Toponymic Map of the U.S. Vegetation

While ago, I made a toponymic biomes map of the United States. Now it’s time to make a toponymic map of the U.S. vegetation.

There are more than 640 various species of trees in the U.S., 186 of which are endemic. So I decided to focus on the most common tree species in the United States.

According to the National Atlas website, in the West, Douglas-fir is the most common tree by volume, with nearly twice the volume of the following most common species, Loblolly pine, in the South. These ten species account for 45% of all live volume.

Red maple, in the North, is the most common tree found in U.S. forests, followed closely by Loblolly pine, the most commonly planted tree, in the South. These 10 species account for 39% of all trees.

I downloaded a huge text file of named places from the U.S. Board of Geographic Names and attached it as XY data into an ArcGIS geodatabase.

Let’s see how many populated places in the United States contain the names of the most common tree species.


Oak is the national tree of the United States, so it is not surprising that the U.S. Board of Geographic Names contains information about 16,003 populated places that have the words “Oak” or “Oaks” in their names.

White Oak (Quercus alba) is the most common oak species in the United States. White oak grows in a wide range of habitats. It is native to the eastern and central regions of the United States.


36 pine species are grown in the U.S., with many found in the country’s east and west. There are 12,583 populated places of the nation that contain the word “pine.”

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) are the most common in the United States.

Loblolly pine is native pine species to the Southeastern U.S., from East Texas to Florida and north to southern New Jersey. It is the most widely planted pine tree in the eastern coastal U.S. states. Lodgepole Pine is a typical tree in the Pacific Northwestern part of the U.S.


About 3,119 localities in the United States contain the word “Maple”.

The most common in the United States are Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). Red Maple mainly grows in the eastern U.S. while Sugar Maple in the Northeast.

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