Top Ten Interesting and Unique Trees

Top Ten Interesting and Unique Trees

red bud tree

We at Nature Hills love trees! Trees of every shape, size, and form, every flower color and leaf shape. But it’s hard not to love the new and unusual varieties just a bit more! Those trees that you just don’t see very often in peoples yards.

But when you do see one - it’s almost a life changing experience!

Unique and unexpected varieties of Trees are surefire standouts and turn heads of anyone that sees them! Trees with interesting flowers, leaves that are variegated, or weeping forms, they always have a special je ne sais quoi!

Check out what we feel are the top ten most interesting and unique head-turners on the market today!

Nature Hills Top Ten Unique Trees You Need To Consider!

Curb appeal, specimen plantings, and conversation pieces! Oh-My! It may be impossible to choose just one of these remarkable and unusual trees!

In no particular order, here are Nature Hills picks for the most eye-catching trees available!

1. Golden Rain Tree

Dripping clusters of golden-yellow blooms, the Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) not only has incredible flowers that resemble cascading ornaments, but the compound foliage is highly ornamental as well! Not only will these blooms last for a month or more during the summertime when few other trees are in flower, but the heavenly fragrance they carry is out of this world!

Golden Rain Tree Row

  • Umbrella Shaped Canopy
  • Long-Lasting Display of Yellow Blooms
  • Chinese Lantern Seed Pods For Fall/Winter Interest
  • Orange-Yellow Fall Color & Attractive Bark
  • Tough, Rugged, Easy Care & Fast Growing Once Established
  • Tolerates Urban Pollution & Extremely Drought Tolerant!

Not only will your tree be buzzing with interest since there are so few yellow-flowering trees out there, but bees and butterflies seek out the nectar-rich blooms. Once the flowers fade, you’ll be treated with papery brown Chinese Lantern-like seed pods and an incredible display of orange-yellow fall color too!

2. Purple Robe Locust Tree

From dripping yellow clusters of flowers to dangling purple clusters of jewels! Our next spectacular tree of interest is the Purple Robe Locust Tree (Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe')! Also deliciously scented, the unexpected burst of soft purple color on this ornamental tree sets Purple Robe apart! Featuring finely cut compound foliage with smaller leaflets, each spring, the leaves emerge reddish bronze, before maturing to dark blue-green. The small leaflets turn yellow in the autumn, then practically clean up after themselves in the fall! 

Purple Robe Locust

  • Fragrant, Wisteria-Like Purple Flower Clusters
  • Fast Growing & Easy-Care
  • Mid-Sized Ornamental Flowering Tree
  • Fine-Textured Oval Leaflets On Compound Foliage
  • Few to No Thorns
  • Excellent, Hard-Wooded Street Tree, Shade & Specimen Lawn Tree
  • Gorgeous Yellow Fall Color & Fall Clean-Up Is A Breeze!

The dramatic dangling lavender-blue blossoms are favorites among pollinators and resemble their Pea-Family relations. An improved form with few to no thorns, you’ll love the lithe and graceful form, dappled light shade that lets the grass grow beneath these trees, making Purple Robe an ideal front lawn tree! In fact the lawn will look better as this legume has the same nitrogen-fixing properties as the rest of the family!

3. Black Pearl™ Redbud Tree

Glossy heart-shaped leaves in a dramatic dark reddish-purple hue all growing season? You got it with the Black Pearl™ Redbud Tree (Cercis canadensis 'JN16')! You’ll enjoy the usual burst of bright pink as the first signs of spring when the Pea-like flowers appear directly on the bare branches to kick off the growing season! Redbud trees are already interesting due to this explosion of early spring color and their unusual zig-zagging branching, but when you add that incredibly dark foliage with a high gloss finish, then you get something truly head-turning!

black pearl

  • Leaves Are So Dark-Purple, They Are Nearly Black
  • New Leaves Are Incredibly Glossy & Hold Their Color
  • Thick, Leathery Heart-Shaped Leaves
  • Foliage Gets Even Darker In The Fall!
  • One of the First Trees to Bloom
  • Pea-Shaped, Pink-Lavender Flowers on Bare Branches & Trunk
  • Disease-Resistant, Easy-Care & Widely Adapted - Handles Clay Soil!

