The Baker County Arboretum is home to 35 different Florida native and Florida-Friendly tree species and cultivars. But how does one go about telling them apart?



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  • The Baker County Arboretum is home to 35 different Florida native and Florida-Friendly tree species and cultivars. But how does one go about telling them apart?

  • To identify the trees successfully, follow these steps:

    • Learn to recognize leaf arrangement (alternate vs. opposite).
    • Learn to recognize leaf divisions (simple vs. compound leaves), including even-pinnately compound and odd-pinnately compounds leaves.
    • Review the diagrams illustrating selected leaf shapes.
    • Review the diagrams illustrating selected leaf margins.
    • Follow the tree identification guide (also known as a dichotomous key).


How leaves are arranged on the stem.

  • How leaves are arranged on the stem.









A dichotomous key is a tool that allows the user to determine the identity of items in the natural world, such as trees. Keys consist of a series of choices that lead the user to the correct name of a given item.

  • A dichotomous key is a tool that allows the user to determine the identity of items in the natural world, such as trees. Keys consist of a series of choices that lead the user to the correct name of a given item.

  • To use the key, start by determining which number category the tree fits into (listed 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5). Then (within the numbered category) determine which subcategory the tree fits into (listed i, ii, iii, iv, etc.), and so on. By eliminating certain characteristics, the user should be led to the correct name of the tree in question.



Baker County Arboretum Dichotomous Key:

  • Baker County Arboretum Dichotomous Key:

  • 1. Trees with acerose (needle-like) or awl-shaped (scale-like) leaves

  • i. Needles held in bundles

  • a. 2 needles per bundle…Spruce Pine (Pinus glabra)

  • b. 3 needles per bundle………Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

  • ii. Scales: tiny, overlapping.........Southern Red Cedar

  • (Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola)



Example 2: This tree has…



Example 3: This tree has…

  • Example 3: This tree has…

  • Alternate leaf arrangement

  • Compound leaf division

  • Odd number of leaflets

  • Entire leaf margins

  • Undersides of leaves are pubescent (hairy)







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