16 Major Types Of Evergreen Trees (With Pictures & Names)


In botany, an evergreen is a plant which has foliage that remains green and functional through more than one growing season. This also pertains to plants that retain their foliage only in warm climates, and contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season. There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs. In this article, learn, about evergreen trees that are commonly used around the word for landscaping and related purposes.

Major Types Of Evergreen Trees

1. Cedar Trees

Cedrus, common English name cedar is an evergreen conifer tree that is popular for its weeping habit (gracefully drooping branches). It is often used as a specimen tree in parks and other large gardens and can also be used to line streets. The cedar is native to the mountains of the western Himalayas and the Mediterranean region.

Cedar trees are moderately rapid growers that can reach towering heights of 60 feet or more, depending on the variety and have spicy-resinous scented wood, thick ridged or square-cracked bark, and broad, level branches. The leaves vary from bright grass-green to dark green to strongly glaucous pale blue-green, depending on the thickness of the white wax layer which protects the leaves from desiccation.

Their size makes them inconvenient for small gardens, but they are majestic additions to sprawling backyards. Fortunately, these evergreen coniferous giants are low-maintenance, as long as they are grown in good soils. Most cedars grow quickly and become hardy enough to fend off common pests and diseases.

For cedar trees to grow robust, they need to be planted a certain way and given room to thrive. Seedlings should be placed 5 feet apart from one another to allow enough room. Cedars grow best in sunny spots, but will survive in shade, though their growth will slow. For the first month after planting, the soil of a new cedar should be kept moist and will need water every two days.

2. Fir Trees

Firs trees (Abies) are a genus of about 60 species of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range. Firs are most closely related to the genus Cedrus (cedar).

Firs are large trees, reaching heights of 10–60 m tall with trunk diameters of 0.5–4 m when mature. Firs can be distinguished from other members of the pine family by the way in which their needle-like leaves are attached singly to the branches with a base resembling a suction cup, and by their cones, which, like those of true cedars (Cedrus), stand upright on the branches like candles and disintegrate at maturity.

3. Pine Trees

Pine trees (genus Pinus) is a genus of about 120 species of evergreen conifers of the pine family (Pinaceae), distributed throughout the world but native primarily to northern temperate regions. Pine trees bear seed cones and which have bundles of needle-like leaves rather than the broad leaves commonly found on deciduous trees.

Most pine trees produce lateral branches in large whorls running up a straight trunk, which make the tree easy to climb. The bark covering the trunk and branches flakes off with large scales. The pine tree releases a strong pine scent when disturbed or overheated.

Pine trees are low-maintenance evergreen trees that thrive if you follow some pine tree care tips. There are many species and cultivars of pine, and you can select one that is hardy in your climate and the size you desire.

4. Juniper Trees

Juniper trees (genus Juniperus) is a genus of about 60 to 70 species of aromatic evergreen trees or shrubs of the cypress family, distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. A number of species are cultivated as ornamentals and are useful for their timber.

Characterized by columnar or conical shapes, all junipers are small with most reaching no more than 30 feet high. Some red cedar juniper specimens, however, can grow up to 90 feet. Junipers have short trunks with reddish-brown bark that cracks easily. Leaves are shaped like short needles and are gray-green or blue-green, growing in whorls of three on woody twigs. When crushed, the leaves often smell like lemons or apples. Unlike most trees, junipers are dioecious, meaning that individual plants produce either male or female flowers. Fruit is in the form of small green berries, which turn dark bluish purple when ripe. Each berry contains three to six seeds.

Most junipers offer at least some level of drought resistance, making them a good choice in more arid climates, though precautions should be taken in areas prone to wildfires.

5. Holly Trees

Holly trees and shrubs fall within the Ilex genus of plants—the only genus of the Aquifoliaceae family. There are about 480 deciduous and evergreen species within this genus, including trees, shrubs, and climbing lianas. They are native holly plants spread throughout the tropical and temperate regions of the world.

Hollies (Ilex spp.) make visually striking landscaping plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance. This evergreen plant comes in many sizes, ranging from shrubs that make excellent accent hedges to large trees. When planted in the perfect spot, these trees work well as showy ornamentals. Many female tree varieties have bright berries, typically red, yellow or white, that set off the dark green leaves and provides a habitat for various animals during cooler months.