This mid-sized ornamental is an "over the top" focal point to place front and center in your landscape and will certainly slow down traffic as it passes your property! Dark gray bark makes a perfect, high-impact contrast. Spring, summer, and fall, Black Pearl™ will be the pride of your landscape, and the talk of your neighborhood!


4. Coral Bark Japanese Maple

Trees with unexpected coloration are always welcome landscape additions and the Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') features eye-popping color - on its bark! Featuring the usual yet still highly sought-after finely-textured lacy leaves of the Japanese Maple family, Coral Bark goes further with blushing coral-red stems and branching, plus reddish leaf margins that seem to light up the landscape!

  • Vibrant, Coral-Red Bark on Young Stems
  • Four Seasons of Interest
  • Attractive, Finely Dissected Foliage with Reddish Leaf Margins
  • Smaller in Stature and Very Versatile
  • Easy to Grow
  • Hardy Across a Wide Range of Zones

In fall, the leaves turn a beautifully luminous, rich golden-orange! Even better, Coral Bark prefers the understory instead of sun, giving you and your garden a burst of color beneath the canopy of larger, established trees! The intense reds turn up the volume to a fever pitch as the temperatures plummet for the winter months. The winter bark of the younger thinner branches exhibit an electric, fluorescent, coral color. It might literally knock your socks off!

5. White Fringe Tree (Grancy Graybeard Tree)

For a unique pleasantly fragrant tree that’s also a hardy native, the White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus var. maritimus) is a fantastic lacy option to light up the dappled shade or sun landscape! Never overpowering in size, the graceful airy branching, fine-textured foliage, and unusual white ribbon-like petals on both male and female plants create an incredible show all growing season!

White Fringe Tree

  • Gorgeous Native Tree
  • Airy & Open Canopy - Great Fine-Textured Form
  • Showy, Smaller Ornamental Tree
  • Fragrant Flowers Resemble Streamers or Ribbons On Male & Female Plants
  • Berries on Female Plants
  • Urban Environment Tolerant
  • Tolerant of Some Shade & Space Saving Size

A member of the Olive family, little fruitlets form on female plants if pollinated and draws songbirds to your yard! The White Fringe Tree has a soft, sweet, open branching structure that lights up in the autumn as the spear-shaped foliage transforms into a pleasing golden-yellow to round out the growing season!

6. Moonglow Juniper

A new addition to the Nature Hills website, the silvery blue of the Moonglow Juniper Tree (Juniperus scopulorum 'Moonglow') will indeed be slowing traffic on your street and have the neighbors green with envy! Radiant as the lunar surface, the shimmering branches of these fine-textured Conifers just glow like moonlight!

Moonglow Juniper

  • Upright Pyramidal Evergreen
  • Narrow Columnar Profile
  • Dramatic Silvery-Blue Foliage
  • Graceful Soft Foliage
  • Easy Care & Low Maintenance
  • Ornamental Blue Berries
  • Salt & Urban Condition Tolerant
  • Xeric Low Water Tree

The branches are accented by silver-blue berries later in the season that match the glowing theme! These evergreens are an amazing sculptural element for the garden! With a dense, compact branching habit and upwards pointing branches, Moonglow Juniper trees are attractive landscape accents!

7. Seiryu Japanese Maple Tree

The Seiryu Japanese Maple tree (Acer palmatum 'Seiryu') is a smaller ornamental foliage tree with incredible form, lacy cut-leaf foliage, and fall color! Seiryu will stand tall and proud for you, losing none of the innate charm of Japanese Maples yet stands out among all the other Laceleaf varieties or weeping forms typically seen in other landscapes! The smaller leaves are fine-textured and look quite sweet. They'll showcase a lovely color-changing show over the course of the growing season. 

Seiryu Japanese Maple Tree

  • Ornamental Tiered Branches and Upright Form
  • Fine-Textured Focal Point - Perfect for Small Space Gardens
  • Fits in Courtyard and Patio Plantings
  • Easy-Care, Vigorous Grower
  • Colorful Leaves Start Out Red-Edged in Spring
  • Fall Display Starts Fiery Orange, Deepens to Burgundy
  • Finely Dissected Lacy Leaves

Use one as a living piece of art! As fall comes on, you'll be treated to a spectacular display of bold yellow-orange color. This electric display eventually deepens to a saturated burgundy before leaf drop. Seiryu earned a reputation as one of the easiest Japanese Maples to grow and maintain.

