Plants ID – Woody Ornamentals

Arborvitae, American Planetree, Ash, Azaela/Rhododendron, Barberry, Basswood/Linden, Beech, Birch, Boxwood, Camellia, Cottonwood/Poplar, Dogwood, Elm, English  Ivy, Euonymous, Fir, Forsythia, Hawthorn, Hemlock, Holly, Honeylocust, Hydrangea, Jasmine, Juniper, Lilac, Magnolia, Maple, Nandina, Natal Plum, Oak, Pachysandra, Periwinkle, Photinia, Pine, Pittosporum, Privet, Redbud, Spiraea, Spruce, Sweetgum, Viburnum, Willow, Wisteria, Yew

Arborvitae

Leaf:
Evergreen, scale like, strong smelling

Fruit:
Small (1/2″) reddish to pale brown; 8-12 scales

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d1c d1a d1b

American Planetree 

Leaf:
Alternate, palmately lobed/veined, simple, large, leaf stem covered w/short brown soft hairs

Fruit:
Dense ball of seeds

Seed:
Small wedge shaped, tuft of hair on pointed end (hair falls off easily)

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d2b d2c d2a

Ash

Leaf:
Opposite, pinnately compound but rarely single.

Buds:
Opposite, dark, almost black, slightly fuzzy (key I.D.)

Seed:
Winged, similar to tuliptree but flatter

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 d3bd3a d3c

Azalea/Rhododendron

Leaf:
Evergreen, mostly toothless

Buds:
Large, solitary, at end (flower bud), best way to I.D. plant

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d4

Barberry

Leaf:
No Teeth, narrow at base

Twigs:
With thorns (key I.D. feature)

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d10

Basswood, Linden

Leaf:
Alternate, simple, heart-shaped, coarsely saw-toothed

Buds: large, smooth, shiney, usually reddish

Fruit:
 1-3 globe-shaped pea-sized seeds attached to curved papery wing by long stalk

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d5

Beech

Leaf:
Alternate, long, coarsely toothed, width of leaf varies, glossy

Buds: Solitary, brown, long, spindle-shaped, sharp pointed (best I.D. key)

Fruit:
Nut triangular reddish-brown, enclosed in bristly bur

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d6bd6ad6c

Birch

Leaf:
Alternate, toothed, simple

Twigs:
 Slender, dark with definite light lenticils (key I.D.)Buds:Spindle-shaped, moderate length

Flowers:
Catkins – hang down

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 d8ad8b

Boxwood

Stem:
Evergreen, opposite (key character), leathery, football-shaped, silver mid rib underneath

Twigs:
Slender, green

Buds:
Small, oval, 1-2 scales.

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d11

Camellia

Leaf:
Evergreen, alternate, toothed, leathery, glossy.

Flower buds:
Enlarged, eight scales, football shaped.

Flower:
Showy, large, solitary.
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d12

Cottonwood/Poplar

Cottonwood leaves are smooth, triangles with flattened leaf stalks, some glossy like in appearance, and serrated edges.

The Black Cottonwood has a leaf bud that is darker and if opened contains a black sticky substance. Flowers on both are green catkins, which expand into cottony plumes.

Most poplar leaves are broad – ovate in shape, although some may be alot smaller in size as well.

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cottonwood

Dogwood

Leaf:
Opposite, veins curved, parallel to the leaf margin.

Buds:
Larger, dome-shaped on flowering dogwood.

Fruit:
White, red or blue, round.
Seed:
White, large.

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d14b

Elm

Leaf:
Alternate, saw-toothed, usually unequal at base (key I.D.), feather veined.

Buds:
Small, pointed to round, brown or black.

Seed:
Flat, rounded with broad winged membrane encircling “nut”.

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d15a

English Ivy

Leaf:
Evergreen, alternate, usually 3-5 lobed, margins almost toothless, veins often light-colored, some variegated. Flower:
Greenish in terminal clusters. Fruit:
Globe-shaped, black 1/4″ across.

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d16ad16b

Euonymous

Leaf:
Opposite, teeth or not.

Twigs:
Green, quite a way back.

Buds:
Small, typically wings or ridges on stems. Fruit:
Capsule, 3-5 lobed, brightly-colored, scarlet or orange.

Seed:
White, red or black

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d17a d17bd17c

Fir

Leaf:
Attached singly, flat, with petiole, 2 white bands underneath, round scar left at attachment.

Seed:
Large thin wing.

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 d19a d19bd19c

Forsythia 

Leaf:
Opposite, simple, to 5″ long.

Twigs:
Orangish color (key I.D.), raised white lenticils.

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d20

Hawthorn

Leaf:
Alternate, simple, various lobes, some sawtoothed.

Twigs:
Mostly thorny, a few without.

Buds:
Round, red, usually look like mushrooms.

Fruit:
Small, apple-like fruit.

Seed:
Boney nutlet.

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d22cd22a d22dd22b

Hemlock

Leaf:
Evergreen, shortest needle, no petiole, shiney above, white bands below.

Cones:
Small, egg-shaped.

Seed:
Triangular with wings 2x as long.

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d23bd23a

Holly

Leaf:
Alternate, evergreen or deciduous, shiny, toothless or toothed.

Fruit:
Globe-shaped, berry-like, attached close to stem.

Seed:

White, large oval.

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d24a d24b d24c d24d

HoneyLocust

Leaf:
Alternate, double compound, small leaflets (smooth edges).

Twigs:
Could have large thorn (from trunk)

Buds:
Hidden

Fruit:
Flat, twisted, red-brown, 6-12″

Seed:
Shine, black, 1/4″

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 d25ad25

Hydrangea

Leaf:
Opposite (key), simple, heart-shaped in most cases.

Twigs:
Coarse with lenticils.

