There are hundreds of ferns, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that are native to the State of Louisiana. Louisiana features a subtropical climate with moist soils. This windy climate has an average annual temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit and receives 48 inches of rain annually.
The Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is an ornamental evergreen tree native to the state of Louisiana. Magnolia trees prefer acidic or slightly alkaline, well-drained soils, where they receive partial sunlight. This tree matures to a height of 60 to 80 feet and has a spread of 30 to 40 feet. Southern magnolia trees feature simple, alternate leaves that are elliptical in shape. These leaves measure 8 to 12 inches in length and remain green year-round. This tree is most commonly identified by the showy white flowers that it yields in the spring and summer months. These fragrant flowers measure 8 inches in diameter and add ornamental value to residential and commercial landscapes alike.
The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is the Louisiana state tree and is a common specimen tree grown in residential and commercial landscapes throughout the state. Bald cypress trees mature to a height of 100 to 150 feet and have a spread of 25 to 35 feet. This pyramidal-shaped tree features dense foliage and can grow in excess of 25 inches annually. The simple, alternate leaves are less than 2 inches in length and turn a showy yellow or copper color in the fall before falling to the ground. This tree is easily identified by its showy trunk that grows from a single leader. The trunk of the bald cypress has "knees," which are more specifically projections of the root that are visible above the surface. This tree requires little pruning to maintain healthy growth, but it can be pruned to create hedges or screens.
The buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is an ornamental shrub that reaches 6 to 12 feet in height and has a spread comparable to the height. It is a slow-growing bush, growing less than 12 inches annually, and it features simple, evergreen leaves that measure 4 to 8 inches in length. In the spring, the buttonbush produces white flowers that emit a pleasant aroma and attract butterflies. This plant thrives in acidic or slightly alkaline soils where it receives partial shade. Buttonbushes are commonly used as a borders, for mass planting or as specimen shrubs.
- Photo Credit cypress swamp image by William Knapp from Fotolia.com
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