Quiz: Can you identify this tree from its leaf?
Do you think you have a good handle on identifying trees by merely looking at their leaves? Do you know the difference between coniferous and deciduous, or can you tell the difference between pines, beeches, and dogwoods? If so, Stacker has put together a quiz for you. The quiz features 25 trees commonly found in the United States from forestry and landscaping sites.
Each clue slide comes with information about the texture, size, and color of the trees’ leaves, as well as where in the country they can be found. While some trees are evergreen, they can be distinguished by the hardness of their needles and whether they grow in groups or individually.
Many of the trees included in this quiz are valuable for lumber or as pulpwood. One tree is highly sought after by musical instrument makers for its durability and tonal quality. The bark of another tree is waterproof, making it a prime candidate for the building of canoes. Other trees are useful sources of food for birds and mammals, providing roosting and shelter in colder climates.
Tree location ranges throughout the country, and one tree type once accounted for nearly a quarter of all the trees in the Appalachian Mountains. However, diseases beginning in the 1800s have rendered it all but extinct.
Several state trees and one of the most massive trees in the country like the Boogerman, which extends 191 feet above the forest floor, are also featured in this quiz, as is a tree that is part of the largest living thing on Earth: a grove in Utah that spans over 100 acres and includes 50,000 trees from a single root system.
Read on to see if you have the tree chops to identify the leaves of these 25 trees.
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Clue: Tree #1
This tree’s leaves can be found in the Pacific Northwest, stretching from California to as far north as Alaska, with Oregon being its primary location. Its shiny, green leaves turn reddish-brown in the fall and can measure 12 to 24 inches when fully grown. The tree is the largest of its species, growing between 50 and 100 feet and living up to 300 years, with wood that is highly sought after by musical instrument makers for its sound quality and durability.
Answer: Tree #1
Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)
Clue: Tree #2
These dull, green leaves grow to around 8 inches in length and have forward-facing teeth and a lance-shaped tip. In the fall, they turn a light brown and become hard and brittle, and the nuts it produces once fed billions of birds and animals. The tree thrived on the East Coast, accounting for nearly a quarter of the trees in the Appalachian Mountains, but a series of diseases beginning in the early 1800s have rendered it almost extinct.
Answer: Tree #2
American chestnut (Castanea dentata)
Clue: Tree #3
The tips of this tall, skinny tree consist of bunches of pointed needles twisted in a spiral. It grows in a wide variety of climates in the western half of North America, from the Black Hills of South Dakota across to Baja, California, and is among the first to return following a fire. Native people relied on the tree as lumber for building, used its cones in medicines, and ate its inner bark in the spring as a sweet treat.
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Answer: Tree #3
Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)
Clue: Tree #4
These four-petaled leaves are mostly seen in the eastern United States or northern Mexico, producing vibrant white or pink flowers in the spring. The tree grows between 15 and 30 feet with a canopy equally as wide and is used primarily as an ornamental tree in landscaping. In the summer, petals turn green before turning a deep purple in the fall, producing a bright red fruit that should never be eaten raw.
Answer: Tree #4
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
Clue: Tree #5
This evergreen tree is partly named for the color of its sharp needles and can grow up to 100 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Found primarily in the Rocky Mountains, it is an important part of the ecosystem at high elevations, providing nesting and coverage areas for birds. Smaller versions are used for landscaping and Christmas trees because of their ability to hold heavy ornaments without losing their needles.
Answer: Tree #5
Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens)
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