Trees and Plants
There’s a reason the white pine is the state tree—vast stands of it once covered the northern portions of the state, making Michigan the nation’s leading lumber center. Michigan pine largely rebuilt Chicago after the Great Fire and supplied a hungry nation as it expanded westward across the treeless plains.
Today, a few tracts of virgin white pine, red pine, and cedar remain in Michigan, magnificent species scraping the sky several stories above. Much of Michigan’s original prime logging land is now second-growth pines, many growing tall again. Today’s logging operations still clear-cut, but in much smaller sections, and are increasingly turning to selective-cutting methods.
Along with pines in the north, much of the state is covered in hardwoods, especially oak, maple, aspen, and birch. Since Michigan has few native prairies, except in the southwestern corner of the state, many of its plant species are woodland varieties, including columbine, iris, aster, blazing star, various berries, and several species of orchids. Along the coastal dunes, milkweed and wormwood thrive.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel