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Winter Tree ID

Posted on Nov 2, 2014

As autumn is winding down in Western New York, more leaves are on the ground rather than on the twigs of the trees from which they came. With no leaves, tree identification throughout the late fall and winter can be rather challenging. However, paying close attention to a tree’s bark can help identify it, as each species has its own unique bark as they do leaves. Take the tree pictured here for example. It has flaky, reddish bark in places making it look somewhat similar to a Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). But, there are several flat pieces with horizontal lines going across them as well, looking like a young birch species. So what is this tree? Any guesses? I’ll give you a hint: when a twig is broken or stripped it exudes a wintergreen odor. It is a Black (or sweet) Birch (Betula lenta). This fall and upcoming winter, while you are out enjoying the beautiful area, take a look at the bark of the trees around you and test your winter tree ID!

Mystery BarkElyse Henshaw
Conservation Technician