Some tree species are very common and found in many geographies while others are quite rare.  They have so many varying characteristics and can be difficult to identify in a landscape.  While leaves or needles are often used as an identifying feature, size, crown shape, type of bark, fruit and twigs also provide useful clues.

If you need to brush up your tree identification, there are some handy apps available on your smartphone or mobile device.  Here are a few:

  • Leafsnap uses visual recognition software to help you identify trees from photographs.  It was developed by researches from Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian institute.
  • TreeBook relies on images, search, layman terms and detailed terminology to identify common trees.  Though the number of species it includes is limited, it has an easy and intuitive interface.
  • Vtree from Virgina Tech allows you to narrow down species using GPS or by address.  Tree attribute questions, based on leaf shape, arrangement, fruit, etc., guide the user through the identification process.

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