One important European tree that has had a large impact on the United States is the apple. The apple tree that produces the familiar fruit appears to have originated in southern Russia and made its way throughout Europe. Many apple varieties were cultivated by the Romans. The English and other European settlers of North America, finding only crab apples (North America’s only native apple) when they arrived, imported familiar apple varieties from Europe. Orchards were among the first things the English settlers of New England planted in Massachusetts Bay.
Many European shrubs have become immigrants too. The box and holly are much prized for foundation planting, and the privet makes a neat hedge. The buckthorn bush has also made the journey, although it is less widely sold at nurseries. The juniper in Europe is the same as the juniper in North America, but the raspberry is not. Currants and gooseberries are European shrubs that have been widely transplanted, although one of the European currant varieties harbors a disease that affects the North American white pine. By contrast, the cranberry is a North American shrub that has lately been transplanted to Europe. North American blueberries are quite different from the related species in Europe.
The raspberry bush found throughout eastern North America is a European native. Because birds are frequent consumers of its fruit, it has spread well beyond the beds where it was originally planted. The heather that covers many of the hills of northern Europe, where it is a native, has become popular with American florists as filler for bouquets. One of the most common landscape shrubs in the United States, the lilac, is of European origin, but it was among the earliest to make the trip to North America. Today the foundations of old colonial homesteads can often be located because, although the house is gone, the lilacs that once surrounded it survive.