Types of trees in Illinois are over 250 species, both native and introduced. Out of these, over 200 species grow in Chicago alone, providing the wildlife and bird species with a habitat.

Types of Trees in Illinois

The diversity of tree species in Illinois makes spring a particular time in this state. Here is a list of trees you can add to your landscape in Illinois to get that beautiful feeling in the spring.

A Detailed List of Types of Trees in Illinois

1. Oak Tree

Mighty Oak Tree

  • Deciduous and evergreen
  • Grows very tall
  • Excellent shade tree
  • Reaches up to 60 to 80 feet high
  • Crown is 50 to 80 feet wide
  • Provide food and shelter to local wildlife
  • For lumber, flooring, furniture, barrel, and construction
Growing regions 
  • Hardiness zones seven to 10
  • North and South Dakota
  • Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio

This is an excellent large tree to grow as it provides perfect shade. Over 50 oaks are grown worldwide, with some endangered and almost extinct. In addition to this, oak trees often support more shelter to animals than any other American tree; doing so, they provide habitat and food for birds, wildlife, and countless insects and spiders.

When you plant these trees, they will grow to their utmost potential in zones seven to 10, and as long as the soil is rich in humus, with well-draining properties, they will be prone to grow more than 60 feet high. Most often, you will see these trees located in a place where they will receive six to eight hours of daily sunlight, and this is how they will grow so well.

2. White Oak

Majestic White Oak

  • A very large tree
  • Attracts many species of birds and butterflies
  • Showcases a wide range of fall color
  • Grow up to 60 to 100 feet
  • The crown is 50 to 90 feet wide
  • Home for birds, butterflies, and other species
  • Excellent shade tree
Growing regions 
  • Hardiness zones three to nine
  • Central Michigan and Minnesota
  • Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia

White oak is the state tree of Illinois and plays a significant role in the local ecosystems. It provides a home and food for many wildlife species and is an excellent addition to any landscape.

This tree thrives in partial shade and full sun, growing without much maintenance. It can tolerate frigid or high temperatures, making them best for the Illinois climate. They are not the type of trees that will go to a dormant state; on the contrary, they will resist the coldness and thrive again in spring.

3. Black Oak

Resilient Black Oak

  • Large tree
  • Has a broad crown
  • The outer bark is ridged and irregular
  • Grows to about 80 feet tall
  • The crown reaches up to 148 feet wide
  • Provides shelter or nesting spots for animals
  • Provides food for many animals
Growing regions 
  • Maine West and Southern Ontario
  • Minnesota, Iowa, and Oklahoma
  • Grows in USDA hardiness zones three to nine

Black oak is a native Illinois tree that provides food for many wildlife animals, as you would see it growing in zones three to nine. Its acorns are highly sought after by rodents, deer, birds, and bears. Anywhere these trees grow in plenty, the deer population is relatively high since it is their shelter.

The outer bark is black, with the inner part being orange-yellow and a source of tannin and a yellow dye. Most of the time, it has been seen as a beneficial species to the Illinois ecosystem and should be conserved whenever possible, so that it wouldn’t get chopped.

4. Flowering Dogwood Trees

Graceful Flowering Dogwood Trees

  • Deciduous tree
  • Prominent white flower clusters
  • Smooth-edged leaves
  • Grows to 15 to 25 feet tall
  • The crown is at least 20 feet wide
  • Used for making golf heads
  • The flowers treat fevers and colic
Growing regions 
  • Missouri and Indiana
  • Grows in USDA hardiness five to nine

This flowering tree is deciduous, identified by the white flower clusters, berries, and barks. There are several types of dogwood trees that Illinois hosts. These trees do not grow as tall, but they are common and grow fast.

These have smooth-edged leaves and curving veins, and in spring, you would see them thriving with their flowers blossoming up, with the help of bees, wasps, and even birds. Most people love having this tree in front of their house because it is known to add unique vibrancy.

5. Ash Trees

Stately Ash Trees

  • Simple leaves opposite each other
  • Flowers grow in clusters
  • They are colored green, white, or purple
  • Grows to 40 to 60 feet tall
  • The crown is about 50 feet wide
  • The wood makes handles for spades, axes, hockey sticks, etc
  • Used in flooring
Growing regions 
  • Grows in zones two through nine
  • Common in Texas and Northern Florida

These trees are tall flowering trees with beautiful simple leaves. These leaves grow opposite each other on their coils, with flowers growing in clusters. The most common varieties are green and white trees growing in Illinois because they are known to establish well in those growing regions.

Unfortunately, they are disappearing due to the destruction by the jewel beetle, because these pests are infesting them and harming them when they are not tackled. Early prevention of this pest will cause your plant to survive, which is a positive notion.

