A first-of-kind native tree species has been discovered thriving in Ohio's Clermont County in the southeast part of the state.
Discovered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry is the sugarberry tree, a large, broad, fast-growing deciduous tree with a rounded vase crown. The tree was identified by the agency's Brian Riley, private lands forester.
This marks the first time since 1941 when the Mexican plum was discovered that a native tree species has been recorded in Ohio.
Sugarberries grow well in the rich bottomland soils - but in the lower Ohio River Valley and extending into the Mississippi River Valley. This is about as far north as the species gets.
A mature sugarberry may produce tens of thousands of red berries, which are eaten by a wide range of birds, especially during the winter.
Ohio is home to 149 species of native hardwood trees and nine species of softwood trees.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn