A Diverse Woods

I didn’t carry my camera today.  Should have.  It would have been awesome to take a picture of the forest floor… a study in diversity.  I did that once at Audubon and posted it on Flickr.  The forest floor at Long Point State Park would have been a different combination.

Tulip Tree, Cucumber Magnolia, several kinds of maple, several kinds of oak, birches, aspens, cherries, so many…  Overwhelming!  I brought home three leaves for comparison… one that I knew already, and two that I didn’t.  I wondered if I could puzzle them out… without a field guide, since I left all the tree books at work.  Then I found a really, really cool website for identifying trees.  It’s a click-by-click key… really easy to use.  I’ll show you the steps using this leaf:  (You may already know what it is, but play along!)

Leaf1a Leaf1b

Step 1: I’m trying to identify by leaf.
Step 1

Step 2:  My leaf is broad and flat.

Step 3:  My leaves are simple leaves (not compound).

Step 4:  My leaf is not lobed.

Step 5:  My leaf is coarse-toothed, with a single tooth at the end of each vein.

Step 6: While my leaf is over 5 inches long, it does have long, shallow teeth.

It is an American Beech (Fagus grandifolia).  The last click takes you to a fact sheet about your tree.

Using the same method, I was able to identify this one, too:
Leaf2a Leaf2b
Eastern Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Lest you think all trees can be identified using this site, I couldn’t figure this one out:
Leaf3a Leaf3b
It seems birch-like.  What do you think?

5 thoughts on “A Diverse Woods

  1. What a great site for beginners! I hope to learn more about tree ID and have found the tree guides I have borrowed from the library confusing at times. sorry…can’t help you on the last one.

  2. In trying to key it out I went down several paths… birch, alder… My first thought when I picked it up was elm. But the base of the elm leaf is supposed to be asymetrical. Hmmm…

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