Tree ID – by Bark

How well do you know your trees – in winter – by their bark??  Try these out to test your brain.  Answers at the bottom:







  1. Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
  2. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  3. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
  4. Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana)
  5. Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

How did you do?

15 thoughts on “Tree ID – by Bark

  1. I know most of the common trees around here, but the one that usually trips me up is basswood, which has a habit of disguising itself as different trees. Also, I’m not sure i could tell a pignut from a mockernut hickory. I do wish more tree guides focused on the bark.

  2. I surprised myself with 5/5, but I suppose they’re all fairly distinctive species. Now, if you’d put maples and oaks and poplar in there I may have been less certain about my guesses… So much of tree ID is done by the leaves, it really would make sense to have some sort of winter bark ID guide.

  3. Hooray, I got 4/5! Didn’t get the Musclewood, even though you showed it to us a while back. I would be mad at myself if I didn’t get the Shagbark Hickory or the American Beech since we have many of both in our woods.

  4. Great post and challenge. I have always wanted to beable to identify trees by their bark and limb connections, but I don’t even have a tree ID book yet. Its on my 2009 list. If you have suggestions, let me know.

  5. Well the musician here got 3 right, mostly from hanging around her boy scout sons. I still have the “black cherry looks like burnt corn flakes” mantra floating somewhere in the recesses of my brain.

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