Holly trees grow in a variety of habitats including woodlands, seaside areas, and dry, sandy hills. Some grow well in Mediterranean-style climates with periods of drought and heat. In the wild, holly trees tend to do best in areas with well-draining, fertile soil.

6. Thuja Trees

Thuja tree also commonly known as “Green Giant” arborvitae is native to Eastern Asia and North America. This evergreen conifer is a hybrid developed from a cross between the conifers Japanese arborvitae. Growing up to 4 feet yearly, it quickly develops into a mature tree, topping out at 40 feet tall and up to 30 feet wide. Dense, dark-green, open sprays of scale-like foliage form into a straight, pyramid-shaped form, changing to a slight bronze during winter and developing small, half-inch seed cones.

When grown in the right environment, this tree can reach up to 60 feet tall without trimming. “Green Giant” grows quickly to create thick hedges and screens, which need pruning to remain short. The steps to planting this hardy and handsome tree are relatively basic, and it will delight you with its stately presence in your landscape for years to come.

7. Cryptomeria Trees

Cryptomeria is a monotypic genus of conifer in the cypress family Cupressaceae. It includes only one species, Cryptomeria japonica. Sometimes called Japanese cedars, cryptomerias (Cryptomeria japonica) are large evergreen trees valued for their conical growth habit and densely packed, needlelike foliage. They are widely cultivated within United States.

Generally planted in most landscapes for its ornamental value; this handsome specimen tree retains its foliage year round, but the short, needle-like leaves appear bluish-green in spring and summer and turn bronze for fall and winter.

Cryptomerias tree grows quickly and is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and requires very little hands-on care during their life, but they must be planted in the correct way and during the right season to prevent common health issues such as root rot, dehydration and stress.

8. Olive Trees

The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub native to Mediterranean Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Olive trees have been planted in and around vineyards for thousands of years. The vineyards and olive groves of the Eastern Mediterranean region appear in some of the great religions’ oldest holy books. Olives have landscaping value because of silvery evergreen foliage and picturesque gnarled trunks.

The olive tree ranges in height from 3 to 12 metres (10 to 40 feet) or more and has numerous branches. Its leaves, leathery and lance-shaped, are dark green above and silvery on the underside and are paired opposite each other on the twig. The wood is resistant to decay. If the top dies back, a new trunk will often arise from the roots.

Olive trees bloom in late spring; small, whitish flowers are borne in loose clusters in the axils of the leaves. Flowers are of two types: perfect, containing both male and female parts, which are capable of developing into the olive fruits; and male, which contain only the pollen-producing parts. The trees may set a heavy crop one year and not even bloom the next.

The olive fruit is classed botanically as a drupe, similar to the peach or plum. Within the stone are one or two seeds. Olives are relatively low in sugar and high in oil content. All olives start out green and gradually ripen to a darker brown, reddish-purple, or black. The riper the olive, the darker the color. Ripeness also affects the flavor and texture. Green olives tend to retain a firm texture and a fruity, nutty flavor. As olives ripen, they soften to a meaty texture and a more complex flavor.

9. Hemlock Trees

Hemlock trees are graceful, evergreen conifers with droopy, flat sprays of foliage. Hemlock trees comprise of about 14 species of coniferous evergreen trees of the genus Tsuga of the family Pinaceae, native to North America and central and eastern Asia. Some are important timber trees, and many are popular ornamentals.

Hemlock trees can grow well over 100 feet tall, but since they can live more than 150 years, they take their time reaching their full height. The trees have straight trunks and scaly bark topped by a pyramidal canopy up to 30 feet wide.

A true hemlock is a tall pyramidal tree with purplish or reddish brown bark, slender horizontal or drooping branches, and short blunt leaves that grow from woody cushionlike structures on the twigs. The small cones hang from the branch tips and retain their scales when they fall. Each scale bears two winged seeds.

10. Spruce Trees

Spruce trees and shrubs are classified in the genus Picea, which includes 35 speciesIt’s considered part of the Pinaceae family, along with pinesfirs, cedars, hemlocks, larches, and a few other species. Spruce trees are extremely versatile, with many uses.

Spruces are pyramidal trees with whorled branches and thin scaly bark. Each of the linear, spirally arranged, needlelike leaves is jointed near the stem on a separate woody base. The base remains as a peglike projection on the twig when the leaf falls. The persistent-scaled cones are egg-shaped or cylindrical and characteristically hang downward once fertilized.

