It can easier to identify tree leaves than you think. There are a few simple tricks you can use to solve the mystery of tree leaves - whether you are a gardener trying to figure out which tree is filling your yard with all of those leaves that need to be raked up in the fall or if you are a nature buff trying to identify the trees you spot while out exploring the world.Lobed, Simple, Maple Leaf
You can identify a tree by matching its leaf against a specific type of tree. You can do this easily by looking at the characteristics of the leaf and asking yourself a series of questions.
Here is a three-step plan to narrow down the identification of the tree by examining its leaves:
Leaves made up of series of needle bundles, each of which is attached to the stem at a different point, are usually or . Pine trees are evergreen, and they have long, straight needles in bunches of two to five needles per bunch. Larches shed annually and have shorter needles that flare out from the branch.
Specifically, you should ask yourself:
Scaly leaves that are flat and attached to stems with pine cones or pink flowers come from Cedar trees. When you hold up a stem, Cedar leaves may look like a fan. If the scaly leaves are full rather than flat and the stems hold blue or purple berries, they come from a Juniper tree. Juniper trees also have a distinctive smell, reminiscent of gin, so giving the leaf a sniff may also help you identify it as a Juniper leaf.
The leaves that are not needles or scaly are either simple or compound leaves. They can be the most difficult to classify, simply because there are so many different kinds. They are the most typical kinds of leaves and are associated with the greatest number of trees. They typically come from hardwood or deciduous trees.
Simple Ash Leaf Compound Acacia Leaf
Start by deciding if the leaf is simple or compound:
If you have a simple leaf, decide if it is, unlobed (completely solid all around) or lobed (scalloped edges that weave in towards the stem and back out).
Compound leaves are slightly easier to deal with. If the smaller leaves seem to grow directly from the stem, they are likely from a or Buckeye tree. If the smaller leaves have tiny stems that attach them to the main stem, you may be dealing with leaves from a Pecan, Honey or Black Locust, , or Hickory tree.
Once you have narrowed down the possible identification of your leaf, you can use the tree fact articles here on the to check out actual photos of the leaves and information on many of the most popular trees. The is also an excellent source for tree information. For more localized information, your local nursery professional can be an excellent resource if you are unable to identify leaves.