Philadelphia Trees: A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley

Authored by Paul W. Meyer, Catriona Bull Briger, and Edward Sibley Barnard

As you’ve navigated in and around the city since spring’s arrival, you’ve probably noticed the “leafing out” and lovely blooms of Philadelphia’s spectacular trees. If you care about trees, or want to learn more, then Philadelphia Trees: A Field Guide to the City and the Surrounding Delaware Valley is the book for you.  With an easy-to-follow, yet informed text combined with more than 1000 color photographs, line drawings, and detailed maps, this is the ultimate field guide to the trees of Philadelphia and adjacent counties in the Delaware Valley. Produced in consultation with the Morris Arboretum (the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania), this guide contains a wealth of information about 168 tree species growing along the streets and in the arboreta, parks, preserves, and botanical gardens of the city and the surrounding area.

It is carefully structured to be used by both beginners and experienced tree lovers. A user-friendly identification key inside the front cover helps readers to determine a tree’s species quickly by the shapes and arrangements of its leaves. Each species entry features illustrations of leaves, fruits, flowers, bark, a winter silhouette, a beautiful portrait of a specific tree, and an informative mini-essay full of fascinating historical and botanical facts. Readers don’t have to flip back and forth from photos to text. It’s all right there! Also included in the species entries are lists of places in the city and suburbs where readers can find the especially wonderful trees.
Philadelphia Trees is divided into four sections:

  • Best Places to See Trees describes 50 outstanding parks, botanical gardens, arboreta, and preserves in Philadelphia and within an hour’s drive of the city.
  • Fifty Philadelphia Great Trees is a directory of 50 trees designated as Great Trees because of their exceptional size, great age, beautiful form, rarity, or significant historical associations.
  • The Tree Guide is composed of 180 illustrated pages includes native trees found in the region, as well as exotics, such as the Katsura tree, often left out of standard field guides.
  • Sources and Resources lists useful books for further reading and helpful botanical websites. It also includes the index, acknowledgements, and credits.


Philadelphia Trees is co-authored by Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Paul W. Meyer (Director since 1991). Paul has participated on numerous plant expeditions to Korea, China, and Taiwan and is a founding member of the North America– China Plant Exploration Consortium. Other co-authors on the publication are Catriona Bull Briger, Philadelphia designer, editor, and writer with a master’s degree in landscape architecture, and Edward Sibley Barnard, a longtime editor and publisher of  dozens of illustrated books on natural history. The project is a work of passion by its collaborators that is sure to please current tree lovers and create new enthusiasts in the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia Trees is now available at Morris Arboretum’s Shop for $19.95 (members get 10% off), at Barnes & Noble, and on Amazon. Grab a copy today, and slip it in your pocket or your bag. The next time you want to know the name or characteristics of a favorite tree, you can easily look it up.