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A SIMPLE GUIDE TO TREES

Updated on January 14, 2017

Expect in the coldest and driest places trees grow almost everywhere on earth. There is no denying their importance in nature as they provide food and shelter for an immense number of birds and animals.

This article will help you to recognize some of the more common trees from their leaves fruits and flowers.

When a tree is growing in a park or a hedge-row its shape is a useful guide, but trees growing close together rarely get a chance to develop their full shape. Trees can be studied throughout the year even in winters when many of them lose their leaves. With a little practice you can learn to recognize most species from their bark as nature has provided each kind with its own distinctive bark pattern. Fruits, flowers and seeds equally help in studying the trees.

Let’s quickly run through the parts of a tree:

Roots are the organ of a plant that is typically found in the top three feet of the soil. The roots anchor the tree in the ground keeping it straight and stable; there are tiny hairs on the root which absorbs water and minerals in the soil and use them to produce what they need for the tree's growth and development.

Bark is the dead rough and cracked outer part of the tree that protects the living trunk beneath called the cambium. The cambium is the only part of the tree trunk that has living, growing cells. The bark of the tree helps keep out moisture in the rain and prevents the tree from losing moisture when the air is dry. A tree can survive if some of its bark is stripped away. But if too much is removed, the tree will die.

Trunk/Stem is the pillar of the tree, it is the strength of the tree responsible for giving it the shape it acquires and it supports the crown. The function of the trunk is just like that of the human body. The trunk contains layers of tissues and has a network of tubes responsible for transporting water and minerals from the roots to the leaves and then carries sugar down from the leaves to the branches, trunk and roots. This sugar is used in the plants metabolism, it is the trees food.

Crown says it all. It is the head of the tree and consists of leaves and branches. It is called the crown for another reason because it plays an important role in keeping the environment clean by filtering dust and other particles from the air.

Branch is a part of a tree that grows out of its trunk with leaves, flowers, or fruit growing on it. A branch contains many tiny tubes which carry minerals and water to the leaves and food away from them.

Bud is an undeveloped plant shoot that contains the next season's leaves in some cases the flowers as well.

Leaves are where the tree makes it food by the process of photosynthesis (formation of carbohydrates by chlorophyll containing plants exposed to sunlight). There are two broad classifications of leaves; Simple and Compound. Simple leaf has only a single leaf blade on its stalk A Compound leaf has more than one leaf blade on it. The leaflets maybe in two rows or they may fan out from one point. A typical leaf has a flat blade with one main vein called the mid-rib, with a number of smaller veins branching from it. The veins carry water and minerals to the leaves and take food away to the other parts of the tree.

Flowers are extremely important; they produce seeds from which new plants grow. The insects come to feed on the nectar attracted by the flower’s bright colors and the sweet scent. In this way they carry pollen from flower to flower starting the process of pollination. The pollen helps the flower to make seeds that are enclosed in fruits.

Fruits are the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food. Animals especially birds eat and help in scattering the seeds which increases the chance of trees growth and survival.

Trees are divided into two categories namely deciduous and coniferous.

Deciduous trees can be found around the world. Oak, Maple, and Hickory trees are common examples of deciduous trees. Deciduous trees have broad shaped leaves, which fall during autumn and re-grow in the spring.

Coniferous most conifers are shaped like a triangle because the main trunk keeps growing up instead of out. The leaves can be long, pointy needles, or small, flat scales. Three major groups of conifers are firs, spruces and pines; their needles can easily identify them. These trees are also known as evergreen trees because the leaves of these trees remain green throughout the year with new leaves constantly replacing old ones. Its thick leathery leaves can withstand cold winter wind many evergreen trees have tightly wrapped leaves or needles that do not dry out.

Trees are indispensable they have furnished us with two of life's essentials, food and oxygen. They clean the air for us; provide us with the materials for tools and shelter. Protecting the world’s forests should be our very first priority. By protecting trees, we also save all the animals they shelter.

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