Anyone interested in forests and trees must master the skill of recognizing the major tree species. In this lesson, we will learn to recognize these distinguishing characteristics of trees—branching arrangements, leaf shapes, bark characteristics, flowers, fruits, and twigs.
Almost 800 species of native and naturalized trees grow in North America. As many as 160 of these grow in Maryland. The ability to recognize the major tree species and their distinguishing characteristics is basic to forestry. Dendrology, the study of trees, encompasses the classification, nomenclature, and identification of woody plants. (A special glossary of plant taxonomy appears at the end of this lesson.)