Indiana Native Trees Winter Identification

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.

Eastern Red Cedar

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.

Shagbark Hickory

Pin Oak – Quercus palustris The lower branches start right above the ground and droop. Plus it still usually still has leaves.

Indiana Native Trees Winter Identification
Pin Oak

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.

One Reply to “Indiana Native Trees Winter Identification”

  1. Use the scientific name – it can help you remember the species. Gleditsia tricantha, means “3 thorned” which it has. Plus it makes you sound really smart when you use Latin.

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