Roger Tory Peterson

(flowers, fruits, silhouettes)

Second Edition

Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute


Copyright © 1958 by George A. Petrides Copyright © renewed 1986 by George A. Petrides and Roger Tory Peterson Copyright© 1972 by George A+ Petrides

All rights reserved.

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003

PETERSON FIELD GUIDES and PETERSON FIELD GUIDE SERIES are registered trademarks of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Library of Congress < atalog Card Number: 76-157132

ISBN 0-395-13651-2 ISBN 0-395-35370-X (pbk.)

Printed in the United States of America KPT 33 32



Editor's Note

A Field Guide to the Birds, the first book in the Peterson Field Guide Series, was published in 1934 and the principle on which it was founded — a schematic approach pointing out the visual or field differences between species — proved a sound one. Checklist or phylogenetic order was often subordinated to an artificial but more practical arrangement of the figures on the plates. For example, the chimney swift was placed with the swallows and the Philadelphia vireo and ruby-crowned kinglet were compared with the confusing fall warblers.

It was inevitable that a field guide to trees, shrubs, and woody vines should follow. In fact, as far back as 194! I had planned to do such a book and had actually started on it when 1 learned that George Pet rides was deep in the identical project. Upon examining his work I concluded that his version adhered to the basic principles of the Field Guide system even more than mine, so I turned to other projects, offering him bits of supplementary material — tree silhouettes, drawings of fruits and flowers, etc, — that would have gone into my own book. He had based his approach mostly on leaf, twig, and bud characters.

Dr. Pet rides, a veteran field naturalist with a record of teaching and research, first in the National Park Service and U.S. Wildlife Service and now at Michigan State University, had long felt the need of an approach to plant recognition that his students in ecology and game management would understand. It is well enough to be tutored in basic plant taxonomy, but more often than not the student even after considerable training is still confused when confronted by many problems of identification.

This Field Guide in a sense is a pictorial key using obvious similarities and differences of form and structure by which the beginner can quickly run down his tree, shrub, or vine. True, some botanists may raise their eyebrows because the plants are not in the traditional order of their relationships, but there are many formal botanies so arranged; it would have been pointless to produce another. This guide is a shortcut, Actually the student will learn the relationships too (even if indirectly), for a key in the appendixes makes these quite clear.

I he leaf and twig plates are the ingenious and painstaking labor of Dr. Pet rides, while the other figures (silhouettes, draw-

vn ings on legend pages, etc,) arc mine. To Devereux Butcher I express thanks for his offer of the use of his photographs of trees, several of which were used as reference material in the silhouette section. I only wish that shortage of space had not prohibited a similar section of drawings of the hark of trees. Had this been included, some of the keys would have had to go, These, particularly the winter keys, were deemed indispensable to the usefulness of the book.

This, the first extensive revision in fourteen years, brings numerous refinements to a Field Guide that has already been used by more than 250,(XX) students, botanists, and amateur naturalists. The plates have been reorganized so as to bear a more convenient relation to the updated text, facilitating quick reference.

In the ecology-oriented years ahead, use this handy book to inform yourself about the green mantle of plants that clothe our "small blue planet/' the only home we Ve got.

Kogek Tory Peterson


There is growing concern that man is destroying the environment on which he depends for his prosperity and even for Ins survival. This is not the place to review the many ways in which not only industrialized but also developing societies are degrading or destroying their necessities of life. However, many of modem mans ills are related to his destruction of plants, The human animal, like all others, is totally dependent on green plants, since these convert inorganic chemicals into organic foods and also help to maintain essential atmospheric gases in a healthful balance, In any area the presence or absence of certain plant species or their tendencies to increase or decrease may provide indications of the erosion, over-exploitation, or pollution in that particular spot. In addition to their serving as indicators of environmental quality, trees and shrubs also have immensely important aesthetic and monetary roles because of their beauty. If there is any doubt that ecology and economics are interlinked, one can consult a forester, a soils scientist, watershed biologist, wildlife ecologist, fisheries limnologist, or hydrologist. Simpler yet, though, he can ask any real estate broker— or any urban dweller whose separation from the soil has induced a lowered morale.

