Entries by Ruben Green

Beargrasses (Nolina spp.)

While most beargrasses (Nolina spp.) look rather similar, two traits characterize every species in the group: tall, pale inflorescences and serrated, grass-like leaves.

Furcraea Plants

Native to Central and South America, the plants of the genus Furcraea are popular and interesting ornamental succulents. However, these plants – which go by an incredible array of names in nurseries and garden centers – are not only important to homeowners and landscapers; they play a large role in the lives of rural communities that have benefited from these plants for hundreds of years.

Maidenhair Trees

Blessed with an impressive form, a hardy nature and unique leaves, maidenhair trees (Gingko biloba) are as attractive as they are interesting. With evolutionary roots extending deep into geological time, these leftovers of an ancient world have proven to be resilient survivors, who are even capable to thriving in 21st Century urban habitats.

Maple Trees

Maples (Acer ssp.) are some of the most beautiful and familiar trees in the world. In most places, they are an inescapable component of the natural world.

Japanese Umbrella Pines

Japanese umbrella pines are unusual-looking trees that rarely solicit lukewarm opinions – as explained by the University of Florida Extension Service, “people either love this tree or won’t even look at it.” The whorled tufts of evergreen needles found at the end of the trees’ branches are said to resemble umbrellas, hence the species’ common name.

Yew Trees

Native to most of Europe and Asia, as well as northern Africa and North America, yew trees (Taxus spp.) are ancient species that have been associated with human culture for millennia.

African Cycads

Appearing somewhat like palms or ferns, African cycads are primitive trees, native to the southern half of Africa. As part of the family Zamiaceae, African cycads display many similarities to their relatives in other genera.


Approximately six species comprise the genus Pseudotsuga, colloquially known as the Douglas-firs. They are some of the most iconic trees of the Pacific Northwest, and they often grow as pure or nearly pure stands. The trees are very important commercially, which has caused them to become interwoven with local cultures. For example, Douglas-firs are Oregon’s official state trees.