Steps for Tree Identification

Identification of Common Trees of North Carolina (NC State Extension)
This publication is designed to teach the basics of tree identification by using your observation skills and a dichotomous key based on leaf characteristics. It will help you identify 21 common tree species of the hundreds of tree species found throughout North Carolina.

The Basics of Tree Identification (Virginia Tech)
This website provides detailed descriptions of the characteristics of leaves, fruit, twigs, bark and form that are important for identification.

How Trees are Classified (Arbor Day Foundation)
This site discusses the parts of a tree scientific name including family, genus, species, variety and cultivar.

Identification Techniques (Texas A&M Forest Service)
This page discusses tree nomenclature as well as identification techniques using form, habitat, bark, leaves, twigs, buds, flowers, fruit, cones and wood.

Glossary of Tree Terms (Arbor Day Foundation)
This page gives definitions of tree terms that are important to understand when identifying tree species.

Fifteen Minutes in the Forest: Tree ID Beyond Basics (video, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Association)
Join Extension Forester Karen Snape to learn tree ID skills that go beyond the leaves.

How to Identify Different Types of Trees (
This article discusses tree characteristics to examine to help identify it, including leaves, bark, shape, size and location, flowers and fruit and buds.