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Tree Identification Using a Tree Leaf Key

A Quick and Easy Way to Identify 50 Common North American Trees


Identify a tree in the forest, collect a leaf or needle and answer the tree identification questions. After the question interview is complete, you should be able to identify a tree's name at least to the genus level. You can also select the species with a little research using the links. I also provide my free TreeBook iPhone app as a companion pocket guide.

One caveat here. The tree you are trying to identify should be a North American native tree as defined by Forest Types of the United States. This key is leaf-based so review Identifying a Dormant Tree if your tree is without leaves.

1. Trees With Needles

Does your conifer have an evergreen leaf that looks like needles? If so, continue to trees with needles.

2. Trees With Scale-like Leaves

Trees With Scale-like Leaves
Does your tree have an evergreen, scale-like leaf? If so, continue to cedars and junipers.

3. Trees With Leaves

Trees With Leaves
Does your tree have a typical leaf that includes a leaf stalk, veins and a midrib? If so, continue to trees with simple and compound leaves.
Related Video
How to Identify Pine Trees

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