ACTIVITY and FORUM: Name that Tree

Commenting is turned off until the next live offering of this course in Fall 2021.

Knowing what trees are growing in a particular forest is one of the first steps to making management decisions. We can only skim the surface of tree identification in this course, but I hope you will be interested enough to pursue further learning on your own. Please read the article below and then complete the activity described beneath the article.

dendro - learning components.pdf

Activity: What Tree is That?

Now for the fun part! Please:

  1. Go outside and take pictures of the bark, twigs, and leaves of a tree you'd like to identify. Choose a tree in a "wild" area near you--ideally your woods--as opposed to a street tree planted by humans. This will give you a greater likelihood that the tree is native and will show up in a dichotomous key.
  2. Click the link below and answer the questions it asks about your selected tree. Try to get to a final identification of your tree.
  3. Post the pictures of the bark, twigs and leaves in the Comments section below, and list some identifying features of your tree (location, size, etc), but NOT the name of it yet.
  4. Try to guess the identity of the trees posted by your coursemates! In addition to the name of the tree, try to provide one or two useful attributes or ecological features (e.g., good for syrup, good for firewood, common on dry soils, etc.)
  5. Once other students have had a chance to look at your photos and venture a guess, make sure you share the final ID that you got by answering questions in the dichotomous key below!

[NOTE: Commenting is disabled until Fall 2020 when the course will again run with live instruction]

What Tree Is That? Tree Identification Guide at

What Tree Is That? is a tree identification guide from the Arbor Day Foundation, featuring an easy-to-use, step-by-step process to identify nearly any tree in North America.