6. Sassafras Tree

Fragrant Sassafras Tree

  • A deciduous tree
  • Has a distinct fragrance
  • The flowers have six yellow petals
  •  Grows 15 to 40 feet tall
  • The crown is about 20 feet wide
  • The root bark is used as herbal medicine
  • The roots and wood have oil to scent in perfumes and soap.
Growing regions 
  • Grow in zones four through nine
  • New York, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

Sassafras is native to Illinois and grows commonly in the Chicago area. It is a deciduous tree that can reach up to 40 feet tall. It is famous for its distinct fragrance and different leaf patterns from one sassafras tree to another. Its flowers bloom in the summer with a bright yellow color.

The female sassafras trees also bear dark blue drupe berries, and that is how they get pollinated, through male and female trees. This tree has a brilliant autumn foliage display and an aromatic smell, and they would do so well if you have a garden and are in need of a beautiful deciduous tree.

7. Willow Tree

Whispering Willow Tree

  • Slender branches
  • Expansive root system
  • Elongated leaves with feather veins
  • Grows up to 15 to 40 feet tall
  • The crown is about 30 feet wide
  • The bark is used as herbal medicine
Growing regions 
  • Texas, Oklahoma, and California
  • Thrives in USDA hardiness zones four through ten

The willow tree comes in many different varieties, each growing in its style, and it gives a unique touch to the area where it’s located. The most common willow tree grows to about 40 feet tall and has elongated leaves with feather veins, they do have different species too, such as the black willow, but only their foliage differs.

Its blooms give the plant its signature look as it causes the branches to sag; they would also produce little flowers in February if the area where it is placed in a warm one. On another note, these trees have a unique characteristic, which is having aggressively grown roots, that would have a strong grip, in order to absorb moisture and water from the soil.

8. Maple Trees

Vibrant Maple Trees

  • Large lobed leaves
  • Foliage turns red, yellow, and orange during the fall
  • Grows up to 33 to 148 feet tall
  • The crown spreads to a width of 40 to 50 feet wide
  • Excellent for shade
  • As ornamental trees
Growing regions 
  • Grows in USDA hardiness zones nine through nine
  • Alaska, South, and North Dakota, and Minnesota

Maple trees are recognizable trees in Illinois, because they are popular ones, which are also known for their different variety of the acre tree. They have about 200 species of trees and shrubs widely distributed in the northern temperate zone.

They come in a variety of sizes, forms, and foliage. Most of these trees display a striking autumn color, with some providing dense hardwood for furniture and other uses. As the seasons change, and the climate changes as well, the leaves would change their color, too from orange to even shades of purple, due to their chlorophyll type.

9. American Elm

Iconic American Elm

  • A deciduous tree
  • A beautiful tree with an urn shape
  • Leaves are alternate with double-serrated edges
  • Grows up to size 60 to 80 feet tall
  • The trunk is about two to five feet in diameter
  • Excellent shade tree
  • Commonly used as a street tree
Growing region 
  • Thrives in USDA hardiness zones four through nine
  • Common in Florida and Texas

Ulmus Americana is a large deciduous tree that withstands harsh weather in the Midwest. These elm trees used to be more trendy, but their population decreased after the introduction of the Dutch elm trees. However, you can still find them growing in Illinois, and they are known for their large canopies.

Their leaves turn golden yellow in the fall (depending on the Elm tree type), making them so beautiful. Moreover, they are often found around streets, with their beautiful urn-shaped top, and as they grow to reach 60 to 80 feet tall when providing the right requirements.

10. Eastern Redbud

Regal Eastern Redbud

  • Heart-shaped leaves
  • A medium-sized tree
  • Flowering tree blooming in early spring
  • Grows up to 20 and 30 feet tall
  • The crown is about 15 to 20 feet wide
  • Best grown as an ornamental tree
  • The leaves have medicinal use
Growing regions 
  • Grows in USDA hardiness zones four through nine
  • Michigan and California

Cercis Canadensis is a medium-sized deciduous tree grown for ornamental purposes. It has bright purplish-pink flowers that bloom on the dark branches in early spring. The leaves beautifully turn yellow in the autumn, giving such great vibes.

This tree is an excellent addition to the landscape, and the leaves are known to have medicinal properties such as helping with fever or even stomach upsets.

11. Red Mulberry

Abundant Red Mulberry

  • Have oval-shaped or lobed leaves
  • Produces red berries that turn to dark red or purple when ripe
  • The flowers are yellowish-reddish green
  • Grows up to 40 to 70 feet tall
  • The crown is broad, reaching up to 35 to 50 feet wide
  • The wood is used to craft furniture and fence posts
  • The berries make jam, pies, and other sweets
Growing regions 
  • New York, Vermont West, Southern Michigan, and Minnesota.
  • Thrives in USDA hardiness zones three to eight.

Morus Rubra is a tall tree that reaches up to 70 feet tall the tree’s bark would grow broad as well and the branches spread almost 35 to 50 feet wide. This tree is known to last many years while producing red berries similar to blackberries; in parallel to this, these berries are edible, with most people using them to make jams.

