How Do You Identify Trees by Their Leaves?

How Do You Identify Trees by Their Leaves?

How Do You Identify Trees by Their Leaves?

You may identify a tree from its leaves by comparing its different attributes to listings in a database or guide of tree leaves. Tools needed to identify a leaf include a compilation of known tree attributes, which can be found online, in books or through different applications.

  1. Determine the leaf shape

    Choose which shape description best matches the tree leaves. Shape categories for leaves include oval, oblong, elliptical and cuneate.

  2. Identify the arrangement of the leaves on the stem

    Leaves may be arranged on the stem in an alternating pattern for each side, directly opposite one another or arranged in clusters. Determine which description best describes the tree's leaves.

  3. Examine the vein pattern

    The pattern with which veins stretch through the leaf is called venation. A leaf with a central line is called a pinnately veined leaf, while one with multiple branches radiating from the center is called a palmately veined leaf. Identify the appropriate category to narrow down the tree species.

  4. Identify the texture

    Narrow down the tree type further by identifying the texture of the leaf. Textures include soft, velvet-like hairs, hairs with glands and short scratchy hairs.

  5. Check for stem characteristics

    To better identify the tree, examine different characteristics of the stem, including the bud type, stem texture and internal cross-section shape.