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Tree Identification John Ross Tree Identification ISA Certified Arborist Study guide for the Arborist Certification exam of the International Society of Arboriculture. Presented by John Ross Burditt: Conroe, Texas Plant Classification Plant Classification (taxonomy)

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Tree Identification John Ross

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tree identification isa certified arborist
Tree IdentificationISA Certified Arborist

Study guide for the Arborist Certification exam of the International Society of Arboriculture.

Presented by

John Ross

Burditt: Conroe, Texas

plant classification
Plant Classification

Plant Classification (taxonomy)

Kingdom (Plant)

Phylum (Vascular plants or not)

Class (Angiosperms; di or monocotyledons

Gymnosperms have “naked seeds”)


Family (Similar characteristics)

Genus (Closely related, Quercus)

Species (THE individual plant)

plant nomenclature
Plant Nomenclature

Plant Nomenclature (naming of plants)

Common names vs. Latin names

Genus and species…. Quercusstellata

Varieties & cultivars… var. & ‘Little gem’

Plant Morphology (appearance of tree parts)

Branching structure (alternate, opposite, whorled)

Leaf type (simple or compound)

Leaf margins, apices & bases

plant morphology continued
Plant Morphology continued

Bud type and arrangement

Twig & pith characteristics

Seed types (acorn, samara, legume, etc.)

Bark characteristics (ex. hackberry “warts”)

Form & habitat

Flowers (ex. flowering dogwood)

loblolly pine pinus taeda
Loblolly Pine Pinus taeda

Form: Open Spreading Crown

Grayish Coloring To Cone

3 (Occasionally 2) needles

slash pine pinus elliottii
Slash Pine Pinus elliottii

Form: Round Top Head

Carmel Coloring To Cone

2 and 3 needles

white ash fraxinus americana
White ash Fraxinusamericana

Single Samara

Opposite, pinnately compound

U Shaped Leaf Scar

green ash fraxinus pennsylvania
Green ashFraxinuspennsylvania

Opposite, pinnately compound

Single Samara

U Shaped Scar

Brown Tinged with Red, Slightly Furrowed or Ridged

eastern cottonwood populus deltoides
Eastern cottonwoodPopulusdeltoides

Simple, Alternate, Triangular, Square Base, Coarsely Toothed

Male Catkins

Prominent Lenticels, Triangular Leaf Scars

american elm ulmus americana
American elmUlmusamericana

Alternate, Inconspicuous Lenticels, Elevated semicircular Leaf Scars

Alternate, Simple, Double Serrate, Oblique Base

Broad Flat-Topped Ridges, Deep Elliptical Fissures

common hackberry celtis occidentalis
Common hackberryCeltisoccidentalis

Alternate, Simple, Deciduous, Serrate, Asymmetrical Base

Alternate, Numerous Pale Lenticels

Many Corky Ridges, Gray-Brownto Silver-Gray

honeylocust gleditsia triacanthos

Seed Pods

Alternate, Deciduous, Pinnate & Bipinnately compound

Irregular Shield-shaped Leaf Scars, Stout Thorns

Gray-brown to Black, Scaly Ridges, Deep Fissures

boxelder maple acer negundo
Boxelder mapleAcernegundo

Opposite, Coarsely Serrate, Pinnately compound

Double Samara, Slightly Converging Wings

Scattered Pale Lenticels

mulberry morus spp
MulberryMorus spp.

Cluster, Dark-red to Purplish

Gray-brown, Scattered Gray Lenticels


Alternate, Simple,Deciduous, Toothed & Lobed

bur oak quercus macrocarpa
Bur oakQuercusmacrocarpa

Acorn, Usually Solitary, Deep Bowl-shaped Cup, With conspicuous Fringe, Enclosing up to ¾ of the Nut

Alternate, Simple, Deciduous, 5 to 9 Lobed, Coarsely Toothed Terminal Lobe

Half Round Leaf Scars

Hairy Stalked Catkins

eastern redbud cercis canadensis
Eastern redbudCerciscanadensis

Alternate, Simple, Deciduous, Kidney Shaped, Heart Shaped or Flattened Base

Calyx Tube, Flower

Pod 2” – 3 ½”

eastern redcedar juniperus virginiana
Eastern redcedarJuniperusvirginiana

Awl-shaped, Sharp-pointed, Spreading and Whitened

Scale-like in 4 ranks Giving Square appearance

Thin Reddish-brown Bark, Peels Off in Long Shred-like Strips

sycamore platanus occidentalis

Alternate, Simple, Deciduous, Wavy With Short or Long Tapering Teeth, Flat or Heart Shaped Base

Persistent Multiple Of Achenes Forming A Head 1” in Diameter

Bark Mottled By Large Plate-like Scales

black walnut juglans nigra
Black walnutJuglansnigra

Born Singly Or In Pairs, Nut Has Hard Thick Shell

Many Raised Orange Lenticels, Large Shield Shaped Leaf Scars

Alternate, Compound, Extremely Tapering At End, Toothed Along Margin

pecan carya illinoensis

Alternate, Compound, Tapering At End, Toothed Along Margin

Conspicuous Orange-brown Lenticels, Obovate Leaf Scars

Ellipsoidal Nut,Thin Skinned Husk, 4-Winged From Base to Apex

osage orange maclura pomifera

Alternate, Simple, Oval-pointed

Short Axillary Thorns, Triangular To Kidney Shaped Leaf Scars

Compact Cluster Of Green Oblong Firm Drupelets, Appearance Of A Green Orange

Broad Rounded Interlacing Ridges

post oak quercus stellata
Post oakQuercusstellata

Acorn, Occasionally In Pairs, Bowl Shaped Cup Enclosing 1/3 Of Nut

Half Round Bundle Leaf Scars, Pale Lenticels

Alternate, Deciduous, Usually Unequally 5-lobed

live oak quercus virginiana or fusiformis
Live oak Quercusvirginiana (or fusiformis)

40-50 Feet High, Branching Close To Ground Into A Few Massive Wide Spreading Limbs, RoundTopped Crown

Alternate, Simple, Evergreen, Entire Margin

Acorn, In Clusters of 3 to 5, Top Shaped Cup Enclosing 1/3 of Nut

black willow salix nigra
Black willowSalixnigra

30-40 Feet High, Clustered Stems Forming Broad Irregular Open Crown

Alternate, Simple, Deciduous, Lanceolate Shaped

Dark Brown to Black, Deeply Divided, Shaggy Scales on Old Trunks


Thank you

John Ross