Spruce trees’ needles, cones and bark are essential clues that differentiate the trees from fir trees (Abies spp.), which look quite similar. In contrast to fir tree cones, which grow straight up and have rigid scales, spruce tree cones grow hanging downward from branches and typically have paperlike scales. Spruce trees have thin, flaky, scaly bark while fir trees have smooth bark. Spruce trees’ most distinguishing feature, however, is sharp, stiff needles sprouting from little extensions on the branches. Firs’ needles are soft and pliable.

Spruce trees are extremely versatile, with many uses. The narrow, conical growth pattern of many spruce trees makes them excellent choices for landscape use. The shape, of course, means it’s a natural choice for Christmas trees, too. Spruce wood is excellent construction lumber, and it has a resonant quality that makes it a favorite for musical instruments.

Also Read: Difference Between Evergreen And Deciduous Trees

11. Cypress Trees

Cypress is any of 12 species of ornamental and timber Evergreen conifers constituting the genus Cupressus of the family Cupressaceae, distributed throughout warm-temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Varieties of cypress are valuable in wet areas, providing a habitat for wildlife, flood control and erosion prevention.

Most species of cypress trees are evergreen, with the exception of those in the Taxodium genus, which are deciduous in nature. Deciduous cypress trees still bear needles, though the needles turn from green to reddish-brown in fall and winter.

Cypress trees are often 25 metres (80 feet) tall and are pyramidal in shape, especially when young. Some species develop flattened, spreading heads at maturity, and others are shrubs less than 6 metres tall. Their bark is sometimes smooth, but in most species it separates into thin plates or strips that may be shed from the tree.

The leaves are spreading and awl-shaped on young shoots but are characteristically small, scalelike, and appressed to the branch on older branchlets. They are usually aromatic, with glandular pits on the outer surface, and cover the stem in opposite pairs, giving the branchlet a four-sided appearance.

Tiny male and female reproductive structures (cones) are borne on the same tree, generally at the tips of different branches. The cones are small, usually spherical, with three to six pairs of woody or leathery scales that are attached to the cone axis by the back of the scale, and have a small projection on the outer surface.

12. Arborvitae Trees

The arborvitae plant (Thuja occidentalis) is a dense, evergreen shrub that is native to northern parts of eastern North America. Also called Eastern arborvitae, American arborvitae or white cedar, the native plant has been used to produce many cultivars, of differing heights, shapes and foliage color.

Common varieties of arborvitae grow as narrow pyramids, becoming tall, elegant, treelike shrubs that can reach a height of 40 to 50 feet in their native environment and 10 to 12 feet in urban settings. Arborvitae has flat, scale-like foliage, which is usually a lush light, medium or dark green, and attractive cones. The plants typically maintain their foliage nearly all the way to the base of the trunk, giving the plants a formal, dense appearance. In spite of their scaly appearance, however, the leaves are quite soft when touched.

All varieties of Arborvitae Trees are versatile plants that make excellent additions to a home landscape plan, providing strong green focal points throughout the year. Depending on the species and variety, arborvitae relatively requires low maintenance.

13. Yew Trees

Yew trees belong to the genus Taxus, which includes several species of evergreen trees cultivated for their glossy green foliage and showy red berries. Yews are relatively slow-growing and can be very long-lived, reaching mature heights of 3 to 120 feet (1 – 40 m), with trunk diameters of up to 12 feet (4 m), measured at breast height.

The bark is reddish-brown with purple tones, and peeling. The yew is probably the most long-lived tree in northern Europe. Its leaves are Straight, small and needle-like with a pointed tip, coloured dark green above and green-grey below. They grow in two rows on either side of each twig.

There are many varieties of trees and shrubs that make up the yew (Taxus) genus. Among the seven yew species are trees, shrubs and spreading forms to fill any purpose in your garden.  In general, these plants are easy to care for and can tolerate a range of growing conditions. They are highly adaptable for landscaping and make a nice addition to a garden border or in a mass planting. Yews prefer well drained, slightly acidic soils. All parts of the tree contain poisonous alkaloids, so it may not be the ideal plant in landscapes where children may be tempted to eat the attractive red berries.

