23,000 – that’s how many different types of trees there are in the world, according to North Carolina State University.
The diversity of trees is in a word… amazing. From towering pines to tropical palms and teeny-tiny bonsai trees, there’s a tree out there for everyone.
If you’ve found a tree that catches your eye, here’s how to identify your tree. You can use the leaf, bark or an app to discover what type of tree you have.
How to Tell What Type of Tree I Have or Saw
To identify what kind of tree you have, begin by grabbing a leaf. If you please, snap a picture of the tree’s bark, canopy and any identifying features, such as its fruit, blooms and size.
Now you’re ready to begin sleuthing. Go forth with confidence, tree detective!
Tree Identification by Leaf
Tree leaves hold the answer to, “What type of tree is this?”
If you’d like to use an app, scroll to find the best one below.
Or, you can take The Arbor Day Foundation’s detailed “What Tree Is That” quiz. By answering questions about where you are and the leaf’s shape, size and characteristics, you’ll know what tree you have in under 5 minutes!
Tree Identification by Bark
Wondering how to identify a tree in winter when there are no leaves present?
Look at their bark! By far the easiest way to identify trees by their bark is to use an app. Scroll on to find out which.
If you’d prefer, you can DIY it. Your best bet is to focus on the bark while zeroing in on the twigs and buds. The Nature Conservancy provides step-by-step instructions and detailed info on how to identify trees by their bark. They also share how to identify different types of evergreen trees.
If you’d prefer to answer questions instead, try this tree bark identification key.
Tree Identification by App
Ah, the wonders of 21st-century technology!
Now, you can tell what type of tree you have in your front or backyard by snapping a picture or answering a few questions on your phone.
Best Tree Identification App for iPhones
Leafsnap, created by researchers at Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institute, is the best iPhone app for identifying trees.
To use, you simply input your location and snap a picture of the leaf on a white background.
Then, poof! You’ll have the results in a matter of seconds. Now that’s easy!
Best Tree Identification App for Android
VTree helps you identify nearly 1,000 trees and shrubs across North America. This app was created by Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.
You don’t need to take a picture of the leaf to use this app. Instead, you enter your location and answer qualifying questions about the leaf and tree. You can skip any non-relevant questions. There are also over 23,000 pictures of leaves, flowers, fruits and twigs to make it easier to identify trees.
If you’ve stumped the app, you can even send in a tree description with pictures, and the Virginia Tech experts will solve the mystery.