10 Common tree buds and how to identify them

10 common tree buds

Let's learn meet some common tree buds

Hello. In this tutorial, we are going to meet 10 of our most common tree buds and learn how to identify them. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Why are buds important in tree identification?

Buds are a really useful way (and sometimes, one of the few ways) of identifying trees during the winter and early spring when they don’t yet have any leaves or flowers to help identify them. Yet, we so often overlook or forget about them.

At first glance, it might seem surprising to think about the possibility of identifying a tree by those little knobbly bits on its twigs. But, once you open your eyes and start noticing their little details, you will soon realise that tree buds, those knobbly things’, are often as different from one another as leaves or flowers ‘those green or pretty things’.

alder tree buds

Alder tree buds

Alder buds are alternate, a soft, purple colour and attached to the twig via little pegs.

ash tree buds

Ash tree buds

Ash buds are opposite and fairly large and charcoal-black.

identifying beech buds

Beech tree buds

Beech buds are long, thin, tapered and chestnut brown and grow out at an angle away from the twig.

identifying cherry tree buds

Cherry tree buds

Cherry buds are small, thin, tightly closed and grow in clusters all along the twig.

identifying hazel tree buds

Hazel tree buds

Hazel buds are blunt, rounded, soft green and alternate, with the twig angled between each pair of buds.

hawthorn buds

Hawthorn tree buds

Hawthorn buds are short, blunt, reddish brown and knobbly.

horse chestnut tree buds

Horse chestnut tree buds

Horse chestnut buds are quite large, egg-shaped, sticky, shiny and grow near the ends of the branches.

identifying oak tree buds

Oak tree buds

Oak tree buds are fat, blunt, pinky-reddish brown and grow in small clusters near the ends of the branch.

rowan buds

Rowan tree buds

Rowan tree buds are long, scruffy, hairy and tightly stuck to the branches.

sycamore buds

Sycamore tree buds

Sycamore tree buds are opposite, egg-shaped, green and has little black points at the end of each bud scale.


Well… there we go! A brief introduction to our 10 common tree buds. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial? Let me know in the comments. Happy nature walking and see you soon!

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Hello, I’m Leila! Welcome to My Nature Nook. I help families learn about and connect with Nature. Learn more

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