14. Eucalyptus Trees

Eucalyptus is a genus that consists of more than 700 species of trees in the myrtle family, most of which are native to Australia, Indonesia and neighboring islands. Many species are cultivated widely throughout the temperate regions of the world as shade trees or in forestry plantations. Although there are differences among the eucalyptus species, there are several features common to almost all eucalyptus trees.

In the landscape, Eucalyptus is fast-growing, low maintenance, and one of the few evergreen shade trees that will provide years of enjoyment. Many types grow as fast as 10 to 15 feet per year. Depending on species, a Eucalyptus plant may mature into a small shrub or a very large tree. Some trees produce coin-shaped leaves, while others have elongated leaves that hang in a manner similar to weeping willow. One thing they all have in common is their pungent fragrance.

15. Bamboo

Bamboos are a diverse group of evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. Most bamboo species are native to warm and moist tropical and to warm temperate climates. However, many species are found in diverse climates, ranging from hot tropical regions to cool mountainous regions and highland cloud forests.

Bamboo can range in size from a few inches to over 100 feet and can grow a foot or more a day. It does not feature tree-like growth, instead reaching its full height in a single growing season and persistently sticking to its mature diameter rather than expanding. Likewise, bamboo does not feature bark. Instead, leaves form around the culm to offer protection.

From giant bamboo to hedge bamboo to Japanese timber bamboo and everything in between, you’ll find an almost overwhelming amount of diversity among bamboo species, but these perennial evergreen plants share at least one thing in common: They’re definitely classified as grass, not trees, despite how they appear at first glance.

Bamboo is used as food, building material, animal fodder, ornamentation, and screening. Bamboo plants are recognizable by their nodes, the joints between the hollow segments of the branch or culm.

16. Redwood Trees

Sequoioideae, popularly known as redwoods, is a subfamily of coniferous trees within the family Cupressaceae. It includes the largest and tallest trees in the world. They often exceed 90 metres (300 feet) in height.

Their trunks reach typical diameters of 3 to 6 metres (10 to 20 feet) or more, measured above the swollen bases. The leaves on the main shoots are spirally arranged, scalelike, and closely appressed to the branches; those of the lateral shoots are spreading, needlelike, and arranged in two rows. As the tree ages, the lower limbs fall away, leaving a clear, columnar trunk. When a tree is cut or damaged from wind or fire, sprouts arise from the sapwood below the injured surface.

How To Effectively Care For Evergreen Trees

  1. Provide transplanted evergreens with at least 1 inch of water per week during the first year. Water less frequently if you planted the tree in clay soil or more frequently if in sandy soil.
  2. Fertilize evergreens in early spring or late fall. Dig a shallow trench around the base of the tree, then fill with well-rotted manure or high-nitrogen fertilizer. Apply one-third pound of fertilizer per foot of tree height or spread. For example, give a 6-foot evergreen 2 pounds of fertilizer.
  3. Encourage an evergreen to grow faster by boring 15-inch holes into the soil around the tree’s base. Add an equal amount of fertilizer to each hole, then fill the holes with soil or peat moss.
  4. Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the base of the evergreen. Shredded bark, straw, pine needles and wood chips make ideal mulch. If using an inorganic mulch, such as gravel or sand, place a layer of fiberglass or polypropylene fabric around the tree before mulching.
  5. Trim the tips of side branches, if desired, to give the tree a neater, narrower appearance. Do not prune the tree immediately after transplanting, but remove about two-thirds of new growth every year in midsummer or early spring. Avoid shearing, as it gives the tree an unnatural look.
  6. Wash evergreens with a strong spray of cold water once per week in the summer. Spray the foliage and the trunk to remove small pests and clean the tree.
  7. Apply a dormant lime sulfur spray in the spring, before new growth emerges to kill overwintering scales and mites.

Further References

  1. Evergreen Trees: https://www.gardendesign.com/trees/evergreen.html
  2. Fast Growing Evergreen Trees: https://www.plantingtree.com/collections/evergreen-trees
  3. Choosing Evergreen Trees For Landscaping: https://extension.umn.edu/trees-and-shrubs/choosing-evergreens-your-landscape
  4. Best Evergreen Trees For Privacy: https://www.thespruce.com/top-evergreens-for-privacy-hedges-1403336