Seed: 0.25” long; black ridged; triangular; wing 1.0” long, translucent, thin, encircles seed


      Bark: dark reddish brown to nearly black; furrowed; separating into small appressed scales

      Physical Attributes:

      Form: single stem

      Size: 100.0’, mature

      Growth Rate: 60.0’ maximum @ 20 yrs

      Life Span: (>100 yrs)


      Shade: low

      Drought: low

      Fire: low

      Anaerobic: medium


      Propagation: seed (cold stratification required); bare root; container

      Other: no resprout/coppice potential



      Wildlife Value and Uses: 
      seeds are an excellent food source for gray and fox squirrel and wild turkey; dense foliage provides protective cover for many wildlife species during inclement weather


      Timber Value and Uses: major source of naval stores ( turpentine, and rosin); used for a variety of other purpose including poles, railroad ties, and pilings; planted to stabilize the soil on eroding slopes and strip mine spoil banks, where its rapid early growth is an advantage over slower growing species


      Landscaping Info: adaptable to a variety of site and topographic conditions, but grows best on pond margins and in drainages where soil moisture is ample but not excessive and the soil is well aerated; a number of cultivars and improved materials are available


       Other Facts: The naval stores industry is one of the oldest in the United States, and has supplied a large portion of the resin and turpentine used throughout the world since colonial times. In many early forests, gum was the primary and sometimes the only product harvested.


    17. Nuttall Oak

    18. Water oak

    19. Red maple

    20. Post Oak