Tree Leaves Identification Quiz

By: Olivia Cantor

Tree Leaves Identification Quiz
Image: Maciej Toporowicz, NYC / Moment Open / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Trees are essential to our existence. Thus, it is but natural - and sensible - that we should plant more of them, let them grow into their full potential, and utilize whatever usable parts or products they may have. After all, they have been here on earth for a long time, maybe even far longer than humans have existed on the planet. So we should respect this longevity, and we should live harmoniously with such useful living beings.

But in this modern age, are we still in touch with mother nature's grand creations? If you happen to spot a tree, will you be able to name it, on the spot? If you're more of a fruit person, then seeing their produce would help you enormously in identifying them. But what about through their leaves?

Some trees are indeed easy to name, based on their leaves alone. It might be the color that gives them away, or the arrangement of the leaves within the foliage in general, or even the exact shape of specific leaf types. For example, some leaves appear long and narrow; then there are those that look like needles. They can be in a finger-like arrangement, or they could be heart-shaped, too. The variants are wide and plenty.

Thus, it might be nice to look at a tree and easily identify them based on their leaves alone. Let us show you some examples, and then you tell us which tree they fell from. Deal? Go rake in the right answers!

Red Maple Stump What do you call this very recognizable red leaf?
Pistachio
Maidenhair
Red maple
The red maple leaf is perhaps the most recognizable leaf shape in the entire world, simply because it's the emblem of Canada, and this tree grows widely within North America. It's actually considered as the number one most common tree that grows in the U.S., as it thrives in many areas around the country.
Bay laurel

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American Holly This seasonally familiar leaf is called what?
Cacao
Peepal
American holly
The unmistakable shape of the American holly won't escape Americans, and it's perhaps the most recognizable leaf come Christmastime in North America. Houses and different commercial establishments make decorations out of holly boughs and leaves, so it's hard not to recognize!
Hazel

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Weeping Willow This downward-pointing leaf is called what?
Weeping willow
Perhaps the most recognizable willow species of all, the weeping willow is actually a hybrid of two variants of willow, which are easy to grow as hybrids actually. There's even a legend that the English poet Alexander Pope made the very first weeping willow in England from mixed twigs that he planted together.
Black spruce
Redwood
Eastern larch

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Red Oak Here's another common leaf. What is it?
Almond
Honey locust
Red oak
The red oak leaf's very interesting shape makes it a nice leaf to collect, press onto paper notebooks, and preserve for arts and crafts use. It's also beautiful to see especially during autumn because its red color comes out beautifully by that season.
Breadfruit

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Birch This deltoid-shaped leaf is from what tree?
London planetree
Birch
A deltoid-shaped leaf means it's a bit triangular in appearance, just like this birch tree leaf. But it's also a bit heart-shaped, which could also classify it as a cordate-shaped leaf.
Kentucky coffeetree
Serviceberry

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Pine This needle kind of leaf is from which tree?
Pine
Pines are more easily identifiable through their hard cones, but the leaves are also useful in identifying them. These leaves appear as needle clusters, and can actually be steeped to become tea.
American hophornbeam
Japanese pagoda
Gingko

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White Ash What kind of ash leaf is this?
Silverbell
Northern catalpa
Pawpaw
White ash
To differentiate this white ash leaf from the green ash kind, look at the underside and see if it's a bit lighter in color and texture. If it is, then it's definitely white ash, the most common hardwood which most baseball bats are made of.

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Mulberry What's this leaf, from a medium-sized tree?
Mulberry
This fuzzy-looking leaf is from the mulberry tree, recognizable for its fruit, first and foremost. When picking the fruits, be careful of these leaves, because they are saw-toothed at the edges.
Papaya
Sequoia
Blue Spruce

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Douglas Fir Which familiar seasonal tree leaf is this?
Moringa
Tamarind
Neem
Douglas fir
This familiar needle leaf style is from the Douglas fir, perhaps the most recognizable tree in the U.S. because it's always sold and used as a Christmas tree during the yuletide season. This fact is not a surprise, since the Douglas fir is considered as one of the most common tree species native to America, and you can see a lot of it at the Rocky Mountains and many other places.

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Peach This one is from which fruit-bearing tree?
Cucumber magnolia
Boxelder maple
Peach
This light-looking leaf is from the peach tree, which we all know produces deliciously yummy fruits. The fruits usually grow in closer clumps on a branch, and you will also see how the leaves will be protecting these peach clumps all around, and even in between.
Green ash

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Cottonwood Which hardwood tree leaf is this?
White oak
Persimmon
Cottonwood
This leaf with the long stalk is from a cottonwood tree, which is commonly used as firewood. This tree is very common within North America and also in the Asian region.
Balsam fir

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Sycamore This maple-looking leaf is from which tree?
Nectarine
Plum
Black tupelo
Sycamore
The American sycamore tree's leaf looks like a maple tree leaf at first glance, but it's less "pointy" in appearance if you take a closer look at it. But most Americans might recognize the sycamore better for its rather huge trunk since its size is legendary, especially with that story about a Virginia Colony settler that purportedly lived inside a very huge but hollow sycamore back in the day.

