|Leaf Identification / III
and Sweet Gum
These two fairly common trees are easily identifiable
by their leaf shapes. The Sycamore, Platanus
occidentalis, is found almost everywhere in the deciduous forest areas
of the United States. You can find them in cities, parks, and near the
shores of small ponds and lakes. The Sweet Gum,
Styraciflua, gets its name from the smell of its leaves. These leaves
are star-shaped with 5 main lobes.
last four leaves that we're going to look at are from four oak trees from
around the country. The English Oak, Quercus
Robur, has a small leaf that ranges from 2" to 4" with ear-like lobes.
It has a very short stem. These trees got their name because colonists
that settled in America during the 17th and 18th centuries brought them
over from England. The Post Oak, Quercus
stellata, is found on the edges of forests in the south and southeastern
parts of the United States. You will usually find them in rocky or gravelly
ground. It tolerates moderate shade. Notice that the three end lobes of
its leaf are much larger than the other types of oak. An interesting
characteristic of the Bur Oak, Quercus
macrocarpa, is that the leaf is cut nearly to the midrib in the middle
of the leaf. The upper-half of this leaf is not as deeply lobed as the
bottom half, as seen in the illustration. The White
Oak, Quercus alba, is also found throughout the deciduous
forests of the United States.
Want To Learn More?
If you want to learn more about how to identify North
American trees by their leaves, you can read Tree
Finder, A Manual for the Identification of Trees by Their Leaves written
by May Theilgaard Watts. It's a mini-guide to over a hundred trees and
Illustrations from Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts (c) 1963, 1991 Nature Study Guild, used by permission.