Learning to know plants, in at least some respects, is like collecting stamps. 1 can well remember that as a youngster I had no particular interest in acquiring, say, the 1915-18 issues from

Afghanistan until somehow 1 had managed to accumulate about half of them. Then I could not wait to fill in the gaps of the series. In a similar way, one who knows four or five hickories is stimulated to find and identify the others in his locality or even farther afield* Unlike the first few stamps, which can be purchased from a dealer, the first few hickories (or other trees) must be acquired through some real effort on the part of the collector. Rut with each plant learned the next becomes easier, and soon the enjoyment of wanderings and travels is vastly enhanced by an interest in looking out or new collector's items and the companion plants and habitats with which they are associated.

This second edition offers a reorganized format, making the Field Guide easier to use. Many minor improvements that gradually accumulated during the eleven printings of the first edition have all been incorporated here, along with numerous alterations


and clarifications, A new key to the hickories has been inserted and one species of ash lias been added.

The visual plan that illustrates the features of the five plant groups is now placed more prominently in the front of the book. The reader at a glance can see how the book is laid out.

The plate illustrations have been relocated so that each of the five text Sections is followed by its associated plates, on which there are color triangles in the upper right-hand corners to divide even the closed volume into its five easily found portions. Running heads throughout the book now incorporate the Section number to further facilitate use of the book.

Persons wishing to identify unknown plants often are baffled by botanical manuals and sometimes even by books designed as popular guides. Several obstacles to identification commonly arc encountered. First, the technical language used is so involved that it dampens enthusiasm, We shall return to this point later.

Second, a 14popular" book may not include all species and one is left in doubt as to whether or not bis specimen really is the one the book seems to indicate it to be. Third, if one has a book on trees alone or only on shrubs, what is done with a ten-foot woody plant of unknown identity? If it is a young tree then a shrub guide is of no assistance, and if it is a shrub species a tree guide cannot be used, Yet often before one can decide definitely whether it is a tree or a shrub the plant's identity must be known, and so neither book is needed. Fourth, in some books final identification depends on floral characteristics, and the specimen at hand may lack flowers. Or if leaf characteristics are given, then the identification of winter sjieciniens may not be provided for.

It is hoped that this Field Guide avoids these obstacles (1) by limiting the use of technical terms, as discussed later, (2) by including all wild woody species in the area covered, (3) by treating trees and shrubs as well as woody vines iu the same volume, and (4) by stressing characteristics of twigs and leaves which are present the year round.

The book essentially is a diagrammatical!y illustrated field key with accompanying text descriptions. It does not provide technical botanical descriptions of either vegetation or flowers. Such treatments are available elsewhere. This volume for the most part describes characteristics essential to the identification of unknown plants in both summer and winter conditions, plus some secondary characteristics considered desirable to confirm identification.

The area treated is the northeastern and north-central United States and southeastern and south-central Canada* It extends in the north from Newfoundland and islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence along the 49th parallel to northwestern Minnesota, On the west it follows the western boundaries of Minnesota and Iowa and thence along the 96th meridian to include eastern \ebraska AWi I Kansas. To the smith the bonier is the southern boundaries of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and eastern Kansas, Eastward it is limited by the Atlantic Coast.

Within this area all native trees, shrubs, and vines whose stems are woody, as well as those of foreign origin which regularly survive and reproduce successfully there, are considered,0 The only exceptions are the brambles (Rubu*, Rosa)> and the hawthorns

(Crataegus), whose many species and hybrids are not always identifiable even by specialists. Examples from these groups, however, are discussed. Botanical varieties and forms beneath the rank of species are not considered unless they differ from the typical species to such an extent that they may create confusion in identification, here are 64fi species in 186 genera discussed, including 17 in the above three genera. In addition, important varieties are identified; seven are sufficiently distinct to be given separate accounts,

Beyond the described area, this manual still should be useful in identifying species that are distributed more widely. The extent to which each species ranges throughout North America (north of Mexico) is given.