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Southern Magnolia From what flowering tree is this leaf?
Southern magnolia
The southern magnolia is indeed popularly grown all over southern U.S., because it has nice foliage and the flowers are also nice to look at, which is complemented by the shiny look of the leaves. Mississippi actually named the southern magnolia as their official state tree, and its flower their official state flower, as does Louisiana.
Bottle brush
Jamaican ebony
Crape myrtle

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Black Hickory This is from one of the most common U.S. hardwood trees. Which one is it?
Molave
Black hickory
The black hickory may be one of the most common hardwood trees in the U.S., but woodworkers need to be smarter on its application, and where it should be used best. While it's hardwood, experts say it's not recommended for flooring, but it's great for building canes, spokes of wooden wheels, and even bows.
Floss silk
Bauhinia

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Elm What kind of forest tree leaf is this one?
Elm
You can recognize an elm tree leaf by the double toothed design of its edges, and its asymmetrical design at its base. And you can find the site of America's most famous elm tree in Boston, known as the Tree of Liberty, which is now also known as the Liberty Stump.
Sausage
Cannonball
Dragon

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Paper Birch What kind of birch is this?
Paper birch
This elongated leaf is from the paper birch tree, though most people might recognize the tree more for its very distinct-looking bark (and the "easy peeling" it does!). Its rather white bark is noticeable, that's why it's also called white birch sometimes, and even canoe birch.
Durian
Frangipani
Jacaranda

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Monterey Cypress Which California-specific tree leaf is this?
Apricot
Grapefruit
Monterey cypress
This leaf is from a Monterey cypress, which usually grows in Central California, particularly in Monterey. There's even a very popular Monterey cypress tree that you can pass by when driving to Pebble Beach, aptly called the Lone Cypress.
Star apple

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Apple This fruit-bearing tree leaf is known as what?
Apple
We all know what an apple looks like, but can we also spot what its leaf looks like? Generally, the leaf comes in an elliptic shape, meaning it's oval and usually small.
Sal
Cork
American hornbeam

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Yellow Poplar This colorfully famous leaf is known as what?
Yellow poplar
This four-lobed leaf that appears shiny in texture is from the yellow poplar tree, which is also known as the tulip poplar. Experts say that this is the tallest hardwood type of tree found in North America, and you can see that from its very straight-looking trunk that just grows way, way up there towards the sky.
Geiger
Paperbark
April shower

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Orange Which citrus tree leaf is this?
Clove
Nutmeg
Curry
Orange
People with big enough yards can easily grow an orange tree, especially if they live in a place with warmer weather, since they don't grow very tall, and they're very easy to maintain. That's why California and other west coast places have so many orange trees in many places there, easily spottable when you take a ride through suburban areas.

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Black Walnut This kind of leaf is from which nut tree?
Black walnut
The black walnut tree leaf's shape can be described as "even pinnate," where alternate compound smaller leaves grow in a stalk, lined up in a row. This hardwood is commonly used as the wooden handles for knives, and of course the nuts are deliciously consumed by many.
Persimmon
Royal paulownia
Sassafras

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Cedar Where is this needle-like leaf from?
Redwood
Blackhaw viburnum
American larch
Cedar
If you see these very short and rather sharp-looking needles, then chances are they're from a cedar tree. You can usually spot them as those "Christmas tree-looking" trees, and they also appear as low-spreading kind of shrubs sometimes, depending on the kind.

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Flowering Dogwood This very common U.S. tree species is called what?
Flowering dogwood
The flowering dogwood is a deciduous tree, which means you will see their leaves being shed yearly, which grows back again later on. You can see its beautiful leaves turn reddish in autumn, and you can see it all over eastern North America and even in the northern parts of Mexico.
Money tree
African wattle
White bird of paradise

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Pecan This leaf's tree has a fruit-nut that's good for pies. What is it?
Australian pine
Pecan
This leaf arrangement of the pecan tree is called odd-pinnate, meaning the leaves grow in pairs on a small stalk, and there's one odd-leaf-out without a partner at the end. But North American people might recognize its nuts more since the pecan is considered as one of the most popularly consumed nuts in the continent.
Council
Succulent sesame

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Lemon This bright green leaf is from which tree?
Gumball
Lemon
This oval-shaped light green leaf is a lemon tree leaf. These trees are actually easy to grow in warmer climates, and they can also be dwarfed for growing in smaller areas.
Bald cypress
Eastern hemlock

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Fig This fun fruit tree leaf is known as what?
Baobab
Banyan
Fig
The inverted shape of the fig leaf is a very recognizable image for art lovers and art students, especially those who studied how the fig leaf became the symbol of artistic censorship as the poor leaf got slapped onto the genitalia of classical nude sculptures. But as a tree, people grow it for its fruits, since the trees are very manageable to keep in a typical lawn.
Kapok

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Black Cherry This is from a fruit-bearing hardwood tree. Which one is it?
Ylang-ylang
Lime
True bay
Black cherry
If you touch a black cherry tree's leaf, it's a bit smooth to the touch. People from Oregon, California, and Washington states will vouch for that, since this tree grows in these places.

