Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Episode 626 (4-25-22): A Sampler of Trees Inhabiting Soggy Virginia Sites

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:49).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 4-22-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of April 25 and May 2, 2022.  This episode is part of a series this year of episodes related to trees and shrubs.

MUSIC – ~12 sec – instrumental.

This week, that excerpt of “Baldcypress Swamp,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., sets the stage for exploring some of Virginia’s tree species found in or near water, along with some of the water places those trees inhabit.  We start with a series of guest voices calling out 16 native Virginia tree species that can be found around watery habitats.  Have a listen for about 25 seconds.

VOICES and INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC - ~27 sec - “American Sycamore.  Atlantic White-cedar.  Baldcypress.  Black Gum.  Black Willow.  Boxelder.  Eastern Hemlock.  Hackberry.  Overcup Oak.  Red Maple.  Red Spruce.  River Birch.  Silver Maple.  Swamp Tupelo.  Water Hickory.  Water Tupelo.”

Those 16 and other tree species can be found in a wide variety of water-related habitats in Virginia.  The Virginia Department of Conservation’s 2021 report, “The Natural Communities of Virginia: Ecological Groups and Community Types,” lists over 30 community types associated with aquatic habitats.  Tree species are a characteristic of the vegetation in over 15 of those community types, ranging from Piedmont/Mountain Small-stream Alluvial Forests, to Coastal Plain/Piedmont Bottomland Forests, to Coastal Plain Depression Swamps and Ponds, to Maritime Swamps.  More generally speaking, you can find native Virginia trees beside small streams in uplands, for example, Eastern Hemlock; beside large rivers in the mountains or Piedmont, for example, American Sycamore and Silver Maple; beside large Coastal Plain rivers, for example, Overcup Oak and Water Hickory; and in a variety of swamps and other wetlands, for example, Baldcypress, Atlantic White-cedar, and Swamp Tupelo.

Here’s to Virginia’s many tree species, its many water habitats, and the many combinations of those two groups of natural resources.  

Thanks to seven Virginia Tech colleagues for lending their voices to this episode.  Thanks also to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 15 more seconds of “Baldcypress Swamp.”

MUSIC – ~15 sec – instrumental.


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“Baldcypress Swamp,” from the 2004 album “Virginia Wildlife,” is copyright 2004 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  The “Virginia Wildlife” album was a collaboration between Mr. Seaman and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (now the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources).  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 479, 7-1-19, on the Dismal Swamp.  More information about Timothy Seaman is available online at http://www.timothyseaman.com/.

Virginia Water Radio thanks the seven Virginia Tech colleagues who recorded tree names on April 21, 2022.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

(Except as otherwise noted, photographs are by Virginia Water Radio.)

River Birch photographed at Fredericksburg, Va., April 13, 2022.  Photo by iNaturalist user pfirth, made available online at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/111309642 (as of 4-25-22) for use under Creative Commons license “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0.”  Information about this Creative Commons license is available online at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Swamp Tupelo photographed at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Va., July 9, 2021.  Photo by iNaturalist user karliemarina, made available online at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/86317064 (as of 4-25-22) for use under Creative Commons license “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0.”  Information about this Creative Commons license is available online at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Black Willow trees along Toms Creek in Montgomery County, Va., August 18, 2011.


Following are the scientific names (in parentheses) of the tree species mentioned in this episode, in alphabetical order according to the species’ common names.

Atlantic White-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)
Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)
Black Gum (Nyssa syvatica)

Black Willow (Salix nigra)
Boxelder (Acer negundo)

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata)

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Red Spruce (Picearubens)

River Birch (Betula nigra)
Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Swamp Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora) – a variety of Black Gum
Water Hickory (Carya aquatica)

Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica)


Used for Audio

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Program, “The Natural Communities of Virginia: Ecological Groups and Community Types,” online (as a PDF) at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/natural-communities/document/comlist07-21.pdf. 

Virginia Department of Forestry, “Common Native Trees of Virginia,” Charlottesville, Va., 2016.  (The 2020 edition is available online [as a PDF] at https://dof.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/Common-Native-Trees-ID_pub.pdf.)

A.S. Weakley, J.C. Ludwig, and J.F. Townsend, Flora of Virginia, Bland Crowder, ed.  Copyright by the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project, Inc., Richmond.  Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, 2012.  (The Flora of Virginia Project is online at https://floraofvirginia.org/.

