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Tree Identification Using a Tree Leaf

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 115

While a lot of us like to gaze at nature and admire its beauty, very few of us now have the necessary skills to identify and utilize what God-given gifts nature has to offer. Identifying a tree from its leaf alone may seem like a pointless skill to learn, but if you find yourself caught in the wilderness alone with no idea of which plants are edible, or which trees bear fruit and which are poisonous, you'd find this skill to be life saving indeed.

There are typically three types of trees with distinct leaf-forms that you can use to identify them. While a correct and exact identification is itself impossible for beginners, a deeper study of botany can equip you with enough knowledge to identify the most common tree species in your area.

One of the first types of tree leaves are ones that appear as needles. These come in two varieties: the clustered ones, and ones that have single needles radiating out from the branches. The former typically belongs to the pine and larch family, typified by its fascicles of needles and a woodsy, ever-green scent that permeates when the leaves are crushed.

The latter on the other hand may belong to the cypress, hemlock, and spruce family of evergreen trees. Beware such leaves, because some of them can cause allergic reactions when touched, and a few are poisonous when ingested!

If your tree leaf displays splays of tiny, flat clustered leaves, then they may belong to the major cedar family. If your tree leaf on the other hand has bloomy cones or tiny 'shoots' that grow from the many tiny branches, you can safely assume that what you have before you belongs to the major juniper family of trees. Different types trees can have very distinctively different leaf types.

Trees that have single leaves on the other hand are divided into two varieties: one with a simple leaf, and one with compound leaves. Different types trees with simple leaves are characterized by a single leaf growing from each stalk, while compound leaves often have a number of leaves (called leaflets) on a single stalk. These are in turn divided into lobed and un-lobed leaves, for simple leaves variants; and palmately compounded and pinnately compounded leaves for the compounded leaf variants. These variations separate the species between palm trees and hardwood trees.

Different types trees also have their own tell-tale leaf patterns. There are un-lobed leaves with teeth, and ones without teeth. Different types trees in the hardwood family often have lobes in their leaves, and these can vary between species. If you wish to identify any tree with certainty, other factors such as their fruit or seed, their bark, scent, and size also help. An in-depth study of botany can help you familiarize yourself with different types trees quite easily.

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