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Get to Know Your Neighborhood Trees

Hone your tree identification skills!

From the latest Trees for Seattle newsletter: June is a great time to practice identifying trees. Leaves have emerged and many species are flowering, providing lots of clues to help you solve each tree ID puzzle. Below is a list of tree identification resources for all experience levels, from casual tree-lover to seasoned botanist. Don’t forget your face mask and to respect social distancing while out and about getting to know your leafy neighbors!  

  • Seattle Tree Walks: new mobile App will take you on an informative tour of trees in your neighborhood. Choose from over 15 Tree Walks across the city! 
  • What Tree Is That?: The Arbor Day Foundation’s step-by-step guide to help you identify a tree. Also includes a glossary of terms and other helpful information. 
  • PictureThis:  Take a photo of an unknown tree, and this smartphone App will quickly and accurately generate a list of likely species. 
  • Seattle Street Tree Map:  Produced by the Seattle Dept. Of Transportation, this map contains over 40,000 trees located along streets throughout the city. 
  • UW Botanic Gardens:  An extensive collection of plant ID resources. 
  • Book: Trees of Seattle: Written by local expert Arthur Lee Jacobson, the ultimate anthology of Seattle’s trees, including where to find the best specimens around the city.
  • The Gymnosperm Database: A comprehensive “clearing house” for all topics relating to conifers, including species descriptions and a wealth of natural history background. 
  • Virginia Tech Dendrology: A great resource for Seattle’s urban trees despite being based in Virginia. Contains helpful photos and descriptions to check your work and confirm an ID. 
  • Guide to New Haven’s Trees: Another resource borrowed from the east coast, a majority of these species are also very common in Seattle. 
empress tree
This empress tree (also known as foxglove tree, princess tree, or Paulownia tomentosa) can be tricky to identify except in early spring, when it is covered in pale purple flowers.