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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Tree Leaf Identification Tool

I am excited to share with you The EarlyForest.Com Tree Leaf Identification Tool. The Tree Leaf Identification Tool sorts the EarlyForest.Com tree-leaf-photo-database into easy searchable categories. This guide is designed to grow with EarlyForest.Com as new leaf photos are added, so check back often, it is always improving and expanding.

Select the category that best describes the leaf that you are trying to identify.

Opposite Simple SmoothOpposite Simple ToothedOpposite Simple LobedOpposite Simple Toothed & Lobed
Opposite Compound SmoothOpposite Compound ToothedOpposite Compound LobedOpposite Compound Toothed & Lobed
Alternate Simple SmoothAlternate Simple ToothedAlternate Simple LobedAlternate Simple Toothed & Lobed
Alternate Compound SimpleAlternate Compound ToothedAlternate Compound LobedAlternate Compound Toothed & Lobed

Author's Note : Tree leaf terminology can become complicated with dozens of terms used to describe a leaf's arrangement, shape, texture, margin, base and tip. In order to simplify the leaf identification process I have reduced the leaf shapes into the intuitive categories shown in the chart above. The subtle variations between "Toothed" and "Lobed" (especially in the oaks) can leave one guessing at how to classify their leaf. Generally, this guide uses "toothed" to indicate small ridges along the edges of the leaf while "lobed" is used describe overall leaf shape. In addition, not all leaves can be easily classified as opposite or alternate, and compound leaves can sometimes appear to be simple when pulled from the tree. When confusion arises I suggest going with your first guess then exploring more than one category to broaden your search.