New hobby: Tree Identification

Pinecones on a weeping Blue Atlas cedar (I think).

In my free time and relaxation this week, I’ve picked up an interesting new hobby: tree identification!

Last week, on one of our long drives south of Portland, I was struck by all the beautiful trees and realized that I would be hard-pressed to identify a single one of them! B and I must be on the same wave length because the next day, he came home with this book: the Sibley Guide to Trees.

In one sitting, I read the introductory chapter, which covers different classifications of trees, and differences we can notice in the seeds, leaves, bark, and fruit of trees, which can aid in identifying our tree.

After reading the introduction, I felt prepared to go out and try to identify some trees on my own. B and I have a nightly tradition of a post dinner “cat walk”, in which we take a walk around our neighborhood and visit with our neighborhood cat friends.

This is Mr. Mittens, an older gentleman ginger cat that we visit regularly.

This has become the perfect time for me to practice tree identification. That first night, I brought home a leaf and an acorn that I found on the ground under a very large Oak tree (I knew enough about trees to surmise upon first glance that it was in fact an Oak tree).

Pictured: acorns and oak leaves

According to the Sibley’s guide, this is a Northern Red Oak. Score!

On Tuesday, I loudly announced ‘This is an avocado tree!’, only to be corrected by the owner of said-tree, who informed me that it is, in fact, a cherry tree. Oh well! B helpfully pointed out that they’re both stone fruit, so easily confused.

For every one tree that I identify, there are twenty more that remain a mystery. It’s certainly a humbling experience, and really enhances my evening walks. B doesn’t seem overly thrilled with my new habit of stopping every 20 feet and exclaiming is wonder what this tree is!’ But he’s been very patient with me.

My goal is that, with more practice, I’ll be able to identify more trees by sight, if only their broad category, rather than painstakingly looking up each and every tree I come upon!

Is this a Norway Maple?

Published by playfulchildhood

The cool kids call me Teacher Alison. I'm an early childhood educator living in Portland, OR.

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