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Extension Forestry

Identification of Common Trees of Iowa

An Interactive Key

This interactive key was developed to help identify the most common trees in Iowa. The key is based on vegetative characteristics such as leaves, fruits, and bark. It is not a complete key. It does not include all trees grown in Iowa.

The proper use of the key may be compared to the use of road signs where a choice of two directions must be made at each intersection. One must always chose the best route which matches the characteristics of the tree. If at the end, the solution does not match the specimen, one can usually identify a point in the process where the choice of direction was in doubt. Many times the steps can be retraced to this point and the sample can be identified.

ISU Forestry Extension - ISU Extension

Acknowledgements: Some of the pictures on these web pages are from Conservation Trees and Shrubs Pocket Guide, United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.

Paul Wray, Department of Natural Resource and Ecology and Management, Mark Vitosh, District Forester, Iowa DNR, and Jeff Iles from the Horticulture Department provided the content for these web pages. Tom Quinn was the programmer/designer.

Contact: Paul Wray, ISU Extension Forester
Last Update: August, 2004