Recommendations for plant ID guide - with pictures?

Discussion in 'Plant and Tree Identification' started by Suburbanhmstedr, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. Suburbanhmstedr

    Suburbanhmstedr Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Suburban Chicago/Green County WI
    We have just signed the contract and completed the inspection on our rural property (WOO HOOO!). There are a lot of trees on the land, and I'd like to figure out what kind they are while they still have leaves!

    Some of the trees apparently know that I am clueless, so they've produced walnuts or apples to help me out a bit. The others are keeping their secrets close for now.

    I found a plant identification book at a nature sale this weekend, and was shocked that it didn't have any pictures! Ummm, I'm too dumb to figure it out without pictures... :shrug:

    Can anyone recommend a good field guide?
  2. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

    Sep 26, 2005
    another strategy is to use the internet for trees. there seem to be a finite number of trees compared to other plants. if you search each basic type of tree and start comparing pictures, you normally have some luck.

    if it makes acorns, it is a type of oak. search for oak and start comparing things. if it has seeds with wings, it is most likely a maple or box eldar. smooth bark it may be a beech or birch. bark that sheds like hair on a dog, probably a sycamore. you get the idea. :)

  3. tillandsia

    tillandsia Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Gainesville Florida
  4. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    N. Calif./was USDA 9b before global warming
    There is something called a 'tree finder' that guides you through tree identification by asking you a series of questions and leading you from one to the next to find the right identity for the tree. Usually you'll want to confirm this with a book with pictures. Peterson's guides are usually good for the picture part.

    You will probably find, as I did, that botanical drawings are actually better than photographs. Sometimes in photos you can't clearly see all the distinguishing features--things like fuzz in the joints of the leaves on the underside (a feature of california live oaks)--artists are careful to include those features in their drawings and that makes it easier to know what you are looking for on the plant.
  5. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 20, 2006
    Michigan's Thumb
    The National Audubon Society has a great series on trees. One for the eastern region and one for the western. It's a perfect size for a hand guide (4" x 7.5"), has beautiful color plates and breaks down the trees by leaf color, flower color, berries, cones, bark.

    They also have guides for flowers, birds, mamals, mushrooms, butterflies, insects, fish, ect. You name it, they have a guide.
  6. jessepona

    jessepona Food Not Lawns :p

    Sep 7, 2005
    NW IN
    I like the Audubon Guide to Trees as well. The entries are arranged via leaf type and fruit or flower color so it's pretty easy to find which tree you're looking for. The only problem is that there are so many non-native trees cropping up that look really similar to native trees (like Norway Maple compared to Sugar Maple) getting a positive ID can be kind of hairy at times. The nice thing about the Audobon guide is it tells you whether the tree is native or not.

    Good luck!
  7. bee

    bee WV , hilltop dweller Supporter

    May 12, 2002
    I like the Petersons guides; particularly the Edible Wild Plants guide..not only will it identify for you but it will tell you what to do with it! Has a section on trees as well as plants...great book!