How to use the identification guide

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 go to appropriate page.

(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