Victoria Park Arboretum Map

Take a self-guided tour of the Victoria Park Arboretum, located off the paved path near the ball fields. Look for a large stone by the path marked "Arboretum".

1. Northern red oak - Quercus rubra
This is Prince Edward Island’s provincial tree. Its common name comes from the Latin word rubra, meaning red. The northern red oak has pointed lobes on its leaves. The fruits produced by this species, called acorns, are round and shorter in length than some of the other oaks. Acorns are a vital source of food for wildlife. Cavities in the trunk of older trees provide excellent shelter and nesting spots for birds and small mammals. 

2. White ash - Fraxinus americana
This rare tree is native to Eastern North America. The underside of its compound leaves have a characteristic whitish color, which gives the species its name. Although the tree grows quickly, adding around 30 cm per year, its seeds may take two years to sprout. When mature, its green seeds turn brown and become an important source of food for red-winged blackbirds, purple finches and others. Young white ash trees are often consumed by beavers.

3. Serviceberry - Amelanchier spp.
Blooms in clusters of up to 20 white flowers before its leaves are fully grown. As an early blooming plant, it is very important to pollinators such as bees and butterflies that are just emerging from winter. Caterpillars also rely on this species for food. Later in the summer, it produces berry-like, purple fruits that serve as a food source for native and migrant birds like blue jays, American robins, cedar waxwings and downy woodpeckers and other animals like snowshoe hares, chipmunks and squirrels. Serviceberry fruits are also edible by humans.  

4. Common witch-hazel - Hamamelis virginiana
Witch-hazel is a very rare native shrub with unique characteristics. It is a plant that shows all its beauty in the fall, when its bright yellow flowers bloom. Fruits, called nutlets, protect shiny black seeds and emerge as green capsules that turn brown as they mature. Once mature, the capsule explodes and the seeds disperse; some animals such as squirrels and grouse can ingest the seeds and disperse them further. The shrub makes a good nesting spot for birds and insects appreciate the nectar from its flowers.

5. Staghorn sumac - Rhus typhina
This large native shrub is easy to identify throughout the year as its small green flowers are replaced by large cones of reddish-purple, fuzzy berries. The berries persist during the winter and although they are not the first choice of meal for wildlife, they are an important last resource if no other food is available. The plant's thick and hairy branches (like stag’s antlers) are also characteristic of this species, and it can be a lovely ornamental option for larger areas.

6. Eastern larch (Tamarack) - Larix laricina
Eastern larch can be found throughout PEI. This is a unique plant as it is the only deciduous conifer, which means that its soft green needles turn yellow and drop every fall. The needles grow in tufts containing from 10 to more than 20 needles. Like other conifers, Tamarack produces brown cones that resembles small roses and persist during the winter.

7. Paper birch - Betula papyrifera
The paper birch’s scientific name "papyrifera", resembling the word papyrus, which is an ancient type of paper, was given because of the white color of its bark. Layers of the trunk that peel as the tree matures also resemble paper; the older the tree, the whiter it is. Considered a pioneer species, it is one of the first trees to grow in recently disturbed areas. Its seeds are vital to the nutrition of birds and small mammals. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers can be seen creating holes in the bark to feed off the sap.

8. Red osier dogwood - Cornus sericea
Although found in many damp natural areas, this multi-stemmed shrub is often used as an ornamental species due to the bright red colour of its stems. When affected by a fungal disease called canker, however, parts of the plant become yellow. The root system of this plant helps prevent soil erosion. Small white flowers attract honey bees to its pollen and they produce a cluster of white berries consumed by birds and mammals.

9. White spruce – Picea glauca
White spruce is a cone shaped tree that can grow up to 30m and live as long as 350 years. The needles vary in colour between bluish green or green and have a waxy layer that gives them a whitish look.The tree produces light brown cones that hang from the branches and protect the seeds. Humans have been using these as Christmas trees, as well as lumber, while many parts of it are consumed by birds and small rodents.

10. Balsam fir – Abies balsamea
Largely used as Christmas trees, this evergreen species can grow up to 20m tall and is easily identified by some unique characteristics – its conic shape, blisters of sticky aromatic resin in the bark, and flat needles with two white bands underneath. It produces greyish brown cones that can be up to 10 cm long. Its seeds are eaten by red squirrels and grouse while the tree itself provides shelter for numerous species of small mammals and birds.

11. Eastern white cedar - Thuja occidentalis
Eastern white cedar is a small evergreen tree that grows 10 to 15 m in height. Its scaly shaped leaves have a yellowish-green color and persist through the winter. It produces small cones around 1 cm long and its seeds have double-winged structures, which allows them to disperse by wind. Its twigs are consumed by snowshoe hares, squirrels, crossbills and other species during the winter. Although historically common in some areas of PEI, excessive harvest is causing the number of these trees to decrease.

12. Beaked hazelnut – Corylus cornuta
This native plant got its name from the shape of its fruits – nuts enclosed in a husk with prolonged tubular extensions, giving the appearance of beaks. It is the only native shrub that produces nuts. An important food source for wildlife, its nuts are eaten by chipmunks and red squirrels, as well as birds like ruffed grouse, ring-neck pheasant and hairy woodpecker. Young shoots feed snowshoe hares during the winter. During fall, male flowers called catkins appear, followed by tiny, reddish-pink female flowers.