The area, the scientific names used, and the woody species considered are the same as in Gray s Manual of Botany, 8th ed,, by Merritt Lyndon Fernald (New York; American Book Company, 1950). Although Fernald is a standard technical reference for the area, not all botanists agree with his treatment of some plant groups, ¡ here might have been some advantages in adopting the analyses of special groups by other authorities, but it was felt that the disadvantages in possibly confusing the average reader with a battery of synonymous scientific and common names outweighed any benefits. Where technical data beyond those necessary for ordinary field identification are desired, it is thus possible to make direct use of Fernald s manual by merely looking up the scientific names used here,

With further regard to terminology, the following description is a concocted one hut is not unbelievably extrente: "Stolouiferous shrub; leaves subcoriaceous, cuneate-ovate to lanceolate, denticulate, glabrescent; twigs terete, glaucous; buds glabrous or glutinous, divaricate, acuminate; inflorescence a thyrse-like panicle, pubescent during anthesis; flowers polygamodioecious, 9-merous," etc. It is sometimes claimed that anyone seriously

4 Some partly woody plants ot general interest are included, but such largely herbaceous plants as canes (Armu/nmwi), Buckwheat-vine (Brcin-nichia\ Salt-wort {Sa/fcornui), False-spirea (Samaria), Kudzu-vine (Pwer-aria), Hue (Ruta)t Pachysandra (Pacnysandra), prickly-pears (Opiinfto), Diapensia iDiapetma), Pyxie-ntoss (Pyxidanthera\ periwinkles (Vim a), Climbing-dogbane (Trochelo$peimum\ Gutierrezia (Gutierrezia), ana wormwoods (Arteme-sia) are omitted, The yuccas {Yucca) technically have woody stems, but there is no erect or visible trunk or branches; the nonfloweriiitt parts of the plants are completely covered by long bayonet-shaped leaves.

interested in the subject will be willing to learn such terminology. And it is true that certain terms are necessary to prevent unduly long descriptions, but this is not so for others, '['here seems little point to describing a leaf shape as "cordate/* for instance, when a botanical glossary defines the word as merely meaning heart-shaped. One might as well say heart-shaped from the beginning. Similarly, "stoloniferous" means with runners, "coriaceous" is leathery, "cuneate" means wedge-shaped, "ovate" is egg-shaped, "lanceolate" means lance-shaped, "denticulate is with fine teeth, and so on. Many botanical terms can be translated easily into plain English with no loss in accuracy. This book uses a simplified terminology, trusting that new interests in plant identification will be encouraged thereby. Where one attempts to avoid technical language, however, the danger o! oversimplification and loss of accuracy arises. It is hoped that a satisfactory compromise has been made on this point.

It was while I was serving as a naturalist with the National Park Service that the need for a recognition volume on trees and shrubs first became apparent to me, a volume planned in the schematic tradition of the Peterson I^ield Guide Series. Even before that, the late Professor W. C, Muenscher had stimulated my interest through his fine course in w oody plants at Cornell University- His Keys to Woody Plants (Ithaca, New York, 1950) still is exceptionally good.

I wish to express my most sincere appreciation to Dr. George W. Parmelee, Curator of W oody Plants, Michigan State University, for his painstaking review of tins work and for his many excellent suggestions. Very considerable help was given by Dr. Roger Tory Peterson, who contributed much to the book as editor of text and artwork and supplied the tree silhouettes as well as the drawings of flowers and fruits that appear on the legend pages. Miss Helen Phillips of Houghton MifHin Company has devoted many hours to careful crosschecking and editing; she lias worked on both editions and I am most appreciative of her generous help, I am grateful also to Drs. John Cantlon, Carleton Ball, Leslie Gysel, and Anton de Vos, who each contributed several helpful ideas. My thanks are due to the authorities in charge of the herbaria at the Smithsonian Institution, University of Georgia, University of California, Ohio State University, >xas A & M CCollege, and Michigan State University who made their facilities available. Mrs. E. Musser assisted with lettering originally planned for the book. My mother encouraged my efforts, and my wife Miriam also devoted many hours of assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.

