S.O.G. 402 Tree ID Handout

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1 S.O.G. 402 Tree ID Handout Tree identification might seem like a daunting task at first, but it is a logical and easy process of gathering a set of clues. The first step in tree identification is knowing that there are always distinguishing characteristics that separate one tree species from another. By examining different tree parts you will be able to confidently identify the different trees. Like a detective, to be successful at tree identification, you will need to sharpen your observational skills. This will require some careful detective work on your part, but it should be fun and easy. The more clues you have, the more likely you will be successful at identifying the tree. As with most newly acquired skills, it might seem overwhelming at first, but with practice you will begin to find that it is simply a matter of paying attention to a few details about the tree and the environment in which it is found. Here are some clues that you will need to examine: TREE TYPE --Deciduous or Conifer? Tree or a shrub? Determining these things starts you off on your way to tree identification. LEAF --Leaves are often the easiest way to identify most trees. Are the leaves arranged in an opposite or alternate pattern? BARK --Bark can be helpful for identifying some types of trees. FRUIT --The wide variety of fruit shapes makes them useful when identifying trees. TWIG --You can actually tell a lot just by looking at the twig. FORM --The way a tree grows can tell you a great deal about a tree

2 Examples of tree forms. Leaf arrangements 1. Alternate (single leaf at each node) 2. Opposite (two leaves at each node) Leaf parts 1. Blade 2. Stalk 3. Node 4. Lobes 5. Petiole Leaf characteristics 1. Leaf kind broadleaf, scale-like, needle-like. 2. Leaf margins - smooth, toothed, or serrate. 3. Leaf arrangement Simple, compound leaves, or whorled. 4. Lobes -pinnate or palmate leaves. 5. Leaf shape Linear, heart, ovate, etc

3 CONIFERS - Woody cone bearing seed gymnosperms (naked seed). Conifers are softwood plants that bear needle-like or scale-like foliage. Conifers are typically evergreen. 1. Loblolly Pine 2. Short Leaf Pine 3. Eastern Red Cedar 4. Bald cypress BROADLEAF EVERGREENS Bear flat, wide leaves that remain green throughout the year. 1. Southern Magnolia 2. American Holly 3. Wax Myrtle 4. Yew 5. Red Tip Photinia BROADLEAF TREE Any tree that has wide leaves, rather than slim, needle-like leaves found in conifers. Most are deciduous, hardwood trees. OAKS There are over six hundred species that exist. Oaks have spirally arranged leaves, hard grey bark with deep grooves and ridges. The circumference of the trunk may reach six foot or more, and can grow over one hundred feet tall. All oaks bear acorns for fruit. White Oak Leaves have deep rounded lobes and are uniform in size. The bark has white, ashy gray plates peeling away from the stem. Acorns mature in the first year. 1. Post Oak 2. Overcup Oak 3. Swamp Chestnut Oak Red Oak Leaves have spiny, pointed lobes. Acorn is dormant the first year. The dark reddish-gray brown bark has ridges that appear like striping all the way down the trunk. 1. Nuttal Oak 2. Willow Oak 3. Water Oak 4. Shumard Oak 5. Southern Red Oak HICKORY Produces dense, strong wood used to make tool handles. Narrow, dark green to yellow green leaves that grow in a compound structure. Always have an odd number of leaflets on each rachis. There is always a leaflet growing straight out the end of the rachis. The bark forms ridges in a vertical pattern. Bare large oval four chambered fruits

4 1. Shagbark Hickory 2. Mockernut Hickory 3. Pignut Hickory 4. Bitternut Hickory ELM There are only eight species in North America. Alternate leaves along two sides of the stem. The jagged leaves are oval in shape and come to a point at the end. The light grey to dark grayish-brown bark is rough and course, with intersecting ridges. Small blooms appear in early spring are yellow or purplish yellow. The seeds are round, flat covered by a thin, paper-like casing that hooks at the top, making them easily windblown. 1. Winged Elm 2. American Elm 3. Drake Elm 4. Princeton Elm MAGNOLIA - May be evergreen or deciduous trees known for their magnificent blooms. The fragrant blooms may vary in shape (saucer shaped, star shaped) and have five or more petals. The bark is grayish or brown. The simple leaves are arranged in an alternate pattern. The fruit is cone shaped, but not woody. Evergreen Magnolias 1. Little gem Magnolia 2. Southern Magnolia 3. DD Blanchard Magnolia Semi-evergreen Magnolias 1. Sweet bay Magnolia Deciduous Magnolias 1. Star Magnolia 2. Saucer Magnolia 3. Tulip Tree MAPLE Have single leaf blades, three to five deep lobes with notches between lobes. They are arranged in an opposite pattern. Produce a fruit called samara (pair of connected winged seeds). 1. Red Maple 2. Silver Maple 3. Sugar Maple 4. Japanese Maple 402-5

5 S.O.G. 402 Tree ID Handout: Approved Species List Common name Botanical name American Beech... Fragus grandfolia American Holly... Ilex opaca American Sycamore... Platanus ocidentalis Baldcypress... Taxodium distichum Bitternut Hickory... Carya cordiformis Black Cherry... Prunus serotina Black Walnut... Juglans nigra Blackjack Oak... Quercus muehlenbergii Cucumbertree Magnolia... Magnolia acuminate Crape Myrtle... Lagerstroemia indica Deodar Cedar... Cedrus deodara Dogwood... Cornus florida Drake Elm... Ulmus parvifolia Eastern Redcedar... Juniperus virginiana Kwanzan Cherry... Prunus serrulata Laurel Oak... Quercus laurifolia Little Gem Magnolia... Magnolia grandifolia Loblolly Pine... Pinus taeda Longleaf Pine... Pinus palustris Mockernut Hickory... Carya tomentosa Mary Nell Holly... Ilex mary nell Nellie R. Stevens Holly... Ilex x nellie r stevens Northern Red Oak... Quercus rubra Nuttall Oak... Quercus nuttallii Overcup Oak... Quercus lyrata 402-6

6 Pin Oak... Quercus palustris Pignut Hickory... Carya glabra Post Oak... Quercus stellate Pumpkin Ash... Fraxinus profunda Red Maple... Acer rubrum Red Mulberry... Morus rubra Redbud... Cercis canadensis River Birch... Betula nigra Sassafras... Sassafras albidum Shagbark Hickory... Carya ovate Saucer Magnolia... Magnolia x soulangeana Shortleaf Pine... Pinus echinata Shumard Oak... Quercus shumardi Slash Pine... Pinus elliottii Southern Magnolia... Magnolia grandifolra Southern Red Oak... Quercus Falcata Star Magnolia... Magnolia stellata Swamp Chestnut Oak... Quercus michauxii Sweetbay Magnolia... Magnolia virginiana Thuja Green Giant... Thuja standisii x plicata Water Oak... Quercus nigra Wax Myrtle... Morella cerifera White Oak... Quercus alba Willow Oak... Quercus phellos Winged Elm... Ulmus alata Yellow Poplar... Liridendron tulipifera Yaupon Holly... Ilex vomitoria Yochino Cherry... Prunus x yedeoensis 402-6

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