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Online Field Guide: Trees

Use the filters to home in possible candidates for the species you are trying to identify. You DO NOT have to select an option from every filter! The more precise you are the more likely you are to find your species but if any filter option you select is wrong you will miss it. You may need to try several options before you find what you are looking for.

Choose the feature of the tree you want to identify it by
Habitats are useful for breeding or resident birds but migrant species can turn up almost anywhere!

Alder

Alnus glutinosa

Although a deciduous tree it has seed heads like fir cones

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Alder

Alnus glutinosa
The leaves are broad, ribbed and serated

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Alder

Alnus glutinosa

The flowers have a purple tinge

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Alder

Alnus glutinosa

The alder can grow into quite a big tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Alder

Alnus glutinosa

It has catkins that are larger than hazel

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Alder Buckthorn

Frangula alnus

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

In winter the twigs bear large black opposite buds

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The ash is a tall, elegant tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The bunches of keys can stay on the tree for much of the winter

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The bark is fairly smooth and ash coloured

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The key-like seeds have a single 'wing'

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The inside does not really show aging circles

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The flowers appear in small sprays and are dark brown, almost black

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The buds appear at the end of twigs and are chocolate brown

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

The bark develops wrinkles with age!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Fallen nuts are known as beech mast

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Leaves can often stay on the tree all winter

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

The leaf buds are very pronounced

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

The flowers are not particularly conspicuous  

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

A big, strong tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Newly developing nuts

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Bark much smoother than the oak

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Black Pine

Alternative Name(s): Austrian Pine
Pinus nigra

A rather chaotic pine tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Black Poplar

Populus nigra

Black poplar produces these attractive purple catkins

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Black Poplar

Populus nigra

The branches have multiple twigs at the ends

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Black Poplar

Populus nigra

The bark has vertical ridges

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Black Poplar

Populus nigra

This is a big, tall and bold tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

The flowers emerge before the leaves

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Look for:

The dusty white flowers in spring and the purple sloes in autumn

  • White flowers in spring appearing before the leaves
  • Clusters of purple fruits (sloes) in autumn
  • Black twigs with sharp spines in winter

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

The fruit are known as sloes

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Look for:

The dusty white flowers in spring and the purple sloes in autumn

  • White flowers in spring appearing before the leaves
  • Clusters of purple fruits (sloes) in autumn
  • Black twigs with sharp spines in winter

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa
The bare twigs clearly show the sharp thorns

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Look for:

The dusty white flowers in spring and the purple sloes in autumn

  • White flowers in spring appearing before the leaves
  • Clusters of purple fruits (sloes) in autumn
  • Black twigs with sharp spines in winter

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

The shrub is a rather tangled mess!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Look for:

The dusty white flowers in spring and the purple sloes in autumn

  • White flowers in spring appearing before the leaves
  • Clusters of purple fruits (sloes) in autumn
  • Black twigs with sharp spines in winter

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Look for:

The dusty white flowers in spring and the purple sloes in autumn

  • White flowers in spring appearing before the leaves
  • Clusters of purple fruits (sloes) in autumn
  • Black twigs with sharp spines in winter

Corsican Pine

Pinus nigra maratima

Tall upright trees grown for their timber

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Corsican Pine

Pinus nigra maratima

It has needles rather than leaves

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Corsican Pine

Pinus nigra maratima

The bark is ridged

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

Lovely white flower often with a tinge of pink

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

It is the outside, or sepals, that give the pink look

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crab Apple

Malus sylvestris

It produces small apples

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

The bark is rough and attractive to lichens

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

The twigs are very brittle which is where it gets its name

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

The wood is very light in colour

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

The buds are alternate along the twig

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

the flower buds are silvery and furry

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Crack Willow

Salix fragilis

The tree has masses of thin branches and has a greenish tinge in winter 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Creeping Willow

Salix repens

A low growing creeping shrub

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Creeping Willow

Salix repens

The flowers emerge alternate rather than opposite

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Dogwood

Cornus sanguinea

The cream flower is much like other species of the same family wth the flower head made up of a cluster of smaller flowers