Buds:
Smooth, globe-shaped, large bud scale scars.

Flowers:
Terminal (usually large), rounded clusters.

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 d26a d26bd26c

Jasmine 

There are over two hundred varieties of this plant and they come in all types of descriptions. We will try to touch on a few.

Some are evergreen vine types to small shrubs.

The leaves come in several colors and forms, some being green leathery with small tublar flowers. While others are dark green and deeply cut leaves, and still others may be variegated with white and green, or look like silvery grey to grey in color in there leaves. The grey leafed variety usually have pink flowers.

The more evergreen vine varieties have small fine textured pinnate leaves which bear massed clusters of small showy deep pink buds that open to fragrant white flowers.

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  jasmine

Juniper 

Leaf:
Evergreen, small needle-like or scale-like, prickly to the hand.

Fruit:
Berry-like cone.

Seed:
Small, white, angled.
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 d27cd27b

Lilac

Leaf:
Opposite, simple, toothless.

Buds:
Large, oval, 4 pairs of scales.

Flowers:
Clusters, terminal.

Fruit:
Leathery capsule.

Seeds:
Winged.

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d28a d28bd28c

Magnolia

Leaf:
Alternate, mostly toothless, leathery, feather veined.

Buds:
(key I.D.) fuzzy, oval.

Fruit:
Twisted.

Seed:
Orange, round.
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d29a

Maple

Leaf:
Opposite, palmately lobed and veined.

Seeds:
Winged, key-like.
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d31cd31ad31b

Nandina

This evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub forms clumps and is leafless at the base. The leaves are odd bi- and tripinnately compound, and spirally arranged. Leaflets are entire, elliptic to 4 inches long, with short petioles. They show red fall color. Small, white flowers are 6 petaled, and borne in panicles. Fruits are ovate berries, red, in pendulous, showy clusters.

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nandina

Natal Plum (Carissa)

A dense, broad evergreen shrub. Simple, opposite leaves are leathery in texture and dark green. Stem has forked spines to 2 inches long. Leaves exude a milky sap. Flowers are solitary, terminal and star-shaped to 2 inches across. Flowers occur in spring and summer. The fruits of the natal plum are edible berries which are plum-shaped, red, and up to 2 inches long.

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natalplum

Oak

Leaf:
Deciduous or evergreen, shape varies!  Some are toothless!

Buds:
Oval to cone-shaped, 5 layers of numerous scales (best way to I.D.)

Nut:
Globe-shaped, cup-like cap can cover entire nut, some fringed.
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d32d

Pachysandra 

Leaf:
Evergreen, clustered at ends of stems, base of leaf toothless; groundcover.
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d33

Periwinkle

Leaf:
Margins entire, no teeth, central vein prominant. Creeping Euonymous always toothed.

Twigs:
Thin, green

Flower:
Blue, tubular.
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 d34ad34b

Photinia

An evergreen shrub or small tree, upright and freely branching. Simple alternate leaves are 2-3 inches long and elliptic ovate in shape. They are glossy green, leathery and pliable. The new growth is reddish. Flowers are white, 5-pleated, borne on short terminal panicles. Fruits are berry-like pomes, globose, red turning to black.

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photinia

Pine

Leaf:
Evergreen, long thin bundles (2-5), (all other evergreens come off singly).

Cones:
Cylinder to globe-shaped, hard scales (spruce have soft scales).

Seed:
Large nut-like, long thin wings.

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d35b

Pittosporum

Leaf:
Evergreen, alternate or whorled, simple, very thick, leathery, variegated leaf possible. Seed:
Smooth, reddish.
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d36b
d36c

Privet

Leaf:
Opposite, toothless, simple, oblong.

Twigs:
Prominent lenticils (like forsythia but not orange, more tan).

Fruit:
Black hard, in clusters, pyramidal.

Flowers: White 
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 d37ad37b

Redbud

Leaf:
Alternate heart-shaped (I.D. key), toothless, palmately veined

Buds:
Side buds, small, reddish

Fruit:
Pod, flat, short stalked, 3″ long, reddish-brown

Seed:
Smooth, brownish (1/4″)

Bark:
Reddish-brown
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d38a d38b d38c

Spiraea

Leaf:
Alternate, simple, longer than wide, sometimes lobed, some smooth, some teeth

Twigs:
Wirey, slender, reddish

Flowers:
Pink or white, flat-topped, clusters

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d39ad39b

Spruce

Leaf:
Evergreen, 4-angled, pointed, bumps left on twig when removed.

Twig:
Branchlets roughened by leaf bases (key I.D.).

Fruit:
Cone soft, thin scales (pine is hard).

Seed:
Large seed, thin wing.
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d40a d40b d40c

Sweetgum

Leaf:
Deciduous, alternate, palmately lobed (5-7), (pointed or round), looks like maple (maple has opposite buds)

Fruit:
Rounds, spiney, 1″ diameter

Seed:
Dark, winged

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Viburnum

Leaf:
Opposite, simple, variable, toothed, long, wide, etc.

Buds:
Pairs at each node (looks like bunny ears – key I.D.)

Fruit:
Berry-like in terminal clusters

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d43a d43b d43c d43d d43ed43f

Willow

Leaf:
Long, narrow, fine-toothed

Twigs:
Slender

Buds:
Always flattened to stem, one single scale covering
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Wisteria

This deciduous woody vine has alternate, odd-pinnately compound leaves. The leaflets have entire margins and are pubescent when young. Pea-like flowers are bluish-white, borne in long, pendant, terminal racemes. The fruits are flattened pods, to 6 inches long, and velvety textured. The large seeds are quite poisonous.

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wisteria

Yew

Leaf:
Evergreen, long, linear, flat, pale green, more yellowish under

Fruit:
Berry, red, round, cup-shaped, seed boney

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d45