Just wondering if anyone can point me to a basic guide for identifying trees from their appearance and leaves? We like to go to woods for family walks and I'm embarrassed at not being able to answer when the kids ask "Dad, what tree is that?".
I've looked online and can't find anything suitable - I really want a small leaflet (preferably free!) describing the main trees in Ireland. The only thing I can find is 'Our trees' via http://www.treecouncil.ie/publications.html' but it seems to be a large book!
Try this as a starting point
You should be able to get a pocket guide to trees in most large bookshops, I got one in Hodges Figgis in Dublin a few years back for €12. It helps you identify trees by their flowers, leaves, bark and so on. It covers most European trees so you get the native Irish ones plus ornamental ones. They had a few different books so you should be able to find something. Not quite free but not far off!
The Collins Gem Guide is a great little book. I had a slightly better one years ago, but it seems to be out of print.
All should have the following illustrations:
- the tree's silhouette in summer and winter
- twigs and buds in winter
- fruits and seeds
I can identify most trees from silhouette at a few hundred metres. They're all very distinctive once you spot the characteristics. An annual ritual of mine is to walk under some nice trees in the countryside in late October, gather some seeds and then pot them up. Great way to while away an afternoon in peace and quiet and a nice little project to set up for yourself for the following year.
Being a forestry student in UCD I have mountains of books on trees, including a pile of tree identification guides. I find A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe, by Alan Mitchell the best. It contains every tree you are likley to see anwwhere in the british isles. From Acer pseudoplatanus to Xanthorrhorea johnsonii.(sorry,i could not think of one that started with z)