Identifying trees by leaf shape

Bushcraft has a strong and tangible link to natural history.  For our hunter gatherer ancestors, the forest was the supermarket, the chemist, DIY shop, tailors, it was all out there.

I often suggest to our customers that trees are a good place to start with natural history as it’s a managable number.  And that identifying trees by their leaves is probaly a good starting point.  So I’ve put together this guide to identifying trees by leaf shape.  You’ll still have some work to do, but this should narrow things down for you.  I hope you find it useful.

Simple – A leaf that has one leaf on one leaf stalk

Compound – A leaf that has two or more leaflets on the same leaf stalk

Serrated – The leaf margin is like a saw blade

Lobed – A leaf with either pointed or rounded protrusions

Pinnate – Leaflets arranged on either side of a leaf stalk

Palmate – Leaflets grow from the same point and look like a spread hand

identifying trees by leaf shape | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London


identifying trees by leaf shape | bushcraft | Kent | south east | London

We teach identifying trees by leaf shape on our 2 Day & 5 Day Bushcraft Courses as well as the IOL Bushcraft Competency Course.

You can see plenty of photos from all of these courses on our Facebook page.

About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.