Welcome to Great British Trees!

This new website aims to make it easier for non-experts to identify some of the common trees in Britain using pictures of leaves and to learn a little about their genetics. I hope that you find it helpful.

Only a few of the trees are native British trees, with many of the trees now commonly found in the UK having been introduced from other countries. More information and photographs will be added soon!

To make identification as easy as possible, trees have been grouped according to the appearance of their leaves, as below:

Quick guide to tree identification:

Consider the appearance of the leaves according to questions (1) and (2), then choose the appropriate page from the drop-down menus at the top.

(1) Simple or compound leaves?

Compound leaves – more than one leaf (or leaflet) per stalk (or petiole)

Simple leaves – just one leaf (or leaflet) per stalk

(2) Leaf shape?

Oval – or elliptical e.g. beech

Triangular/heart shaped – may be small e.g. in birch and larger in common lime

Rounded – e.g. as in the common alder

Elongated – long leaf e.g. as in the willow but not needle shaped (see the separate category)

Lobed – e.g. as in oak, hawthorn and white poplar

Palmate – multiple parts radiating from a central part  i.e. maple shaped (when simple) or like a palm tree (in compound form)

Needles – as in spruce, pine, fir, yew and larch

Scale-like – as in Leyland cyprus

4 comments on “Welcome!

  1. Hello,Thank you for all the information provided on your site,I am finding it very usefiul. would you be interested in adding illustrations along with the photographs.I have been working on a series of Ash identification drawings which can be seen at http://www.ashtreeproject.org/citizen-science/ ,you will find them in the PDF document under the title ASH TREE I.D. SHEETS. I am making studies of other trees at the moment.I would be glad to help.

    • Thank you for the feedback – I’m really glad that this site has been very useful to you. Thanks too for the link to your site with the very useful series of ash tree drawings in the PDF that you mentioned. They must have taken hours to create!

  2. Hi i have what looks to be a tree growing in my garden but not sure what it. The leaves are a long heart shape bigger than mt spread hand. Its fast growing and dies back to 2 stems in winter. Look at commen lime and its not that.

    • Hello Roy. Thank you for your question. It might be a large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos). I mention this as this tree, like the common lime, has heart-shaped leaves and have a “short, tapering point”, but the leaves are larger than those of the common lime. In fact, the leaves of the large-leaved lime can be up to 15 cm long. So I wonder if it could possibly be those that you have been looking at. All the best.

Please let me know if this site was of any help or interest to you. Thank you for your time.

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