When you have this tree growing, you must make sure that you would prune it well, and locate it in a spot where it receives full sun. As for the soil needs, the type should be one that drains well, and no moisture would be kept, because doing so, the roots will become weaker, and you will see that the leaves have changed their color and turned yellow. If it is not possible to revert this, then you should “kill” the Mulberry tree using this simple guide.

12. Eastern Red Cedar

Aromatic Eastern Red Cedar

  • The foliage is like sharp needles
  • The leaves are scale-like
  • Grows to 40 feet tall
  • The crown is at least 20 feet wide
  • Best for wildlife food
  • Durable wood for furniture and interior paneling
Growing regions 
  • Grows in zones two through nine
  • Florida, Northern Dakota, and Texas

Juniperus Virginiana is a hardy coniferous tree that produces cones and berries. The male red cedar trees produce a small cone that makes pollen. On the other hand, the female produces blue-gray berry-like fruits.

You must remember that when you grow this tree, the berries should not be consumed because they have an intoxicating property. However, a positive side that they have is that these trees are known to release chemicals along with their fragrance, which would repel different pests.

13. Crabapple Trees

Blossoming Crabapple Trees

  • Glossy oval leaves
  • Sweetly scented flowers
  • Grows to 15 to 20 feet tall
  • The crown can reach about 20 to 25 feet wide
  • Crabapples make apple sauce, juices, or liqueur
  • You can also make crab jelly
Growing regions 
  • Grows zones four through eight
  • Texas, Michigan, and Minnesota

Malus is a famous tree in the Midwest region, including Illinois, because of the zone that they would grow in. It is a small tree and a great addition to many landscapes, that will grow from 13 to 24 inches annually.

It has brilliant and colorful spring flowers in shades of pink, purple, and red, and these are known to add color and vibrancy to wherever they are planted. The fruits appear after the flowers in various colors: green, red, purple, orange, and yellow.

14. Mockernut Hickory

Robust Mockernut Hickory

  • Shaggy bark
  • Oval-shaped leaves in opposite pairs
  • Broadly rounded crown
  •  Grows to about 50 to 100 feet tall
  • The crown gets to about 30 to 50 feet wide
  • Used to make ladder rungs, poles, furniture, and shafts
  • Can be used for veneer
Growing regions 
  • Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida
  • Grows in zones four through nine

The scientific name of these hickory trees are Carya Tomentosa, and they are tall deciduous trees growing up to 100 feet and would live for so many years. This tree is common in Illinois growing in abundance with a few dozen species, and they are known to be producing their little seeds.

It grows slowly, reaching a height of 80 feet maximum. The crown is dense and rounded and can take about 25 years to produce edible fruits, and they would thrive when the weather is 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

15. Eastern White Pine

Grand Eastern White Pine

  • Have bluish-green needles
  • Commonly used as a Christmas tree
  • Grows to about 50 to 80 feet tall
  • The crown reaches 20 to 40 feet wide
  • Many bird species make their nests here
  • The bark is food for rabbits, porcupines, and weevils
  • Used as a Christmas tree
Growing regions 
  •  Thrive in USDA hardiness zones three to eight

Pinus Strobus is a hardy tree that forms clusters of bluish-green needles, and it is famously known of how it grows quickly by at least two feet each year, reaching up to 80 feet throughout their lifespan. It is widely used as a Christmas tree because it grows fast and is easily transported.

This tree is also best for blocking the wind, housing, and feeding wildlife, they are also ones that add a cottage-like feature to your house. It creates pine cones after increasing for a long time, and they are known for their elongated shapes.

16. Shagbark Hickory

Tower Shagbark Hickory Tree

  • Have five leaflets
  • Green on top and pale and hairy underneath
  • Shaggy-looking bark
  •  Reaches up to 60 to 80 feet tall
  • The trunk is about a foot in diameter
  • The nuts are food for squirrels, chipmunks, and birds
  • Wood makes flooring materials, tool handles, and furniture
Growing regions 
  • Grows in the eastern and Midwestern United States
  • Thrives in USDA hardiness zones four through eight

Carya Ovata is a tree that features long, peeling strips of bark, and most commonly it is known as the shagbark hickory. The reason why it is unique is that most animals, like Indiana bats, make their homes in the spaces beneath the loose bark.

The branches and leaves are oval-shaped, and the tree is one that would grow from 60 to 80 feet tall. This deciduous tree has beautiful autumn leaves that turn yellowish brown.


Types of trees in Illinois are as many as this list and many more that we could not include here. Before you go, how about a few pointers to remind you of the essential facts?

  • Carefully choose your planting area, as most trees require ample growing space.
  • Go for trees that can fit in your landscape; there are both small and large trees, so you have many options.
  • If you want a tree to provide excellent shade, go for oak, elm, and maple trees that are easy to maintain and offer you shade for many years.

This gives you the comfort of knowing you have a wide range to choose from when adding trees to your landscape. Have a fun-filled tree-planting session in your landscape, and don’t forget to share how it’s going with us.

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