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PLT Guide

Tree identification

What's the easiest way to identify a tree? A dichotomous key of course. A dichotomous key is a tool that allows anyone to determine the identity of items in the natural world such as wildflowers, mammals, reptiles, rocks, fish, and trees. Dichotomous means "dividing into two parts" so the dichotomous keys below will always give only two choices for each step until you have identified the tree.

Dichotomous tree keys

Tree and plant identification guides

Smartphone apps

Leafsnap [exit DNR] is an electronic field guide developed by researchers from Columbia University, University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognician software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.

The Arbor Day Foundation has also developed a tree identification guide for smartphones called: What Tree is That? [exit DNR]

Key to Woody Plants of Wisconsin Forests [exit DNR] - This key provides an easy-to-use tool for identifying Wisconsin trees, shrubs and vines. The key includes 85 species of trees and 57 species of shrubs and vines that are native to Wisconsin or exotic and invasive.

Plant a tree!

Last revised: Monday August 17 2015