During the early years of operation at Allegheny Cemetery, a wide variety of
trees were offered for planting. Some have survived, some have not, but the
mixture has brought about the introduction of a considerable number of species
that did not or may not have existed here under original conditions.
Western Pennsylvania two hundred years ago was nearly entirely wooded. This
region was typically covered with a mixed forest of hardwoods, particularly
oak, beech, maple and chestnut with sassafras, gum, sycamore, hickory, walnut,
and tulip. Understory shrubs of witch hazel, alder, redbud, laurel, rhododendron,
dogwood and sumac were typical along the forest edges. Wildflowers such as trillium
hepatica, squirrel corn, Dutchman's breeches, blue flag and many others would
have been common. On the North facing slopes of the valley, there were probably
hemlocks and white pine trees, the predominant evergreens in this area. Remnants
of the mighty oaks still stand.
The trees and shrubs are not labeled here, providing a bit of a challenge in
identification and recognition, but a splendid exercise for investigation. Quite
a number of trees and shrubs introduced for their landscape quality are not
native. Norway spruce, lilac, euonymus, forsythia, crabapple and others are
mostly European or Asian in origin.
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