A dichotomous key is a tool that can be used to identify trees or flowers, animals, rocks, fish, and more. “Dichotomous” means “divided into two parts.” Therefore, a dichotomous key will always give two choices in each step, and following all the steps will lead you to the name of the tree you’re identifying.
LEAF’s Online Dichotomous Tree ID Key
LEAF’s Printable Summer Tree ID Key & Tree ID Terms (Part of the LEAF Field Enhancement 1, Tree Identification)
LEAF’s Printable Winter Tree ID Key (uses buds, twigs, and other features to identify Wisconsin trees)Tips for printing the Winter Tree Identification Key:
Urban Tree Key – (not dichotomous) Courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry
Kevin Hall’s High School Lab :
A high school lab that Biology teacher Kevin Hall created using the LEAF Online Dichotomous Tree Key.
LEAF Field Enhancement 1 – Tree Identification :
In this lesson, students learn to use a dichotomous key to identify Wisconsin trees with LEAF’s Summer Tree ID Key.
Tamarack/White PineWhite Birch/Red Oak Basswood/Black CherryShagbark Hickory/Box ElderBlack Spruce/Jack PineIronwood/Black OakRed Maple/Bur OakBlack Walnut/Red PineSilver Maple/Northern Pin OakElm Species/River BirchHackberry/Northern White CedarWillow Species/Eastern Red CedarEastern Hemlock/Sugar MapleBlack Ash/White OakWhite Ash/White SpruceBeech/Eastern CottonwoodGreen Ash/Balsam FirYellow Birch/Swamp White OakBlack Locust/Trembling AspenBig-Toothed Aspen/Mountain AshBalsam PoplarAll CardsKey for all cards
Print, cut out, and laminate these cards of common Wisconsin trees. Hang them on trees to be identified or use them in the classroom. They are helpful resources when leaves, fruit, or seeds are not present or are too high on a tree to be examined. Supplement to LEAF Unit 7-8, Field Enhancement 1, Tree Identification.