If you come from the Great Lakes State, you may already be familiar with the Black Cherry and the Dogwood.
As the seasons change and the landscape transforms, their delicate blossoms grace the landscape with ethereal beauty.
But these are just two of them; there are still hundreds of white flowering trees in Michigan!
In this article, I will walk you through a collection of Michigan trees with white blossoms.
Whether you are an arbor enthusiast or simply a nature lover, join me as I delve into the world of these botanical wonders, where each bloom tells a tale of natural splendor!
How To Identify A Michigan Tree With White Flowers?
As mentioned, the state boasts a wide array of white flowering trees.
It can be hard to identify them just by looking at the blossoms, but there are many clues and features that distinguish them from each other. Look out for:
- Size & shape: Trees come in various sizes, ranging from small ornamental varieties to majestic giants.
Pay attention to their overall height, spread, and arrangement of branches. Some species have a distinctive canopy shape, such as a broad, spreading crown or a conical form.
- Bark: The bark of a tree can be a valuable identifier. Examine its texture, color, and any unique patterns or markings.
The Chokeberry has smooth, even bark, while the Dogwood displays fissures, ridges, or peeling layers. Bark color can range from pale gray to dark brown or even reddish hues.
- Leaves & needles: The characteristics of leaves and needles provide significant clues for tree identification. Observe the shape and arrangement of the leaves.
Are they simple (with one leaf blade) or compound (multiple leaflets)? Look for serrated or smooth edges, lobes, or unique leaf patterns.
Take note of the leaf color and any color changes during different seasons.
20 White Flowering Trees In Michigan
American Plum, Hawthorn, and Dogwood are among the most beloved white flowering trees native to Michigan. Other notable names include the Juneberry, Horse Chestnut, Mountain Ash, and Wild Apple.
For those new to botany, it will still take a while to recognize each Michigan tree with white blossoms using the criteria above.
That’s why I have compiled an identification guide consisting of 20 common species. Scroll down to learn about their characteristics, growth habits, and unique features:
Native to Southern America, the American Plum (also known as Wild Plum) is one of the most useful Michigan flowering trees, providing nourishment and shelter to many wildlife species.
This beautiful tree does well in sandy, well-drained soils and rarely grows more than 15 feet tall.
The American Plum’s leaves are not divided into leaflets. They are generally ovate or elliptical in shape, with a pointed tip and a tapered base.
In the growing season, they have a lush green color that transitions to vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red during the fall, adding to the tree’s visual appeal.
Bursting forth in early spring, usually around April, the American Plum flowers herald the arrival of a new season. These white blossoms are 5-petaled, approximately 1 inch in size.
You can identify them with the green sepals. When summer comes, they give way to edible, fleshy red plums that can be used to make wine, jam, or jellies.
In contrast to the former, the Canada Plum (Black Plum) is native to North America. Regarding appearance and growth habits, this understory tree is very similar to the American Plum.
If you pay closer attention to both of them, though, you will notice that the Canada Plum tree is slightly larger in size.
Commonly found in forests, it prefers more acidic environments than its American counterpart.
While both produce white blossoms in spring, the Canada Plum flowers distinguish themselves by their red sepals. What really sets them apart, however, is their fruit.
The American plums appear bright red, while the Canada plums have a more yellowy shade.
One of the best flowering trees in Michigan, according to the locals, is the Black Cherry. Reaching a height of up to 75 feet, these trees adorn the state’s landscape with their majestic appearance.
The glossy, dark green leaves have a simple, lance-shaped design. You can recognize them by the finely serrated edges that add a touch of refinement to their appearance.
Each leaf measures about 2 to 5 inches long, creating a lush canopy that offers welcome shade during warm months.
Of course, what gives the Black Cherry tree its ornamental value are its clusters of fragrant white flowers. They bloom in late spring to form a captivating spectacle against the backdrop of lush foliage.
As the season progresses, these flowers give way to small, dark purple to almost black cherries.
When fully ripe, these fruits offer a succulent and juicy flesh that is lusciously sweet, pleasing the palate with its natural flavors.
Reaching a height of 15–35 feet, the Chokecherry features multiple twisted trunks and an irregular, open crown with few branches.
