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Tree Identification

Resource
To become an expert tree-identifier takes lots of practice looking at the trees outdoors. Learn the methods of identification and the characteristics of trees that will advise you.
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Anyone Can Learn Tree Identification

Identifying trees is a lot like identifying people. It is easy to recognize a good friend even if you only catch a glimpse.

When you meet new people, it takes practice to remember their names and what they look like without effort. It is the same with trees.

Once you learn who a tree is and what features make them each unique, they will become familiar - like a good friend.  

Here some of those features, characteristics, and traits we look for to help identify a tree:

  • Leaves
  • Bark
  • Fruit (and sometimes flowers or catkins)
  • Twigs and buds
  • Shape or form of the tree

This webinar introduces viewers to the skills needed to identify trees and highlights over 15 of the most common trees in Portland.

Examples of the many parts of a tree that are used for identification.

Resource Worksheet

Learning tree identification means learning lots of new words. Start your tree training by reading through new terms and what they mean.

Find more tree-vocabulary definitions online.

Refer to this worksheet as you watch the Tree Identification for Portlanders webinar for new vocabulary definitions and visual aids.

After you have finished watching, use the last page of the worksheet to explore Portland's urban forest. Discover new trees near you, and open the Tree Inventory Project webmap on your smartphone to check the identification of most street and park trees!

Download Worksheet


Watch Online

3/16/21 Recording of "Tree Identification for Portlanders" webinar by PP&R Urban Forestry.

Tree Inventory Project

Urban Forestry staff member shows volunteer how to identify a dogwood by pulling leaf apart to reveal threads of latex holding it together

Portland's Tree Inventory Project is the City’s effort to map, measure, and identify public trees across Portland. Since 2010, PP&R has partnered with communities to catalog nearly 250,000 trees along our streets and in parks! Information and tools from this project help residents better understand the urban forest, and plan for a resilient future. 

The Tree Inventory Project is currently on hiatus, and is set to return in summer 2022.


Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry's mission is to manage and ensure Portland's urban forest infrastructure for current and future generations. Portland’s urban forest consists of 236,000 street trees, 1.2 million park trees, and innumerable private property trees.

Urban Forestry is involved in managing or regulating all of these trees to differing degrees. Urban Forestry staff issue permits for planting, pruning, and removal of all public and some private trees and are on call 24/7 to respond to tree emergencies.

For more information on Urban Forestry at portland.gov/trees.