River birch and crape myrtle come to mind when you think about trees (or tall shrubs that can be made to grow tree-like) with attractive bark.
But there are other choices, a few harder to find, but worth the effort to locate and plant in the landscape.
Tree bark stands out most in winter when there are no flowers or less foliage to compete with it.
Striped maple or moosewood is an understory found in eastern North American forests.
Its green bark is marked with conspicuous white stripes that fade with age.
The cultivar “Ery~ocladum” produces brilliant coral stems that age to orange-red with prominent white stripes.
Lacebark pine, native to China, is a slow-growing multi-trunked tree.
Its nickname might be the “camo-tree” because as its bark peals it exposes jigsaw patches of color that range from olive green to brown, gray and white.
With time the coloration develops into intricate, lacy patterns.
Paperbark maple, another China import, grows to about thirty feet.
Its reddish brown bark begins to exfoliate while young, giving it an interesting texture.
In autumn, its trifoliate leaves turn red and bronze.
Still another Asian species, Japanese stewartia, reaches up to forty feet. This tree has it all - fragrant, camellia-like summer flowers, deep red fall foliage and magnificent sinewy bark that exfoliates in bold patches of tan, brown and gray.
Paperbark cherry from - you guessed it - western China, sports white spring blooms.
It is a smaller sized, rounded tree. Its peeling bark sloughs to display glossy swatches in shades of red, brown and mahogany.
It has the typical horizontal lenticels of cherries.
Other trees you might wish to check out include: shagbark hickory, katsura tree, Kousa dogwood, the beeches, eastern red cedar, Chinese quince, Sargent cherry and Chinese evergreen oak.