Its shiny green leaves are oval in shape and rarely exceed 5 inches in length.
Around May, the tree blooms with white, five-petaled flowers that exude an unpleasant odor. Therefore, it is not a well-loved white flowering tree in Michigan compared to other names on this list.
As summer ends, the tree produces yellowish fruits that turn black when mature. These cherries contain cyanide, which gives them a bitter almond taste.
Although the fruits are not poisonous to humans, they are pretty astringent to eat raw.
Kentucky Coffeetree, a scarce natural plant, thrives in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
It features crooked branches and numerous blue-green leaflets that transform into plate-like structures with curled edges as they mature.
Despite the name, Kentucky Coffeetree’s seeds are not used for coffee. When these dark-colored seeds get wet, the pulps surrounding them become sticky.
Due to the seeds’ bitterness, they are not a popular food source for wildlife either.
The true point in this lovely tree’s favor is its small, white blooms that cluster on long stalks, making it a splendid ornamental tree. In spring and summer, the tree provides ample shade in sunny spots.
In the colder months, its foliage is the first to change hues, creating an incredible palette of reds, oranges, and golds.
Hawthorn is a diminutive, deciduous tree that can soar up to 30 feet. As a result of its towering height, it boasts a dense crown of leaves and branches.
The leaves are deeply hued in a shade of green and are characterized by their lobed appearance, while the flowers exquisitely bloom in clusters of up to 5 inches.
The blossoms come in shades of white or pink, each exuding a soft and sweet fragrance that lures pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Hawthorn has a rich history of over 100 years and is enshrined in American mythology. It is believed to possess medicinal properties that aid the heart and circulatory system.
Nowadays, the U.S. is home to more than 200 Hawthorn species. It is challenging to tell native Michigan Hawthorn apart from other varieties.
The Juneberry is a compact-sized plant that can reach a maximum of 20 feet. The tree’s trunk is very slender, and its simple, oval leaves form a round canopy.
At the beginning of April, Juneberry adorns itself with tiny, upright flowers that create hundreds of clusters. Those make it one of the most beautiful Michigan flowering trees.
Following the flowers, the tree bears crimson berry-like fruits many wildlife species enjoy.
Also called Sweet Viburnum, this natural tree can reach up to 20 feet. Its appearance resembles a giant shrub, with drooping branches and an oblique crown.
The tree produces flat clusters of pure white flowers that eventually turn into green fruits. When mature, these fruits have a deep shade of purple and a texture similar to raisins.
While they taste pleasant, folks often use nannyberries to make jam or jellies instead of eating them raw.
Like the Juneberry, the Roundleaf Serviceberry tree has slender trunks and a spherical canopy. It is also a small plant with a maximum height of 20 feet.
While it is called “Roundleaf”, the leaves of Serviceberry may vary from oval to round. They rarely exceed 4 inches in length and have blunt or rounded tips.
Its flower clusters are small and rather subtle, measuring 1/2 inch in diameter.
The Roundleaf Serviceberry serves as both nourishment and shelter for various wildlife species, with its fruit being their vital food source. You can also use these berries to make delicious sweet treats.
The Fire Cherry tree (Prunus pensylvanica), also known as Pin Cherry, is a remarkable and versatile native tree found in various regions of Michigan.
With its slender, upright branches and glossy, ovate leaves, this deciduous tree exudes a unique and captivating charm in the landscape.
What makes Pin Cherry special is the ability to thrive in various environments, from disturbed areas to forest edges. Thanks to its resilience, the plant is entitled to the “pioneer species“.
During spring, the tree boasts delicate clusters of white flowers that blanket its boughs, creating a stunning spectacle that attracts pollinators.
As the season progresses, these flowers give way to bright red, edible fruit, eagerly sought after by wildlife.
Pin Cherry trees are not the only hardy tree with white flowers Michigan. Another remarkable name is Black Locust, whose flexibility allows it to grow in various soil types.
The species is native to the southeastern United States but has been widely naturalized across the whole country.
As a deciduous tree, it presents a graceful form with compound leaves featuring numerous leaflets, creating a lush and feathery canopy.
In late spring to early summer, the Black Locust showcases its splendor with cascading clusters of fragrant white flowers.