For More Information about Trees and Shrubs in Virginia and Elsewhere

Center for Watershed Protection, “Trees and Stormwater Runoff,” online at https://www.cwp.org/reducing-stormwater-runoff/.

Chesapeake Bay Program, “Field Guide: Plants and Trees,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/all/plants_trees/all.

eFloras.org, “Flora of North America,” online at http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1.

Sanglin Lee and Alan Raflo, “Trees and Water,” Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Water Central Newsletter, pages 13-18, online at https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49367.   (A Virginia Cooperative Extension version of this article—“Trees and Water,” by Sanglin Lee, Alan Raflo, and Jennifer Gagnon, 2018—with some slight differences in the text is available online at https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/pubs_ext_vt_edu/en/ANR/ANR-18/ANR-18NP.html.)

Penn State Extension, “Trees, Shrubs, and Groundcovers Tolerant of Wet Sites,” October 22, 2007, online at https://extension.psu.edu/trees-shrubs-and-groundcovers-tolerant-of-wet-sites.

Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension, “How Trees Grow,” online at https://agrilife.org/treecarekit/introduction-to-tree-care/how-trees-grow/.

Anita K. Rose and James S. Meadows, “Status and Trends of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in the MidAtlantic Region,” USDA/Forest Service Southern Research Station, Asheville, N.C., November 2016; available online at https://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/53238. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, Forests of Virginia, 2018, Resource Update FS-264, Asheville, N.C., 2020; available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/59963.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Forest Service, “State and Private Forestry Fact Sheet—Virginia 2022,” online (as a PDF) at https://apps.fs.usda.gov/nicportal/temppdf/sfs/naweb/VA_std.pdf.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service/Climate Change Resource Center, “Forest Tree Diseases and Climate Change,” online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/forest-disease.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service/Northern Research Station (Newtown Square, Penn.), “Forest Disturbance Processes/Invasive Species,” online at https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/disturbance/invasive_species/.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Natural Resources Conservation Service, “PLANTS Database,” online at https://plants.usda.gov.

Virginia Botanical Associates, “Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora,” online at http://www.vaplantatlas.org/index.php?do=start&search=Search.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/.

Virginia Department of Forestry, “Virginia’s Forests,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/.  Some of the useful pages at that site are the following:
“Benefits of Trees,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/education-and-recreation/learn-about-education-recreation/benefits-of-tree/;
“Forest Management and Health/Insects and Diseases,” online at
Tree and Forest Health Guide
, 2020, online (as a PDF) at https://dof.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/Tree-and-Forest-Health-Guide.pdf;
“Trees for Clean Water Program,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/urban-community-forestry/urban-forestry-community-assistance/virginia-trees-for-clean-water-grant-program/;
“Virginia Statewide Assessment of Forest Resources,” November 2020, online (as a PDF) at https://www.stateforesters.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2020-VA-Statewide-Assessment.pdf;
“Tree Identification,” online at https://dof.virginia.gov/education-and-recreation/learn-about-education-recreation/tree-identification/.

Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment, online at https://forestupdate.frec.vt.edu/.

Virginia Forest Products Association, online at https://www.vfpa.net/.

Virginia Native Plant Society, online at http://vnps.org/.

Herbert S. Zim and Alexander C. Martin, as revised by Jonathan P. Latimer et al., Trees—A Guide to Familiar American Trees, St. Martin’s Press, New York, N.Y., 2001.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Plants” subject category

Following are links to other episodes on trees and shrubs.

Introduction to trees and water – Episode 621, 3-21-22.
American Sycamore – Episode 624, 4-11-22.
American Witch Hazel – Episode 238, 10-31-14.
Ash trees – Episode 376, 7-10-17 and Episode 625, 4-18-22.
Early spring wildflowers in woodlands – Episode 573, 4-19-21.
Forest lands and work in Virginia – Episode 623, 4-4-22.
Maple trees – Episode 503, 12-16-19.
Photosynthesis – Episode 602, 11-8-21.
Poison Ivy and related plants, including the shrub Poison Sumac – Episode 535, 7-27-20.
Rhododendrons – Episode 574, 4-26-21.
Tree buds – Episode 622, 3-28-22.
Tree colors and changes in fall, including changes to water movement – Episode 285, 10-12-15.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
K.7 – Plants and animals have basic needs and life processes.
1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive; including that plants can be classified based on a variety of characteristics.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
2.8 – Plants are important natural resources.
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems. 

Life Science
LS.5 – Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.