George A, Petrides


Editor's Note vii

Preface ix

Illustrated Plan of the Five Main Sections xvi

Flow to Use This Book xix

Tree Silhouettes I

Section I. Plants with Needlelike or Scalelike Leaves;

Mostly Evergreens 15

Conifers with Needles in Clusters: Pines 16

Larches 20

Conifers with Flat Needles 20

Conifers with 4-sided Needles; Spruces 23

Conifers with Scalelike or 3-sided Leaves 24

Needle-bearing, Non-Cone-bearing Evergreens 27

Plates 32

Section II. Broad-leaved Plants with Opposite Compound

Leaves 46

Vines with Opposite Compound Leaves 47

Plants wit!) Opposite Compound Leaves 48 Trees with Opposite Feather-compound Leaves: Ashes,

Ashleaf Maple, and Corktree 49

Trees with Opposite Fan-compound Leaves: Buckeyes 52

Pta tes 55

Section III, Broad-leaved Plants with Opposite Simple

Leaves 66 Low Creeping and Trailing Shrubs (and American

Mistletoe) 67 Vines with Opposite Simple i .eaves (includes climbing honeysuckles) 69

Honeysuckles: Erect Shrubs 72

Dogwoods 75

Miscellaneous Plants with Opposite Leaves Not Toothed 78

Plants with Opposite or Whorled Heart-shaped Leaves

That Are Not Toothed 84

Miscellaneous Shrubs with Opposite Toothed Leaves 86

Viburnums 90

Maples 95

Plates 99

Section IV. Broad-leaved Plants with Alternate Compound Leaves 122 Prickly Brambles 123 Erect Thorny Trees and Shrubs 126 Thornless Trifoliates 130 Sumacs 133 Walnuts and Similar Trees 135 Hickories 138

Miscellaneous Species with Alternate Once-compound

Leaves 142

Thornless Plants with Leaves Twice-compound 146

Section V. Broad-leaved Plants with Alternate Simple

Leaves 168

Low Creeping or Trailing Shrubs 174

Greenbriers 181

Grapes (and Am pel ops is and Boston Ivy) 184

Moooseeds 188

Miscellaneous Vines Climbing without Tendrils 189

Miscellaneous Upright Thorny Plants 191

Hawthorns 197

Thornv Currant and Gooseberries 198

Thornless Currants 201

Miscellaneous Plants with Fan-lobed Leaves 203

Plants with Leaves Fan-lobed or Fan-veined 206

Poplars 2)0

Oaks 213

Magnolias 223

Elms and Water-elm 224

Iron wood. Hornbeam, Hazelnuts, and Alders 227

Birches 231

Cherries and Thornless Plums 235

Juneberries 240

Willows 246

Miscellaneous Plants with 3 Bundle Scars 261

Miscellaneous Plants with 3 (or more) Bundle Scars 269

Spire as 272

Hollies 274

Blueberries 277

Huckleberries, Bilberries, and Relatives 279

Azaleas 283

Evergreen Heaths 286

Nonevergreen Heaths with Toothed Leaves 289

Miscellaneous Plants with 1 Bundle Scar 290

Plates 297


A. Winter Key to Plants with Opposite Leaf Scars 375

B. Winter Key to Plants with Alternate Leaf Scars 378

C. Key to Trees in Leafy Condition 390

D. Key to Trees in Leafless Condition 395

E. Plant Relationships 401

F. The Meaning of Botanical Terms 405

G. Table for Converting Inches to Millimeters 410

Index 411

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