The members of the genus Larix are distinguished from the firs, with which they were formerly placed, by their deciduous leaves, scattered singly, as in Abies, on the young shoots of the season, but on all older branchlets growing in whorl-like tufts, each surrounding the extremity of a rudimentary or abortive branch; they differ from cedars (Cedrus), which also have the fascicles of leaves on arrested branchlets, not only in the deciduous leaves, but in the cones, the scales of which are thinner towards the apex, and are persistent, remaining attached long after the seeds are discharged.
The leaves, short and glaucous, like those of the Scotch fir, have deciduous sheaths; the cones have recurved scale-points like those of the cheer pine.
Among deciduous trees the state is noted for its sugar maples; birch and beech are common on the hills, and oaks, elm, hickory, ash, poplar, basswood, willow, chestnut and butternut on the less elevated areas.
The trees employed for screens should include both those of deciduous and of evergreen habit, and should suit the peculiarities of local soil and climate.
In the eastern forest region the number of species decreases somewhat from south to north, but the entire region differs from the densely forested region of the Pacific Coast Transition zone in that it is essentially a region of deciduous or hardwood forests, while the latter is essentially one of coniferous trees; it differs from the forested region of the Rocky Mountains in that the latter is not only essentially a region of coniferous trees, but one where the forests do not by any means occupy the whole area, neither do they approach in density or economic importance those of the eastern division of the country.
Cuttings of deciduous plants should be taken off after the fall of the leaf.
In Ulodendron the large circular, distichously arranged prints were supposed to have been formed by the pressure of the bases of sessile cones, though this interpretation of the scars is open to doubt, and it is now more probable that they bore deciduous vegetative branches; in the Halonial branches characteristic of the genus Lepidophloios the tubercles may perhaps mark the points of insertion of pedunculate strobili.
The mistletoe is parasitic both on deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.
As to season, it is now admitted with respect to deciduous trees and shrubs that the earlier in autumn planting is performed the better; although some extend it from the period when the leaves fall to the first part of spring, before the sap begins to move.
Loblolly pine, cypress, oaks, hickory, ash, pecan, maple, beech and a few other deciduous trees are interspersed among both the long-leaf and the short-leaf pines, and the proportion of deciduous trees increases to the westward.