Identify America's 100 Most Common Trees

A Guide to Specific Identification of Common North American Trees

Basswood Leaf
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Quick Starts to Tree Identification

Here are the 100 most common trees you will often see in the yards and forests. Your chance of seeing these trees are great during your travels and visits to parks, woodlands, forests, and urban landscapes. I provide basic information of these trees and a method you can use to identify them by their leaves and needles.

Start your tree ID with my Tree Finder and Tree Leaf and Needle Key if you are not sure what kind of tree you have and can find a tree's leaf or a needle.

Deciduous trees will grow identifiable leaves beginning in late spring and are available for identification through late autumn or the first killing frost.

If you have a dormant tree with no leaves in winter, review my Winter Tree Finder and my Dormant Tree Photo Gallery for extra help.

The identification of coniferous evergreen trees that retain their needles can be done any time of the year. Pine needles come in fascicles or bunches where fir, spruce, hemlock, and cypress have single needles attached to twigs. 

The Most Common North American Hardwood Trees

Here are the most common North American hardwoods or trees variously known as angiosperms, broadleaf, deciduous and hardwoods. These trees are abundant in both individual tree count and varieties of species in the Eastern North American forest extending to the edge of the mid-western prairie.

Hardwood foliage is leaves that can be broad or narrow, thick and thin generally shed annually and can be aligned in an alternate or opposite arrangement.

One important identification feature is that the tree angiosperm has flowers and produces seeds enclosed within a carpel, The mature fruits are acorns, nuts, berries, pomes, drupes, samaras, capsules.

The Most Common North American Coniferous Trees

Here are the most common North American conifers or trees variously known as gymnosperms, conifers, evergreens and softwoods.

These trees are abundant and grow through-out North America. Conifers have needles or scale-like leaves, fruit in the form of cones and normally (but not always) keep foliage or needles through the entire year.

A tree that is a gymnosperm (meaning naked seed) has seeds unprotected by an ovary or fruit. The major gymnosperm families include conifers, cycads, and ginkgo. The mature fruits are described as woody, leathery or fleshy cones and will normally drop seeds from the tree and depend on seed distribution using gravity and the wind.

Quizzes to Test You Identification Skills

Leaf Quiz 1 | Leaf Quiz 2 | Leaf Quiz 3 | Leaf Quiz 4 | Leaf Quiz 5 | Leaf Quiz 6: Tree leaf identification quiz based on 30 common native North American trees