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Simple-leaved trees
(Modified from a text key to common trees of Radnor Lake by W.G. Eickmeier)

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1. Leaves alternate: go to 2

1. Leaves opposite: go to 29

 

 

 

 

2. Leaves pinnately to palmately lobed or very coarsely toothed: go to 3

2. Leaves unlobed but sometimes with a finely toothed margin: go to 8

 

 

 

 

3. Leaves palmately lobed: go to 4

3. Leaves pinnately lobed or coarsely toothed, fruit an acorn: go to key of oaks

 

 

 

 

4. Leaves only in part palmately lobed (leaves variable on the same tree from unlobed to mitten-shaped): go to 5

4. Leaves all palmately lobed: go to 6

 

 

 

 

 

5. Leaves with toothed margins and not aromatic, main veins looping at ends to veins above, sap milky, fruit multiple druplets (a conglomerate of single-seeded fleshy fruits):
Morus rubra (red mulberry)

5. Leaves with entire margins and aromatic when crushed, main veins not looping at ends, sap not milky, fruit a single drupe looking like a golf ball on a tee: 
Sassafras albidum  (sassafras)

 

 

6. Stipule scars completely encircle the twig, leaves 4 lobed, fruit erect and an elongated aggregate of winged seeds:
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip-tree or tulip poplar)

6. Stipule scars not encircling twig, leaves 3 or 5 lobed, fruit hanging and ball shaped: go to 7

 

 

 

 

 

7. Leaves with shallow lobes and no strong smell, fruit a ball of wind-dispersed seeds that break away from the center, bark thin and shedding to leave white patches on trunk, frequently along streams: 
Platanus occidentalis (sycamore)

7. Leaves deeply lobed and star shaped with 5 definite lobes and an aromatic scent when crushed, fruit a hard spiky ball with holes, bark not shedding:
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)

 

 

 

 

8. Leaves entire, margin smooth to wavy: go to 9

8. Leaves toothed or containing at least some teeth: go to 14 

 

 

 

 

9. Leaves heart-shaped, fruit a legume often found directly attached to larger branches, small tree: 
Cercis canadensis (redbud)

9. Leaves elongated, longer than wide, fruit not a legume: go to 10

 

 

 

 

10. Leaves spicy-aromatic when crushed, fruit a small red drupe, leaves about 10 cm long, shrub to small tree: 
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)

10. Leaves not spicy-aromatic when crushed, fruit not red: go to 11

 

 

 

 

11. Leaves 3 to 5 cm long or less, small tree to erect shrub, leaves leathery and semi-evergreen:
Vaccinium arboreum (farkleberry)  [Note: other less common Vaccinium species are also present in the area]

11. Leaves greater than 10 to 13 cm long: go to 12

 

 

 

 

12. Leaves about 13 to 15 cm long: go to 13

12. Leaves to 25 cm long, twigs and lower leaf surfaces rusty pubescent, long and thin terminal bud distinctively rusty, leaves malodorous when crushed: 
Asimina triloba (paw-paw)

 

 

 

 

13. Leaves often purple spotted in late summer and fall, medium tree, bark deeply angular and blocky, leaf scar with a single banana-shaped bundle trace, fruit a 4 cm fleshy berry, orange when ripe: 
Diospyros virginiana (persimmon)


13.
Leaves often crowded at tips of twigs, widest about 2/3 from base, bark not blocky, leaf scar with three bundle-traces, fruit a small blue drupe, early red fall coloration: 
Nyssa sylvatica  (black gum)

 

 

 

 

14. Leaf base uneven or asymmetrical, or bud asymmetrical in scar: go to 15

14. Leaf base even and symmetrical: go to 18

 

 

 

 

 

15. Leaves once toothed: go to 16

15. Leaves twice toothed ( large teeth again bearing smaller teeth): go to key of the elms

 

 

 

 

 

 16. Bark not warty, only two terminal bud scales, leaf broadly heart-shaped: 
Tilia americana (basswood)

16.  Bark of trunk with warty raised ridges, imbricate terminal bud scales, leaf not heart-shaped:  go to 17

 

 

 

 

 

17. Leaves narrow, less than half as broad as long, teeth reduced:
Celtis laevigata (southern hackberry)  Note: where their ranges overlap, C. laevigata and C. occidentalis hybridize, producing individuals with intermediate characteristics.  

