Field Guides > Tree Guides > Identifying common tree leaves

Identifying common tree leaves

Hello! This guide is here to help you quickly and easily identify some of our most common trees by their leaves. Simple scroll down and browse the leaves available to see which looks similar to the leaf you wish to identify, then click the link below each image to visit that tree’s profile page and see its other clues. Please note, I have not yet completed all the tree profiles, so only some of them are linked.



sweet chestnut

Sweet Chestnut



willow leaf


identifying wych elm

Wych Elm

Using our tree leaves identification guide

Leaves are the power houses of all plants and trees – the place where photosynthesis happens and where trees (and plants) make the energy they need to survive. They are also one of the easiest ways to start your tree identification journey.

The main points to think about when identifying tree leaves, are:

  • Overall leaf shape (e.g. lobed, thin, star, hand)
  • Leaf margins (e.g. smooth, wavy, toothy)
  • Leaf tips (e.g. pointy, rounded, indented)
  • Bases (e.g. symmetrical, asymmetrical)
  • Stems (e.g. colour)
  • Undersides (e.g. pale, hairy)
  • Veins (e.g. parallel, branching, higgledy piggledy)

In addition, notice the position of the leaves on the tree’s twigs and branches:

  • Opposite or alternate
  • Single or grouped

Each of these descriptions will have their very own special word in Greek or Latin, which can help you identify them in field guides. But, here, we a focus on ease of use and connection over semantics. (If like me, you love learning scientific terms, you can check out our botany tutorials)

You can also purchase scavenger hunts and field guides in my Etsy shop

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