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Red Alder This is from one of the most common U.S. hardwood species around. What's it called?
Ponytail palm
Red alder
This rather ovate or egg-shaped leaf with the jagged edges is from the red alder tree, a kind of hardwood found in many west coast areas of the U.S. Many electric guitars use this wood for its body, and cabinet-makers also like working with this wood.
Brazilian beauty
Guava

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Olive This tree's fruits are often pressed and turned to oil. Which tree leaf is this?
Yellow elder
Japanese privet
Rubber
Olive
The very linear and elongated shape of the olive tree leaf is unmistakable, and you might find this image familiar since there are many logos featuring olive wreaths or crowns out there. But of course, martini drinkers would be closely familiar with its olive fruit, so cheers to this happily flexible tree!

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Mahogany This leaf's tree is turned to timber. Which one is this?
Mahogany
The very long and a little wide-sized leaf of the mahogany tree can also be mistaken for the leaf of a mango tree since they appear the same. The mahogany is a tropical hardwood kind of tree, but it's also grown in America.
Palm
Sea hibiscus
Strangler fig

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Sweet Gum This is from which common U.S. tree species?
Sweet gum
This star-shaped tree will be recognizable for people in the Southern U.S. because the tree where it came from, the sweet gum tree, grows a lot there. The leaves turn into colorful reds during autumn, and it's a beautiful sight to see, all around this region.
Fire tree
Yakal
Eucalyptus

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Banana This leaf is very familiar in Asian cuisine and culture. What is it?
Pencil
Slash pine
Banana
Did you know that the very wide, huge, and versatile banana leaf is waterproof? That's why it has a very diverse application in many culinary preparations and even in religious rituals and offerings, especially in the cultures of Asia, Central America, Mexico, and the Polynesian Islands.
Molave

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Horse Chestnut This digitate-shaped leaf is from which tree?
Lodgepole pine
Horse chestnut
Digitate-shaped leaves appear like five extended human fingers, just like this leaf from a horse chestnut tree. This flowering tree is grown in many parts of the world, and different regions even have specific species or hybrids found in their respective areas.
Redbud
Black locust

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Quaking Aspen This very common leaf is from which common hardwood tree?
Osage orange
Hackberry
Quaking aspen
The quaking aspen is one of the most common tree species native to the U.S., distinguishable by their cordate-shaped leaf. The hardwood is mainly used to make chopsticks, matchsticks, doors, and other small kitchen utensils.
Butternut

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American Basswood What do you call the tree from where this huge lotus-like leaf came from?
Arjun
Carrotwood
Ceylon ironwood
American basswood
This leaf from an American basswood tree tends to appear dull, in a matte-finish kind of surface. Careful of the saw-toothed edges, for they are so coarse that our hands could easily get cut when handling it.

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Avocado They say hipster millennials might know where this leaf came from. What's your guess?
Lipstick
Shaving brush
Chinaberry
Avocado
The pear-shaped avocado fruit is the one we're all familiar with, especially when it comes to consuming it, but did you know that some cuisines also use the slightly leathery-feeling leaf of the avocado for cooking, flavoring, and even converted into tea? Thank the cultures of ancient South Central Mexico for that, which is said to be the place where this fancy fruit-tree is said to have come from.

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Pear Grin and bear it, so tell us what this tree leaf is!
Wild coffee
Long John Ant
Pear
No matter what the variety, the pear tree's leaves always look a bit shiny on the surface. Because of its size, it's also easy to rake off when they dry off and fall off the branches, especially when you try to harvest the pear fruits if you grow them in your yard.
Chinese tallow

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Beech This hardwood tree leaf is called what?
Camphor
Beech
When you see beech trees with green leaves, that means you're in North America. But if you see beech trees that have purple or yellowish leaves, that means you're in Europe, for such colorful varieties exist on that continent.
Indian rosewood
Teak

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Coconut This is the leaf from the so-called "tree of life." What tree is that?
Coconut
Perhaps the most familiar palm tree in the world is the coconut tree, as it is always seen depicted in drawings featuring deserted small islands with a singular tree on it, with those long and extended branches with leaves, and of course dotted by a few fruits. In many Asian cultures, the long and narrow leaf is stripped and used as raw materials for making woven baskets, brooms, roofs of huts, and other kinds of products.
Forest red gum
Monkey-bread
Acacia

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Sourwood This color-turning leaf is from which tree?
Brazilian pepper
Mast
Sourwood
This beautifully shaped leaf is from the sourwood tree, which you can easily spot during the start of autumn. That's because out of all the trees in North America, the sourwood leaves are the very first ones to turn into bright red and orange color when autumn arrives, so look for that fact during late August!
Autograph

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