17. Leaves wide, more than half as broad as long, teeth coarse:
Celtis occidentalis (northern hackberry)
 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Leaves clearly once toothed or twice toothed:  go to 21

18. Leaves irregularly toothed, or not clearly once or twice toothed:  go to 19

 

 

 

 

 

19. Twigs armed with sharp spines with short spur-shoots present, fruit small and apple-like.  Note: Crataegus species are numerous and difficult to identify.  Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) is illustrated here.
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)    

19. Twigs not armed and without spur-shoots, fruit not apple-like:  go to 20

 

 

 

 

 

20. Bark smooth and fluted as a muscle, fruit in a winged bract: 
Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

20. Bark rough and scaley, seed in an inflated bag, bud scales with fine striations under hand lens: 
Ostrya virginiana (hop hornbeam)

 

 

 

 

21. Leaves once toothed: go to 22

21. Leaves twice toothed ( large teeth again bearing smaller teeth): go to 27

 

 

 

 

22. Leaves more than 3 times as long as wide:  go to 23

22. Leaves less than twice as long as wide, or about two times as long as wide: go to 24

 

 

 

 

23. Petioles with 2 prominent glands, more than one bud scale, bark with horizontal rows of lenticels and flaky on large trees, fruit a fleshy drupe (single-seeded): 
Prunus serotina (black cherry)

23.  Petioles without 2 prominent glands, one bud scale, bark cracking to form vertical ridges with lenticels not in rows, fruit a cottony capsule, commonly found along streams and lakes:
Salix nigra (black willow)

 

 

 

 

24.  Main veins looping at ends to veins above, lobed or mitten-shaped leaves may be found but some trees may have only unlobed leaves, sap milky, fruit a multiple of druplets (a conglomerate of single-seeded fleshy fruits):
Morus rubra (red mulberry)

24. Main veins not looping, leaves not lobed, sap not milky, fruit not as above:  go to 25

 

 

 

 

25. Leaves somewhat triangular and regularly toothed, petioles flattened, fruit a cottony capsule:
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)

25. Leaves not triangular or if triangular then with irregular teeth, petioles round, fruit otherwise: go to 26

 

 

 

 

26. Teeth small but prominent, veins distinctly parallel, twigs with long pointed winter buds, fruit a triangular nut in a spiny covering, smooth gray bark:
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)

26. Teeth somewhat irregular, veins not strikingly parallel, twigs with small buds and armed with sharp spines,  fruit small and apple-like, bark not smooth.   Note: Crataegus species are numerous and difficult to identify.  Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) is illustrated here.
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)    

 

 

 

27. Bark smooth and fluted as a muscle, fruit in a winged bract: 
Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

27. Bark scaly, ridged, or smooth with corky wings, but not fluted; fruit an winged samara or in an inflated bag:  go to 28

 

 

 

 

 

28. Teeth tending to be irregular, twigs without corky ridges, seed in an inflated bag, bud scales with fine striations under hand lens: 
Ostrya virginiana (hop hornbeam)

28. Teeth tending to be regular, twigs with corky ridges, seed a winged samara:
Ulmus alata (winged elm)

 

 

 

 

29. Leaves palmately lobed, fruit a double samara: go to key of maples

29. Leaves not lobed: go to 30

 

 

 

 

30. Leaf margin smooth, tree small, fruits clustered, leaf veins running parallel to margin at edge of leaf, distinctive large terminal buds: 
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

30. Leaf margin finely toothed, shrub to small tree, thick reddish brown pubescence on petiole: 
Viburnum rufidulum
(blue haw)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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