As the season progresses, the tree develops elongated seed pods filled with tiny seeds, contributing to its ecological role in supporting wildlife.
Due to its hardiness, the Black Locust is often used for reforestation and erosion control.
Its adaptable nature, aesthetic appeal, and ecological significance make the Black Locust a cherished and valuable addition to both natural and cultivated landscapes.
The Wild Apple is among the non-native plants that thrive in Michigan’s warm and humid climate. Its leaves are simple and oval-shaped with a dark green color.
They have a smooth texture on the upper surface and are covered with fine hairs, giving them a slightly fuzzy or hairy appearance on the underside.
The leaves create a lush and vibrant canopy, providing shade and contributing to its overall beauty when it is in full foliage during the growing season.
But the tree’s true beauty lies in its small and showy flowers, which come in various shades of white, pink, or even light red.
They are arranged in clusters known as inflorescences, creating a beautiful and eye-catching display when the tree is in bloom.
These flowers add a touch of charm and beauty to the landscape during their blooming season, making the Wild Apple tree a favorite among gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.
The Staghorn Sumac tree (Rhus typhina) is a woody perennial belonging to the Anacardiaceae family, known for its distinctive appearance and ecological significance.
Native to eastern North America, this deciduous tree is characterized by its striking compound leaves and unique branching pattern, which give rise to its common name, “Staghorn.”
The compound leaves, composed of numerous leaflets, resemble the antlers of a deer, further emphasizing its intriguing moniker.
From late spring to early summer, the Staghorn Sumac produces inconspicuous flowers. These blossoms’ most notable features are their small size and yellow-white coloration.
They are arranged in dense, upright clusters known as panicles, which can grow up to a foot in length.
During late summer, the female Staghorn Sumac produces clusters of crimson, conical-shaped fruits known as drupes, which persist throughout winter.
The tree’s fruits, while not suitable for human consumption due to their tart flavor, serve as an essential source of sustenance for various bird species and small mammals.
The Horse Chestnut is one of the easiest species to recognize due to its impressive size and grandeur.
It stands tall, with a maximum height of 75 feet, and features a dense crown adorned with hand-shaped compound leaves.
During the spring season, the Horse Chestnut tree puts on a dazzling display of showy white or pinkish flowers arranged in striking upright clusters.
As the flowers fade, they give way to the tree’s distinctive fruit, the chestnut, enclosed in a spiky husk.
The large, glossy brown seeds, commonly known as conkers, are beloved by children for traditional playground games.
Aside from its ornamental value, the Horse Chestnut is also cherished for its medicinal properties. Extracts from its seeds have been used in traditional herbal remedies for ages.
The Dogwood Tree, scientifically known as Cornus florida, is a deciduous tree widely recognized in Michigan for its captivating springtime display of pink or white bracts.
Interestingly, these bracts are not actually petals but modified leaves that surround the true flowers.
Native to North America, the Dogwood Tree is not only a visually stunning species but also plays a vital ecological role in providing nourishment and shelter for a diverse range of wildlife.
From birds to squirrels, this beloved tree serves as a food source and habitat for many forest-dwelling animals.
However, its benefits extend beyond the wilderness, as the Dogwood Tree is also a popular choice for residential landscapes.
Its delicate beauty and ecological importance make the Dogwood a remarkable species that deserves recognition and appreciation.
The Common Ninebark is not as famous as the Dogwood or Horse Chestnut. Nonetheless, this deciduous shrub is among the most prominent and versatile trees with white flowers in Michigan.
Characterized by its unique peeling bark, which separates into multiple layers, this shrub exhibits a captivating and multi-stemmed form. It can reach a height of up to 10 feet.
The Common Ninebark boasts compound leaves with toothed margins and appealing clusters of small, delicate white or pink flowers that emerge in late spring to early summer.
Following the flowering period, the shrub produces clusters of fruit capsules that transition from green to brown.
Known for its adaptability to various environmental conditions, the Common Ninebark is an invaluable component of riparian ecosystems and upland habitats.
Additionally, this shrub holds cultural significance for indigenous communities, as its fibrous inner bark was historically employed for medicinal and utilitarian purposes.
