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Hickory Tree Leaf Identification

Author : Derek Farley


There are many types of hickories found in North America. Identifying the different leaves can be quite tricky if one is not conversant with the different types of trees. This is because by a casual glance the leaves look the same. But it becomes quite easy on closer inspection of the different aspects of the foliage. Hickory leaves are odd-pinnately compound. To jog your elementary science, this means that the leaves are small leaflets growing on a central stem as opposed to one single bladed leaf.

In a given stem, they are an odd number all growing opposite each other in the stem save for the one at the end or tip of the stem. Hickory leaves can be mainly classified by the following; rachis size, size of the leaflets, color and their number in a stem.

Identification by the Rachis

The rachis is the central stem and can be a good pointer in identifying different types of the leaf. This is by looking at the rachis size as different species of hickory have different rachis sizes. On the extreme, 14 inches for the shagbark hickory and 22 inches for the shellbark hickory are some pointers in identifying them. By knowing the average size of a specific type of rachis, you can be able to classify the leaves as they should.

Identification by Size of Leaflet

Another aspect crucial for identification is the different sizes of the leaflets. Usually, leaflets on the rachis closest to the branch are smaller than those farther away, with the one at the tip being the largest. The mockermut can have leaflets growing as long as 8 inches, black up to 6 inches and variants of swamp hickory having anything between 2-5 inches. Armed with such knowledge on leaflet sizes, you can easily classify any leaf.

Identification by Leaflet Numbers

As said earlier, the hickory leaf is odd-pinnately compound. But the number of leaflets varies and with such knowledge you can easily classify any leaf. Some hickories like water and bitternut have 13 and 11 leaflets respectively, while some like the shagbark and shellback have as little as just 5 leaflets.

Identification by Color

Finally, color can also be a valuable pointer on many a hickory leaf. Though they all sport shades of green, closer examination of the different leaves show different shades and hues especially on the undersides. Depending on seasons, some leaves can turn to shades of yellow, golden bronze to light green, etc. and can be easily identified with the proper knowledge.


Author's Resource Box

You can get much more information about leaf identification by visiting identifying leaves

Article Source:
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Tags:   different, hickory, identification, tree, leaf, leaves, types

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Submitted : 2011-02-15    Word Count : 446    Times Viewed: 265