Name that Tree!

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Name That Tree (Adapted from Project Learning Tree): Learn more about trees through identifying factors such as leaves and twigs

Materials: 

Doing the Activity:

  • If there are no leaves on the trees you are identifying, you can look at the twigs on the trees! Below you will see examples of leaf patterns. If you look closely at the twig, you will see leaf scars (where the leaves used to be attached) or buds coming out. By looking at these indicators, you can tell if the leaves grow in alternate, opposite or whorled patterns – see below for explanation!)
  • Head outside with your nature journal or piece of paper
  • Pick which tree you want to identify 
  • Determine whether or not your tree has needles or broadleaves
  • Observe and take note of the shape of the leaf. The overall shape of the leaf is a great clue to the tree’s identity. They can be notched, rounded, pointed, and so on. Below are a few examples. You can always draw the leaf shape and identify it when you are indoors!
  • The edges of leafs, or margins, are also helpful to look at. Some look as though they have teeth (serrated), some are smooth.
  • Observe and take note of the shape of the leaf. The overall shape of the leaf is a great clue to the tree’s identity. They can be notched, rounded, pointed, and so on. Below are a few examples. You can always draw the leaf shape and identify it when you are indoors!
Broadleaf
Needle

  • The edges of leafs, or margins, are also helpful to look at. Some look as though they have teeth (serrated), some are smooth.

  • Observe how the leaves are attached to the stem. Is there one leaf, which means it is “simple” or are there several leaflets branching off, which means it is “compound”

  • Look at the arrangement of the leaves on the branch. Many trees have alternate leaves staggered along the twigs, some have pairs that grow along the twig, and some grow in whorls!
  • Once you have taken note of all of the above, you can head indoors and either open up a field guide for trees, or check out Arbor Day Foundation online Tree Identification website, it will ask you a series of yes or no questions about your tree, and guide you through the identification process! Have fun!

Contact education@vinsweb.org with questions or comments.