Double Mock Orange
The Double Mock Orange tree, a deciduous shrub in the Hydrangeaceae family, is famous for its aesthetic appeal and fragrant flowers.
With an average height ranging from 6 to 10 feet, the medium-sized tree showcases a dense and multi-stemmed form.
During late spring to early summer, the Double Mock Orange tree produces exquisite clusters of white, double flowers imbued with a delightful citrus-like scent, captivating both the visual and olfactory senses.
This shrub’s charm extends to its adaptability, as it thrives in various soil conditions and sunlight exposures.
Back in the 1990s, you could only find Highbush Cranberry trees in the boreal forests of Canada.
Nowadays, though, they are present in various states of the United States, including Michigan, Maine, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
This species thrives in multiple habitats, including wetlands, streambanks, woodland edges, and disturbed areas.
Typically, this deciduous shrub can grow between 2 to 4 meters in height.
Its leaves are opposite, palmately veined, and deeply lobed, resembling the shape of a trident, hence the specific epithet “trilobum.”
The leaves display rich autumnal colors ranging from vibrant reds to warm yellows before shedding in winter.
The tree’s inflorescence consists of creamy white, flat-topped clusters of flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer.
The small, edible fruit develops in late summer and persists throughout late winter, adding a splash of color to the landscape.
Commonly known as the European Mountain Ash or Rowan, this iconic tree often establishes itself on disturbed sites in Michigan.
Its bark is smooth and grayish-brown in young trees, developing shallow fissures and becoming darker as the tree matures.
The tree’s leaves are pinnate with serrated margins and consist of 9 to 15 leaflets, imparting a feathery appearance.
During spring, the Mountain Ash bears clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers, which later give way to clusters of small, spherical, and vivid red berries in the autumn.
Its abundant, nutrient-rich berries serve as a crucial food source for a diverse range of wildlife, including birds like thrushes, blackbirds, and waxwings, as well as small mammals like squirrels and rodents.
Throughout history, Mountain Ash has held cultural significance in various societies. It features prominently in folklore and traditional practices across Europe and Asia.
In Oriental cultures, Mountain Ash’s flowers symbolize growth, protective qualities, and good fortune.
Northern Catalpa Tree
Finally, we have the Northern Catalpa Tree. This is among the largest white flowering trees for Michigan, typically reaching heights of 30 meters.
The tree’s bark is dark gray, exhibiting fissures and prominent ridges as it matures. Its heart-shaped leaves are arranged in an opposite pattern. They can grow up to 30 centimeters in length.
During the flowering season, the Northern Catalpa tree displays showy, trumpet-shaped, white flowers adorned with purple and yellow markings, arranged in dense panicles.
These flowers are attractive to various pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
In autumn, the tree produces long, slender, cylindrical fruit capsules filled with numerous flat seeds, facilitating wind dispersal.
What Are Some Best Flowering Trees For Michigan?
Some of the best flowering trees for Michigan include:
- Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), which produces delicate pink to purple blossoms in early spring
- Dogwood (Cornus florida), renowned for its showy white or pink flowers and distinctive red berries in the fall
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), which offers clusters of white flowers in the spring followed by edible berries in summer.
When Do Trees Start To Bud In Michigan?
Generally, bud break commences in early spring, typically from late March to early May.
However, this can be influenced by local factors, such as elevation, proximity to large bodies of water, and microclimates.
Species like the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) and the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) are among the early bloomers, showing their first buds as early as March.
In contrast, trees like the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) may not start budding until April or even early May.
What Tree Has The Longest Blooming Period In Michigan?
The Flowering Dogwood typically has the longest blooming period among trees in Michigan.
The flowering season of this species can extend from late April to early June, depending on the specific climatic conditions and the region within the state.
The presence of white flowering trees in Michigan adds an enchanting aspect to the state’s landscapes.
With a wide range of species to choose from, such as the Hawthorn, Dogwood, Serviceberry, and American Plum, residents and landscape enthusiasts can enjoy a captivating blooming period that typically spans from late March to early June.
These elegant trees don’t only contribute to the visual splendor but also provide essential resources for local wildlife, making them valuable assets to the state’s ecological balance.