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Dogwood

Cornus sanguinea

The red stems are often the best guide and these are most visible in winter

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Dogwood

Cornus sanguinea

Certainly and scrubby and untidy shrub in winter

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Downy Birch

Betula pubescens

Very similar to silver birch but more upright

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Downy Birch

Betula pubescens

The bark is usually smoother than silver birch and more coppery in colour in young trees

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Downy Birch

Betula pubescens

The leaf buds are alternate up the stem

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Downy Birch

Betula pubescens

Like other birch family members it produces catkins in spring

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Downy Birch

Betula pubescens

As the tree ages the bark becomes more silvery and is easily confused with silver birch but the bark is always smoother than that of its cousin. 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Elder

Sambucus nigra

The masses of smaller flowers make the flat topped elderflower

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Elder

Sambucus nigra

In autumn the flowers turn to clusters of fruity berries

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Elder

Sambucus nigra

The bark of older trees is very wrinkled

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Elder

Sambucus nigra

Young trees have a dusky coloured smooth bark with some notches on them

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

English Elm

Ulmus procera

The leaf is really all there is to identify this once elegant tree as it rarely grows above head height before succumbing to Dutch elm disease 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

European Larch

Larix decidua

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Field Maple

Acer campestre

The leaf is a small version of the classic Canadian maple shape

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Goat Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix caprea

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Goat Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix caprea

The flowers of the willow family are similar across most species

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Goat Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix caprea

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Goat Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix caprea

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Goat Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix caprea

Goat willow (or sallow) is not a large tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Poplar

Populus canescens

The bark gives the tree its grey colouring

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Poplar

Populus canescens

The buds on the twigs are alternate

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Poplar

Populus canescens

Fully grown grey poplars can be quite tall and elegant

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Poplar

Populus canescens

Flowers are small catkins

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix cinerea

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix cinerea

The grey willow is usually foud in damp, marshy habitats

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix cinerea

The bark has a greyish look and is often pitted

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix cinerea

Close up it is easy to see how the twigs get their silvery-grey appearance

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Grey Willow

Alternative Name(s): Sallow
Salix cinerea

The branch tips are distinctly silvery-grey which gives it its name

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Guelder-rose

Viburnum opulus

The red berries in autumn are poisonous

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Guelder-rose

Viburnum opulus

The shape of the leaf is useful once the the distinctive flowers are over

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Guelder-rose

Viburnum opulus

The outside petals surround others that appear to be buds that never open

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

The flower is a conspicuous addition to the hedgerow in May

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

The flowers turn in to the haws we recognise in the late summe

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

It produces lots of smallish lobed leaves

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

 

The catkin is the male flower that produces pollen

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

Less often seen are the female flowers that receive the pollen

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

The female flowers produce the hazel nuts in the autumn

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

When a central trunk is present the bark is quite shiny

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

The hazel is not a big tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

The leaf edge is finely serrated and comes to a point

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

When coppiced all that is left is the central stool

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hazel

Corylus avellana

They are often coppiced and so present unnatural shape

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

But no one can overlook the bright red berries!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

Surely everyone knows the prickly holly leaf

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

The flower is inconspicuous and often overlooked

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holm Oak

Alternative Name(s): Evergreen Oak
Quercus ilex

The underside of the leaf is silvery grey

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holm Oak

Alternative Name(s): Evergreen Oak
Quercus ilex

Unlike the deciduous oaks it has a fairly smooth bark

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holm Oak

Alternative Name(s): Evergreen Oak
Quercus ilex

Holm oak can grow to be quite a large tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holm Oak

Alternative Name(s): Evergreen Oak
Quercus ilex

Holm oak produces acorns like other oaks

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holm Oak

Alternative Name(s): Evergreen Oak
Quercus ilex

The flowers are quite insignificant ans easily overlooked

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Holm Oak

Alternative Name(s): Evergreen Oak
Quercus ilex

Unlike other oaks it is evergreen and has pointed, waxy leaves

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Horse-chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse-chestnut produces these lovely white flower spikes

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Horse-chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

The flowers can also be pink

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Horse-chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Horse-chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

