Previously I discussed Indiana’s Central Till Region and the odds I might see 60-70 native tree species in the Johnson-Marion county area. So before I start learning them I need a starting point. How many Indiana Native Trees Winter Identification can I currently make? And why?
To begin with I’ve done a lot of reading over the last month on trees. Some of which I’m sure I’ll eventually share with you. But let me say I have never seen so many different names for the same species. I swear each tree has 3 or more common names. For now I’m going to stick with the common names from 101 Trees Indiana Field Guide but include the scientific name to erase any doubt.
Here are the trees I can currently identify in winter without the use of any field guides and how I can ID them:
Eastern White Pine – Pinus strobus Because I took the time last year to learn it.
Eastern Red Cedar – Juniperus virginiana Growing up we had one in our yard. Plus the shape and the reddish color of the tree.
American Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis The green-white bark and the large size make them distinctive.
Sweet Gum – Liquidambar styraciflua The spiny fruit that hangs on the tree in winter is a giveaway.
Northern Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis The year-round warty, light gray bark is distinctive.
Shagbark Hickory – Carya ovata The peeling, long curly strips of bark are unique.
Pin Oak – Quercus palustris The lower branches start right above the ground and droop. Plus it still usually still has leaves.
American Beech – Fagus grandifolia Distinctive by lover’s initials carved in the smooth, gray bark.
River Birch – Betula nigra The orange, cream, and near-white peeling bark on the smaller tree make it the easiest Birch to ID.
Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos Thorns up to 12″. Enough said.
As you can see it’s basically the bark I use for easy winter ID. Eventually I’ll make and share a reference chart for more Indiana Native Trees Winter Identification but for now I’ll just keep it at a simple line for each.