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Tree ID Aids (Updated 10/04/2001)

Misc. Information
Click here for a picture of sassafras fruit


I have terminology sheets available to copy if you wish. You might also find it helpful in your notes to just draw a picture of things like leaf tips and bases, making note of important features.

White Oak Group vs. Red Oak Group

During week 1, we will study two different Oaks. Quercus alba (White Oak) and Quercus velutina (Black Oak). Oaks in general are divided into two major groups: "Red" and "White" Oaks. Black Oak is a member of the "Red Oak Group". Trees in the red oak group typically have spines on their leaves, usually at the tip or at the tips of lobes while White Oaks do not. trees in the red oak group have acorns that mature in two years, and the first and second year acorns can usually be seen on the tree. White Oaks have acorns that mature in one year.

Foraging animals typically prefer the white oak group acorns over red oak group ones and will eat those first. White group oak acorns will usually sprout in in the fall and overwinter with a root. Red oak group acorns will usually sprout in the spring. Oaks will often cross-breed with one another within the groups and form hybrids.

Tree Habits

You will not be tested on habit types specifically. Some trees have fairly unique branching patterns. They may (or may not) aid you in identification of trees. Click on the Type of habit below to see an example of tree(s) with that habit.

It is suggested that you break the plants down into manageable lists which have notable ID features that are common to perhaps half a dozen plants or so. This is easier than trying to memorize all the features of each tree. A few suggested Plant ID breakdown lists might be (updated periodically)