The twigs are rather 'nobly'!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Horse-chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

The horse-chestnut is a large, spreading tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hybrid Black Poplar

Populus nigra x deltoides

Tall, slender trees often planted in rows as shelter

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hybrid Black Poplar

Populus nigra x deltoides

The bark is crusty rather than rough

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Hybrid Black Poplar

Populus nigra x deltoides

The tree produces wispy catkins 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Maritime Pine

Pinus pinaster

A tall but twisted pine tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Maritime Pine

Pinus pinaster

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Maritime Pine

Pinus pinaster

It produces cones

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The flowers are lovely green tassels

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

he pedunculate oak produces acorns on stalks or pendules

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

he acorns turn brown before falling

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The bark is rough and ridged

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The bark often has these shiny overlapping plates!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The profile clearly shows the ageing rings

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The lobed oak leaf must surely be one of the most familiar to everyone 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The leaf buds tend to be in a cluster at the end of the twigs

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

The ends of the branches are very twiggy!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

Our beautiful oak in summer

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

In winter the masses of branches and twigs becomes apparent

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Rowan

Sorbus aucuparia

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Rowan

Sorbus aucuparia

The rowan produces wonderful white bunches of flowers

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Rowan

Sorbus aucuparia

The flowers turn to bright red berries in late summer

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

They can be tall trees with straight trunks

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

The bark has a rusty brown appearance which is unique

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

Being a pine it has needles rather than leaves

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

Being a pine it produces pine cones

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

The twigs are twiisted, brittle and scaley

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

The silver birch is a pretty tree, especially when the leaves have just emerged

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

In winter the silver bark really stands out

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

The twigs are slender and show the early development of the catkins

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

The catkins are the male flowers and open in April

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

As the tree ages so the bark becomes pitted and cracked

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

The leaves are small, shiny and deep green 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

The leaves are small, shiny and deep green 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Spindle

Euonymus europaeus

Photograph by: Colin Lamond

Spindle

Euonymus europaeus

Photograph by: Colin Lamond

Spindle

Euonymus europaeus

The flowers are small and creamy green

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Spindle

Euonymus europaeus

The pink seeds are very distinctive

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

the bark is ridged

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

The flowers are long and thin

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

The chestnuts are contained in prickly cases

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

The nuts readily fall to the ground when ripe

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sweet Chestnut

Castanea sativa

The leaves are narrow and ribbed

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

The leaves are large with five points

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

The seeds are double winged and turn brown before being blown along in the wind

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

The flowers fall downwards whereas the similar Norway maple has flower that are erect 

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Walnut

Juglans regia

The leaves are pointed and shiny

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wayfaring-tree

Viburnum lantana

Clusters of small white flowers form domes

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wayfaring-tree

Viburnum lantana

By late summer the berries are in red clusters

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wayfaring-tree

Viburnum lantana

It is a bushy shrub producing lots of flower clusters

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Whitebeam

Sorbus aria

Photograph by: Richard Bradford

Whitebeam

Sorbus aria

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Whitebeam

Sorbus aria

The leaves are white on the underside which gives the tree its appearance

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Whitebeam

Sorbus aria

Another tree that produces red berries

Photograph by: Richard Bradford

Wild Cherry

Alternative Name(s): Gean
Prunus avium

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Cherry

Alternative Name(s): Gean
Prunus avium

Wild cherry is a member of the rose family and has the classic five-petalled flower

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Cherry

Alternative Name(s): Gean
Prunus avium

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Cherry

Alternative Name(s): Gean
Prunus avium

The branches can become quite a tangles mess!

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Privet

Ligustrum vulgare

the flowers appear in creamy spikes each spike made up of tiny flowers

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Privet

Ligustrum vulgare

The berries are black and form in clusters

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Service-tree

Sorbus torminalis

The leaves have multiple points

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wild Service-tree

Sorbus torminalis

It is not a large tree

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Wych Elm

Ulnus glabra

The fruits have curious wings on them

Photograph by: Peter Orchard

Yew

Taxus baccata

Branches appear from low on the trunk whereas most evergreen have branches mainly in the crown

Photograph by: Peter Orchard