How Do You Identify Different Kinds of Leaves?


Quick Answer

To identify types of leaves, first observe whether the leaves are needle-like and either single or in bundles, scale-like, broad and flat, or flattened with several narrow needle-like leaves extending outward. As of 2015, Oplin.org offers an Identify by Leaf page with images to assist in identifying these different leaf categories. Clicking on a category loads further instructions on how to identify the specific leaf.

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Full Answer

For leaves that are needle-like but not flattened, determine whether the needles are arranged individually or in bundles. For single needles, the leaves are likely to belong to the White Spruce tree if they are yellow-green, bluish or white and very pointy. They might be Norway Spruce leaves if they are dark green and only somewhat sharp.

Needle-like leaves arranged in bundles of more than five may belong to the Tamarack tree. If they are in clusters of exactly five, they likely belong to the Eastern White Pine. Three needles in a bundle is characteristic of Pitch Pine leaves.

Broad, flat leaves with asymmetrical lobes may be Sassafras leaves if they have smooth edges, or they may belong to either the White Mulberry, Paper Mulberry or Red Mulberry tree if they have toothed edges. For flattened leaves that lack lobes, some possibilities are North Catalpa, Chinese Dogwood and Flowering Dogwood leaves.

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