This is a Lab for Intro to Forestry, Power Point is Attached and is the instruction sheet is pasted below. Thank You
SCIN 135 Forestry
Lab 3 - Tree Identification
You can identify tree species using many characteristics. Some of these are overall size and shape, color, size and shape of leaves, texture, color and shape of twigs, thorns and buds, and the color and texture of the bark, fruit and flowers. Growing or geographical range is also useful in narrowing your choices to the correct species.
The size and shape of leaves are typically used to identify a tree during the late spring, summer, and early fall. Recognizing the different leaf shapes of individual species will help you identify trees you come across. Deciduous trees shed their leaves annually (ex. maples, elms, ashes). Evergreens have their leaves remaining on the tree for one or more years (ex. needles of pines and spruces). Most of the cone-bearing trees and some broadleaf trees like the American holly and live oak are evergreen.
When a tree has shed its leaves, identification is more challenging. You have to rely on the shape and texture of the bark, twigs and buds and any fruits or flower parts on the trees to identify it. Sometimes fruits on the ground under the tree are also useful. Knowing these characteristics helps you identify trees when leaves are absent. Learning to recognize trees and how they are influenced by their environment make a great outdoor hobby during all seasons.
Plants can be identified by sight or through the use of dichotomous keys. Most of the scientific books on classification work on dichotomous keys, i.e. the user is asked a lot of questions in succession and has at each point to decide between two answers. This procedure is continued until the plant has been identified.
Most people use several of the characteristics to identify a specific tree. In this lab, you will use photos of bark texture and color, leaves, fruits, habitat type, and geographic range (Southeastern US) to identify the tree species.
Directions to complete Lab:
In this lab, you will use pictures of tree features (leaves, bark, fruits) and a plant ID Leaf Key located at http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/key/location.htm to identify ten tree species. Then you will answer the questions on the Lab 3 – Tree ID Lab Worksheet/Quiz located in Tests and Quizzes.
Please refer to the pictures in the Lab3 pdf file attached for this lab. These pictures are of trees native to the piedmont region of the Southeastern US. Most pictures were taken in the Raleigh, NC area. This is important to remember as you go through the lab that all ten species are native to the Southeastern US. The geographic range MUST be considered For example, ‘Canadian Oak’ cannot be one of your species because it is not native to the Southeast.
First, work through the Tree ID Tutorial. If you have problems accessing the site via the attachment, you may also access it from ‘Resources’. You should go through the tutorial before attempting this lab. It will help to familiarize you with the use of a plant identification key and the various tree features used to identify a tree.
Then work through the following example as follows:
Access the following species page:
To key this species:
Go to the VT plant id key at http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/key/location.htm and make the following selections in sequence. As you make your way through keying the species (#s 3 – 8), examine the features in the pictures to make sure you understand each choice made.
1. Leaf key
2. North America, Any zone
3. Broad leaf
4. Leaves alternate
5. Simple leaves
8. Round in outline
At this point you have a number of possible matches. Use the photos (bark, leaves, fruits) and the geographic range to narrow down to Platanus occidentalis. You are now ready to identify your species.
Use the Leaf Key at the Virginia Tech website to identify all ten species: http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/idit.htm
Follow the procedure outlined above in the example. Key down to a number of possibilities for each species. Then use the visual features in the photos (leaves, bark, buds, fruit ) and geographic region to narrow down to the specific species. Keep in mind that barks of some species can change with age so make sure you read the information on each species.
Please note that the hardest items to determine from a picture are whether or not the leaves are smooth or toothed, simple or compound (only one species has compound leaves and this is noted in the corresponding hint), and whether or not there are thorns on a branch (there are no species with thorns in this lab). You might try selecting both options as you review each in order to compare choices – some trees can be very similar. You may also use a magnifying glass or eye lens if you have one available. If a feature in a photo is not clear to you (ex leaves serrated or not), feel free to email me for clarification.
The following are hints to be used to help verify that you have identified the species correctly.
1. This species is the most planted hardwood in the south
2. This species is the leader in forest industry in the coastal plains
3. The appearance of the bark of this tree changes remarkably with age.
4. This species has small glands on the petiole that you cannot see in the photos.
Wilted foliage of this species has cyanide which is poisonous to livestock
5. The scales on the leaves are NOT flat.
Birds use the foliage of this species for roosting and nesting
6. Leaves taste sour
7. Wood clogs with water
8. Leaves are pinnately compound, usually with 5 leaflets
9. Flowers have large white bracts
10.Tree grows very tall and straight
You should also refer to the following websites and compare pictures and features to double check that you have identified each species correctly:
Once you have successfully identified each species use the information provided and complete the assessment as follows:
To answer the questions for #6, access the USDAFS Additional Sivics link (located at the bottom of the species page).
To answer the questions for all other species (#s 1-5, #s7-10) access the Landowner Fact Sheet links (located at the bottom of each species page).
For your answers to ecological niche and environmental use please DO NOT copy and paste. This constitutes plagiarism. You need to extract the answers to the questions and summarize in your own words.
If there is a problem with the VT site please email me right away so that I can contact the site’s webmaster. If you find you are spending what seems to be an unreasonable amount of time identifying the trees and getting nowhere, email for help.
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