Colorado is known for its fall aspens, but those tend to turn color and finish up by the first week of October. In Colorado Springs, our in-town color doesn’t really start kicking in in earnest until about that same time. So we get a nice long season of fall color most years. 

I’ve posted many times about the plants that are blooming in the park throughout the spring and summer seasons, but I’ve never really given a list of the trees that one can see in the north part of the park (the more “natural” part of the park where I concentrate my plant watching efforts). After a group of about thirty gathered for my annual tree walk early last month, I promised a list of the trees, so here we go….

Trees of North Monument Valley Park

(scientific name and native/alien status given for first mention of each tree) 

(NOTE: If you would like just a quick overall list of the trees, jump to the bottom of the post.)

Near the Fontanero St parking lot
–  Pinon pines (Pinus edulis) – Native – These are very large, mature specimens of these trees. Our area is at the north part of this tree’s native range.

–  Ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) – Native 

–  Plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) – Native – This large specimen is right on the edge of the parking lot

–  Rocky Mountain junipers (Sabina scopulorum) – Native

– Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos), Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila), American elm (Ulmus americana), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) – all Alien/Introduced

– White mulberry (Morus alba), Alien/Introduced – This tree was new this year, probably planted by a bird. Not a terribly impressive specimen, but it is known for dispersing its pollen at over 350 mph, making this the fastest movement in the plant kingdom!

– Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) – Native – We are losing these rapidly and there are only a few left in the northern part of the park.

Moving north about 30-40 yards, we get to the….Big Overlook to the West 

– Very large grove of plains cottonwoods down below

– Japanese tree lilac (Syringa japonica) – Alien/Introduced – There are several throughout the park (most noticable when blooming); here you can see some down below to the west.

– Turn around and there are some newly planted Rocky Mountain junipers

 Continuing north, we come to the West Edge of Boddington Field
– Looking to the west of the trail, you’ll see a row of “newly” planted pinon pines (these are slow growers and these trees have been in for at least 15 years)

– Looking west and down the hill, you may also notice the peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides) – Native. It’s a pretty rough looking tree, but it is definitely a survivor.

– Along the playing field edge of the trail, we see boxelder (Acer negundo) – Native, Siberian elms, and green ash.

Northwest and northern edge of Boddington Field

– Plains cottonwood 

– Narrowleaf cottonwood (Populus angustifoia) – Native – this cottonwood has narrow, willow-like leaves

– Lanceleaf cottonwood (Populus x acuminata) – Native – the cottonwood is a naturally occurring hybrid between the narrowleaf and plains cottonwoods.

– American plum (Prunus americana) – Native

– Chokecherry (Padus virginiana) – Native – This large woody shrub occurs in many places in the north part of the park.

Walking about 20 yards further north, along the east edge of the path
– Limber pine (Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s pyramid’) – Native – This is a cultivated variety of our limber pine, notable for its silver tone on the needles 

– Ponderosa pine – a somewhat newly planted specimen

– Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) – Alien/Introduced – This tree has noticeable pods in the fall and winter.

– Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) – Alien/Introduced  – There are a few of these in the wooded area to the west of the path here

Continuing north….
– new little and larger older Colorado spruces (Picea glauca) – Native

– White fir (Abies concolor) – Native 

– Russian hawthorn (Crataegus ambigua) – Alien/Introduced – This lovely small tree is near the far north parking lot (almost at the very north end of the park). If you catch it in fall or winter, you’ll notice the many red berries that cover it.

Overall Tree List

White fir (Abies concolor) – Native 
Boxelder (Acer negundo) – Native
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) – Alien/Introduced
Russian hawthorn (Crataegus ambigua) – Alien/Introduced
Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) – Alien/Introduced
Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) – Alien/Introduced
Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) – Alien/Introduced
White mulberry (Morus alba), Alien/Introduced
Chokecherry (Padus virginiana; syn Prunus virginiana) – Native
Colorado spruce (Picea glauca) – Native
Pinon pine (Pinus edulis) – Native
Limber pine (Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s pyramid’) – Native
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Lanceleaf cottonwood (Populus x acuminata) – Native
Narrowleaf cottonwood (Populus angustifoia) – Native
Plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) – Native
American plum (Prunus americana) – Native
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) – Native
Rocky Mountain junipers (Sabina scopulorum; syn Juniperus scopulorum) – Native
Peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides) – Native
Japanese tree lilac (Syringa japonica) – Alien/Introduced
American elm (Ulmus americana) – Alien/Introduced
Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) – Alien/Introduced