13. Yellow birch - Betula alleghaniensis
This species of birch is named after the colour of its golden-bronze bark that peels off in curly, horizontal stripes. Yellow birch bark has natural oils with a wintergreen scent that can be used in tea. During the winter it is possible to see three cone-like structures called catkins hanging from the tips of some branches. Its seeds are important to many bird species such as the American goldfinch, Northern junco and sparrow. The twigs and buds feed ruffed grouse and snowshoe hares. Present in the Acadian forest, this tree is an important species for restoring degraded lands and woodland biodiversity.

14. Red maple - Acer rubrum
One of the most widespread species of the maple family, the leaf from a red maple is easy to identify. It is up to 15 cm long and usually has three lobes. When five lobes are present, three of them will be clearly larger than the two in the base of the leaf, which give the impression of having only three lobes. Each tree has a unique colour during the fall, varying between yellow, orange, red and maroon.

15. Winterberry - Ilex verticillata
Commonly found in large groupings, this native shrub is an important supply of berries during the winter for birds and small mammals. Being a deciduous plant, it loses its leaves in the fall, but its bright red berries remain. The leaves have opposite shape, the base is narrow and gets wider toward the end, with a pointed tip. It thrives in acidic, wet soils and it’s a good choice for attracting wildlife to your yard.

16. Sugar maple - Acer saccharum
Being the national tree of Canada, the sugar maple’s leaf shape is printed on the Canadian flag. It produces a sugary sap used for making the sweetest maple syrup among the maple trees (It takes 40 liters of sap to make 1 liter of maple syrup). As opposed to the look-alike Norway maple, the sap from the sugar maple is clear. Its leaves always have five lobes and turn bright red in the fall.

17. Northern bayberry - Myrica pensylvanica
Growing along the east coast of North America, this native shrub is recognizable by its leathery, scented leaves - bayberry candles are made from this species. Adapted to salt-sprayed areas, it is present along the north shore but can also be found in wet woodlands. There are male and female plants, so it is good to choose seeds carefully to ensure that fertilization will occur. Both resident and migratory birds rely on its grayish, waxy fruits during the winter and use the shrub as a nesting spot.

18. Ironwood - Ostrya virginiana
One of the rarest native trees on PEI, ironwood belongs to the birch family. If you look closely at a leaf, it resembles that of the yellow birch. It is a relatively small tree, growing up to 13 m, but is made of a dense wood known for its hardness. It produces fruits similar to the ones found in hop vines that is why this species is also known as hop hornbeam. The pale papery pouches have one single seed inside that may take two years to germinate. Birds such as the purple finch and rose-breasted grosbeak appreciate the seeds, while buds and catkins are eaten by red squirrels.

19. Wild rose - Rosa spp.
Wild rose are low shrubs that have thorns on their stems. There are a few roses native to PEI (Rosa virginiana, Rosa carolina and Rosa nitida). Hybridization increases the number of Rosaceae family plants and many exotics are planted for landscaping. As a result, different flower sizes, shapes, and colours bloom around June and July and pollinators are very attracted to them, especially bees. The fruit, called rose hip, is a vital food source during winter for birds like waxwings and grosbeaks and mammals such as skunks. We recommend not to plant invasive, non-native roses such as Rosa rugosa and Rosa multiflora.

20. Eastern hemlock – Tsuga canadensis
Rare across PEI, this coniferous tree can grow to over 22 m and can live up to an incredible 600 years. It prefers humid soils and is often found near streams. The seeds produced in its cones are important to birds like chickadees, American goldfinches and species of crossbill, but also feed small mammals. Mature trees provide shelter for raccoons, nesting sites and even amphibians can be found living around fallen trunks.

21. Eastern white pine - Pinus strobus
Eastern white pines are one of the largest native trees on PEI. It is the only pine that bears needles bundled in groups of five (as a hint to remember, "white" has five letters). The needles can grow up to 20 cm long, hanging down along the branches. The tops of older trees often break off which flattens the upper part and makes it easier to identify this species from a distance. Many bird species use white pines as a nesting site, including cavity nesters, such as black-capped chickadees. Small mammals such as red squirrels and chipmunks rely on this species' seeds for food.

22. Mountain maple – Acer spicatum
Usually considered a tree, the mountain maple is actually a native shrub, the smallest maple species on PEI. It produces fruits called samaras that turn from green to bright red when mature and are dispersed by wind. It is quite resistant to colder temperatures when compared with other Acer species, so it has the most northerly range of distribution. Beavers, snowshoe hares and ruffed grouse rely on the buds to feed on.

23. Grey birch – Betula papulifolia
Grey birch can be identified by its bark, not only because it does not peel easily like other birch trees but also by the black triangular patches where its branches grow from the trunk. It is also known as wire birch, as it produces a large number of fine branches. Its seeds are vital to winter birds such as the American goldfinch, northern junco and chickadee. Large birds such as red-tailed hawks use the tree as a nesting spot while yellow-bellied sapsuckers look for sap in the trunks.

24. Striped maple - Acer pensylvanicum
The green-brown stripes on the bark of this tree not only give this species its name, but also allow it to perform photosynthesis even before its leaves appear. It is one of PEI’s native maple species, and is also known as moosewood or goosefoot maple due to the fact that the leaves are consumed by moose and their shape resembles goose feet.