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Leaf Identification Type:
The starting point for most people when identifying trees species is the leaves. There are three basic leaf types: needles, scales and broadleaf. Most evergreens have needles or scales, while most broadleaf trees are deciduous, meaning they drop their leaves when dormant. However, there are exceptions. Larch has green needles that turn color in fall and drop off the tree. Live oak is an evergreen tree with broad, elliptical leaves.
The shape of a leaf can also give clues when identifying broadleaf tree species. Common leaf identification shapes include ovate (egg shaped), lanceolate (long and narrow), deltoid (triangular), obicular (round) and cordate (heart shaped). There is also the palm-shaped maple leaf and the lobed oak leaf, two of our most recognizable leaf shapes.
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Ask most people to describe a tree’s bark and they’ll say “gray” or “brown” and leave it at that. While many tree species indeed have gray bark, some have bark that is cinnamon (mulberry), pure white (birch), silver (beech), greenish white (aspen) or copper (paperbark maple) in color.