These fantastic plants are woody and perennial typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground.

Trees are therefore large vascular plants with a complex phloem and xlem within their bark – a vital part of the tree structure.  They can be angiosperms with their seeds enclosed in a fruit such as an apple. However, we must not forget the gymnosperms, which have seeds which you can actually see so they are called ‘naked’ such as the conifers.

Tree in Epping Forest

Trees and shrubs make up most of the canopy cover within our woods and forests.  They have a series of distinctive features which helps us to produce timber crops through forestry, enjoy their use for management as shelter, shade providers and soil binding agents and by their sheer size are perhaps more accessible to botanical recorders.   Their distinctive outline shapes, bark patterns, leaf outlines and shapes and fruits enable the field naturalist to make a start on identification.  It is not always easy though – so be prepared for some surprises.  Our tree tutors may specialise in conifers, winter identification or the glory of the large ‘big country’ trees with their impressive trunks and magnificent spread.

FSC run regular Tree Identification Courses throughout the year. For details of these courses, and to learn more about tree identification, click the link above to view our courses. Most of the FSC Tree Courses involve a strong emphasis on identification skills, starting with general principles and moving on to more detailed tree identification

Identification Resources

FSC Tree Name Trail features the common broad leaved and conifer trees found in Great Britain and Ireland. The Tree Name Trail was produced in partnership with the Forestry Commission.