8. Sky Tower™ Ginkgo Tree

Want all the primordial beauty and gorgeous clear yellow fall color of a Ginkgo Tree without their massive size? You want to check out this Sky Tower™ Ginkgo Tree (Ginkgo biloba 'JN9') and its columnar profile that fits into practically every yard! Featuring all the perks and beauty of their larger cousins, Sky Tower™ has the instantly recognizable, fan-shaped, green leaves that flutter and sway in the slightest breeze. They catch wind, due to their aerodynamic shape and the long petioles that attach it to the branches.

Sky Tower™ Ginkgo Tree

  • Rich Green, Fan-Shaped Leaves
  • Cultivar of Ancient "Fossil" Tree
  • Male Variety Does Not Develop Seed!
  • Incredible Golden Fall Color
  • Wonderfully Slender Statement Tree!
  • Modern Form Easily Fits Small-Space Landscapes & Long-Lived Legacy Tree
  • Small-Footprint Specimen, Shade & Street Tree

In autumn, the foliage of this male clone brightens to an illuminated yellow, lit from within. All eyes will be drawn to the golden glow that is electrifying in its intensity! These trees can handle high heat and freezing cold while saving space in your landscape. Sky Tower™ is deeply rooted and shows resistance to both snow and wind damage.

9. Bracken's Brown Beauty Magnolia Tree

Want all the southern charm of the iconic Magnolia tree that is a cold-hardy broadleaf evergreen a little more north! Featuring bold two-tone foliage all year long, the Bracken's Brown Beauty Magnolia Tree (Magnolia grandiflora 'Brackens' Brown Beauty') is a real stunner! Coarse-textured foliage and felted brown accents on the leaves and stems make this bold ornamental tree really stand out. Plus you get those classic, enormous, creamy-white blooms and their incredible lemony fragrance all spring and summer! 

Bracken's Brown Beauty Magnolia Tree

  • Large Creamy-White Bowl-Shaped Flowers
  • Lemony Sweet Perfume
  • Spring to Summer Bloom Time
  • Felted Leaf Undersides, New Growth & Stems!
  • Two-Tone Green & Brown Broad-Leaved Evergreen Foliage
  • Handles Colder Climates Than Other Evergreen Magnolia

The glossy, leathery foliage has a rich, dark olive-green on the top, accented with touchable fuzzy cinnamon-brown undersides for a two-tone effect all year long! Bracken's Brown Beauty is a fantastic shade tree, street tree, and larger specimen tree, sure to add a high-impact bold texture to your landscape!

10. Dawn Redwood Tree

Like the prehistoric Ginkgo above, the Dawn Redwood Tree (Metasequoia, glyptostroboides) is another spectacular legacy tree that has stood the test of time! The feathery soft needles are uniquely deciduous despite Dawn Redwood being a Coniferous tree It soars to great heights fast and brings a wonderful visual strength with it. You will love the look, and so will people for blocks around you.

dawn redbud

  • Long Thought Extinct, Discovered Alive in the 1940's
  • Grows Fast & Great Height
  • Hugely Ornamental with Flaring Basal Trunk
  • Long-Lived & Makes a Giant Statement
  • Cold Hardiest of the Redwoods

If you are the kind of person who needs to have the biggest and best, or if you are a history buff with a love of paleobotany, this is your tree! This is a tree you can see from a far distance. It creates an immediately recognizable landmark. Really, this tree has an incredible sense of style, gravitas and mystique. Large in stature, the Dawn Redwood was found throughout the global fossil record 50 million years ago. It grew in many places, including the United States, so you know it will do fantastic in your landscape today!

Set Your Landscape Apart From The Rest!

You’ll love being the talk of the neighborhood when you plant one of these or one of Nature Hills Nurseries many other unexpected ornamental trees in your yard this year!

Regardless of whether you go big or small, bold or graceful, these top 10 interesting and unique ornamental trees will set your property apart from all the others on the block!

Get yours ordered today at Nature Hills and we’ll ship your next conversation piece to your doorstep at the perfect planting time this spring!

Happy Planting!

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