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Baker County Arboretum Tree Identification Techniques. Alicia Lamborn Baker County Extension Service. Baker County Arboretum Tree Identification Guide.

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baker county arboretum tree identification techniques

Baker County ArboretumTree Identification Techniques

Alicia Lamborn

Baker County Extension Service

baker county arboretum tree identification guide
Baker County ArboretumTree Identification Guide

The Baker County Arboretum is home to 35 different Florida native and Florida-Friendly tree species and cultivars. But how does one go about telling them apart?

To identify the trees successfully, follow these steps:

  • Learn to recognize leaf arrangement (alternate vs. opposite).
  • Learn to recognize leaf divisions (simple vs. compound leaves), including even-pinnately compound and odd-pinnately compounds leaves.
  • Review the diagrams illustrating selected leaf shapes.
  • Review the diagrams illustrating selected leaf margins.
  • Follow the tree identification guide (also known as a dichotomous key).
step 1 leaf arrangement
Step 1: Leaf Arrangement
  • How leaves are arranged on the stem.

Alternate: Leaves borne singly at each node (the position on the stem where leaves or branches originate), alternating sides of the stem.

Opposite: Leaves borne across from one another at the same node (the position on the stem where leaves or branches originate).

step 2 leaf divisions

SIMPLE

Step 2: Leaf Divisions

EVEN-PINNATELY COMPOUND

COMPOUND

ODD-PINNATELY COMPOUND

step 3 leaf shapes
Step 3: Leaf Shapes

Acerose: Needle-shaped

Awl-shaped: Scale-like; short, narrowly triangular, and sharply pointed like an awl.

Cordate: Heart-shaped, with the notch at the base.

step 4 leaf margins
Step 4: Leaf Margins

Lobed: Bearing lobes which are cut less than half way to the base or mid-vein.

Cleft: Leaf margin is cut or split about half-way to the mid-vein or base.

Entire: Margin is continuous, not toothed, notched, or divided.

Serrulate: Toothed along the margin, with minute, sharp, teeth (double serrate).

Serrate: Toothed along the margin, the sharp teeth pointing forward.

Crenate: with rounded teeth along the margin.

step 5 follow the tree id guide dichotomous key
Step 5: Follow the tree ID guide (dichotomous key)
  • A dichotomous key is a tool that allows the user to determine the identity of items in the natural world, such as trees. Keys consist of a series of choices that lead the user to the correct name of a given item.
  • To use the key, start by determining which number category the tree fits into (listed 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5). Then (within the numbered category) determine which subcategory the tree fits into (listed i, ii, iii, iv, etc.), and so on. By eliminating certain characteristics, the user should be led to the correct name of the tree in question.
using the dichotomous key
Using the dichotomous key

Baker County Arboretum Dichotomous Key:

1. Trees with acerose (needle-like) or awl-shaped (scale-like) leaves

i. Needles held in bundles

a. 2 needles per bundle…Spruce Pine (Pinus glabra)

b. 3 needles per bundle………Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

ii. Scales: tiny, overlapping.........Southern Red Cedar

(Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola)

using the dichotomous key1
Using the dichotomous key

Example 2: This tree has…

  • Alternate leaf arrangement
  • Simple leaf division
  • Cordate leaf shape
  • Serrate leaf margins
using the dichotomous key2
Using the dichotomous key

Example 3: This tree has…

  • Alternate leaf arrangement
  • Compound leaf division
  • Odd number of leaflets
  • Entire leaf margins
  • Undersides of leaves are pubescent (hairy)