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Leaf Collection. 7 th grade Science Plants. Objective. Collect and identify up to 20 different leaves of Northeast Wisconsin. Identifying Trees.

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Leaf collection l.jpg

Leaf Collection

7th grade Science


Objective l.jpg


Collect and identify up to 20

different leaves of Northeast


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Identifying Trees

  • The first step in tree identification is knowing that there are always distinguishing characteristics that separate one tree species from another.

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What do I look at?

  • TREE TYPE --Deciduous or Conifer?  Tree or a shrub? Determining these things starts you off on your way to tree identification.

  • LEAF --Leaves are often the easiest way to identify most trees. Are the leaves arranged in an opposite or alternate pattern?

  • BARK --Bark can be helpful for identifying some types of trees. 

  • FRUIT --The wide variety of fruit shapes makes them useful when identifying trees. 

  • TWIG --You can actually tell a lot just by looking at the twig.

  • FORM --The way a tree grows can tell you a great deal about a tree. 

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Deciduous or Coniferous?



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Deciduous trees lose their leaves before the cold or dry season. Before the leaves fall off they often turn orange, red, or yellow. But, new leaves will appear again in the spring. Deciduous trees also always have some type of a fruit or pod holding the seed.

Coniferous trees have small and waxy leaves, usually called needles. Most conifers keep their leaves all year long. The seed in conifers are usually found in a cone of some sort. Scientists refers to the seed of conifers as “naked seeds” because they are not enclosed in anything.

Deciduous & Coniferous

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Coniferous Step 1

  • After you have decided if your tree is a conifer the next step is to look at the leaves (needles).

    Needle shaped or Not needle shaped

White Cedar


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ConiferousStep 2

  • If the leaves are scaly (not needle shaped) you have identified a cedar.

  • If the leaves are needle shaped you have to determine if they are single, grouped, or clustered.

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ConiferousStep 3

  • Single needles means you have a spruce, fir, or hemlock!

    Flat needles or Angled needles



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ConiferousStep 4

  • Grouped needles are Pine trees!

    White Pine = 5 needles per group

    Red Pine = 2 long needles per group

    Jack Pine = 2 short and twisted needles per group

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ConiferousStep 5

  • Clustered needles are the conifers that lose their leaves during the cold and dry months. Tamaracks and larches are good examples of deciduous conifers.

Clustered Needles

Tamaracks and a spruce during the fall

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DeciduousStep 1

  • Look at the branching next:

    Alternate or Opposite

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DeciduousStep 2

  • Now you have to decide if you have a simple or compound leaf.

    Simple Leaves or Compound Leaves

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DeciduousStep 3

  • Next you need to look at the leaf’s veins.

    Palmate Veins or Pinnate Veins

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DeciduousStep 4

  • Now determine if your leaves are lobed or not lobed.

    Lobed or Not Lobed

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DeciduousStep 5

  • By now you may already have your leaf identified. If not you will need to keep going. The next few slides will point out some other unique characteristics of trees and leaves that make them easy to identify.

Unique Tree

Here are some ginkgo leaves. They look like they would be deciduous but they are actually classified as a type of gymnosperm. Does anyone one know why that may be?

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Deciduous Step 6

  • Are there thorns present?

Hawthorn Tree

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DeciduousStep 7

  • Is your leaf toothed or smooth?

    Toothed or Smooth

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DeciduousStep 8

  • What does the base of your leaf look like?





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DeciduousStep 9

  • Does the tree have a unique type of bark?

    Paper BirchShagbark Hickory

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DeciduousStep 10

  • Sometimes deciduous leaves are very narrow.


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Time to Review

  • Directions:

    • Read the questions carefully

    • Select the best answer and click on it to see if you are correct or not.

    • After you have answered the question click on the button in the bottom right corner to take you to the next screen.

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Review 1

Are these coniferous or deciduous trees?



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You have been listening!

Next Screen

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So now you should know the answer was deciduous. Deciduous trees have the broad leaves that will fall off during winter.

Next Screen

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Review 2

What type of trees hold their seeds in a cone of some sort?




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Great Job

You are getting this!

Next Screen

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Deciduous trees hold their seeds in some sort of a fruit or pod. Conifers have their seeds in a cone.

Next Screen

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Review 3

  • What type of needles do Pine trees have?

    Clustered Needles

    Grouped Needles

    Single Needles

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Pines always have grouped needles!

Next Screen

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Try Again

Next Screen

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Try Again

Next Screen

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Review 4

  • What type of needles do Spruce trees have?

    Clustered Needles

    Grouped Needles

    Single Needles

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Spruce trees all have single needles.

Next Screen

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Try Again

Next Screen

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Try Again

Next Screen

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Review 5

  • Single needles are going to be flat or angled. What is the picture below showing?



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The picture was showing needles from a hemlock. Hemlocks are easy to recognize with their short flat needles.

Next Screen

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The picture was showing needles from a hemlock. Hemlocks are easy to recognize with their short flat needles.

Next Screen

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Review 6

  • What type of branching is the picture showing?



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Good job listening!

Next Screen

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The picture was showing you opposite branching.

Next Screen

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Review 7

  • Are these simple or compound leaves?



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The compound leaves on the left were from a black walnut and the leaves on the right were from a shagbark hickory.

Next Screen

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Simple leaves only have one leaf connected to the stem. Compound leaves as you can see have many leaves connected to the one stem.

Next Screen

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Review 8

  • What type of veins do these leaves have?

Pinnate Veins

Palmate Veins

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Maple and Oak leaves always have palmate veins.

Next Screen

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Pinnate veins look like this:

Next Screen

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Review 9

  • Are these leaves lobed or not lobed?


Not lobed

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Elm leaves are not lobed.

Next Screen

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These are what lobed leaves look like:

Next Screen

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Review 10

  • Do these leave have a toothed or smooth edge?



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All done reviewing!

Next Slide

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Toothed leaves would look like this:

Next Slide

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Good Luck

  • Now you are prepared to collect and identify your leaves. It will be lots of fun learning about the world around you!!!