North Carolina has many native flowering trees growing in its forests and other areas throughout its diverse regions. The Western North Carolina Nature Center lists dozens of native flowering trees that grow in the state. Native trees are those that occur naturally in the state and have adapted and evolved to fit the environmental characteristics of the region in which they grow.
The flowering dogwood, or Cornus florida, is the state flower of North Carolina and is one of the state's most common flowering trees, according to Will Cook at Duke University. The white bracts surround the small, yellowish-green flowers, which grow from four-section buds. The leaves are heavily veined and the tree's red fruit ripens in September and lasts through winter. The bark on mature trees has a broken, squared pattern. The leaves turn a deep purple-red color in fall.
The fringe tree, or Chionanthus virginicus, is also known as "old man's beard" for the way its flowers grow. The fringe tree is classified as a shrub and tree, and it grows to about 20 feet. The blooms are masses of white, spiky flowers that grow downward like a beard. The tree blooms in midspring and requires full or partial sun. The fringe tree has its most impressive display of blooms in mid-April to May. The fringe tree is the only tree in the North Carolina that is native, deciduous and has large, opposite leaves, according to the North Carolina Native Plant Society.
The common persimmon tree, or Dyospyros virginiana, has small, bell-shaped flowers, according to the Will Cook site at Duke University. The fruit of the common persimmon is edible and sweet when fully ripe. The tree bark appears to be broken into blackened squares. The tree's small branches are hairy and the buds appear blackened.
The eastern redbud, or Circis canadensis, has large, heart-shaped, alternate leaves, according to Virginia Tech. The eastern redbud is classified as a shrub or a tree, depending on its size. Trees grow to 30 feet tall and often have short, twisted trunks. The tree's flowers appear in showy clusters of pink to light-purple, pea-like blooms. Flower clusters often grow from the trunk. The trunks of eastern redbuds are often forked. The tree's fruit is a flat, brown legume that contains seeds.
- NC Native Plant Society: Natives
- Duke University: Flowering Dogwood
- NC Native Plant Society: Fringe Tree
- Duke University: Common Persimmon
- Virginia Tech: Eastern Redbud
- Duke University: Trees, Shrubs and Wood Vines of North Carolina
- NC Native Plant Society: Growing Native
- NC Cooperative Extension Services: Small and Intermediate Trees for North Carolina
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.