Getting to Know Trees of the Piedmont

Welcome to the world of tree identification. There are many sources and methodologies, so do not be intimidated. As a beginner you don’t need to learn complicated terms, just familiarize yourself with each tree’s characteristics as a start. Here are twenty common native Virginia trees for you to begin with.

It is helpful to examine the whole tree, and then the individual parts – leaves, bark, branching, size and shape. Imagine you are asked to give a detailed description of a tree to someone who is unable to see it. Try to name as many details as possible – is the bark rough or smooth? Is the bark the same texture as your eyes travel up the trunk?

Trees can often be identified by a single characteristic – flowers, colorful foliage or distinct leaf shapes. Always remember to look up! Binoculars can be a big help. Check out the links below to a few downloadable tree guide books we highly recommend.

But most of all, Enjoy getting to know the amazing world of trees!


Tree Identification Guide

Thanks to Ellen Powell of the Virginia Department of Forestry for allowing us the use of the information in the Tree Identification Guide – Common Native Trees of Virginia.

Oak Field Guide

Field Guide of Native Oak Species of Eastern North America by J. Stein, D. Binion, and R. Acciavatti.

Thanks also goes to Virginia Tech Dept. of Dendrology for giving us access to their photo archive.

Click on the photo of the tree you would like to learn more about.

American Beech / Fagus grandifolia
White Oak / Quercus Alba
Flowering Dogwood / Cornus florida
Eastern Redbud / Cercis canadensis
American Elm / Ulmus americana
American Hornbeam / Carpinus caroliniana
Black Cherry / Prunus serotina
Black Locust / Robinia pseudoacacia
Black Walnut / Juglans nigra
Blackgum / Nyssa sylvatica
Common Persimmon / Diospyros virginiana
Mockernut Hickory/ Carya alba
Northern Red Oak/ Quercus Rubra
Pawpaw / Asimina triloba
Red Maple / Acer Rubrum
River Birch / Betula nigra
Sassafras / Sassafras albidum
Sweetgum / Liquidambar styraciflua
Sycamore / Platanus occidentalis
Tuliptree / Liriodendron Tulipifera