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North American Trees Leaf Identification

Author : Derek Farley


We sometimes wonder when we look at trees and say, I wonder what kind of tree that is? The proper way to identify different variations is by looking at their leaves. Since many trees have similarities in their appearances, the only way to truly know a North American tree is through proper identification through the leaves. When someone says leaf, it is easy to put a picture in our minds such as a maple or oak leaf. But evergreen, or Christmas trees as many know them have leaves often called needles.

There are two different kinds of leaf types for North American trees. One is if the leaf has needles with the evergreen or scale like leaves which are associated with cedars and junipers, and the second with leaves that are simple or compound leaves that have a midriff, stalk and broad based leaf on it associated with the hardwood or deciduous trees.

Trees with clusters of needles cover the pines and larches of trees. The pines would include the following tree variations; eastern white, western white, pine sugar, pine red, pine pitch, pine jack, longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly, slash, Virginia, ponderosa, pinyon, Jeffrey, and the lodgepole pine. The Larches would include the tamarack and the western larch. Those with single needles on them fall under the Spruces, Firs, Cypress and Hemlocks. The types of Spruces are the: red spruce, black spruce, white spruce, sitka spruce, and the Englemann spruce. The different types of Firs are the balsam fir, Pacific silver fir, California red fir, Noble fir, grand fir, white fir, and the Fraser fir. The different types of Cypress and Hemlocks are the baldcypress, and the eastern and western hemlock trees.

This is the major identification types of leaves with needles. The ones with standard types of leaves are a little more difficult to identify since there are different types of simple and compound tree leave types. The first is the unlobed which includes the magnolia, persimmon, dogwood, blackgum, water and live Oak which have the smoother leaf. and the elm, willow, beech, cherry or birch which have the outer edges of the leaf which have what look like "teeth". The lobed species include the mulberry, sassafras, maple sweetgum, sycamore, yellow poplar, white oak, red oak, and holly.

The second type is known as the combination type which includes the buckeye, the horse chestnut for the Palmetty compound leaf and the black locust, honey locust, hickory, ash, locust and pecan tree. Proper identification with these trees is not as easy as just going by a tree and guessing what it is. With all the variations of species there are in this country, tree identification is no different due to the complex nature in which the species thrives in the North American soil!


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You can get much more information and resources about leaf identification at identifying leaves

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Tags:   trees, north, american, leaf, identification, leaves, proper

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Submitted : 2011-02-15    Word Count : 490    Times Viewed: 253