Q:

Can trees be identified by the shape of their leaves?

A:

Quick Answer

Trees such as oaks and maples can be identified by the shapes of their leaves. Maple leaves are usually lobed and palmate, which means the midribs of the lobes radiate out from a single point.

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Can trees be identified by the shape of their leaves?
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Full Answer

Oak leaves often have lobes, and some have lobes that are rounded or end in sharp points. However, leaves are not the only way to identify a tree. For example, neither the hornbeam maple nor the southern live oak have lobes. However, all oaks have acorns, and maple trees have winged fruit called samaras.

It is possible to mistake the star-shaped leaves of the sweetgum tree for a maple, but its fruit is a bristly ball borne on a long stem.

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