I have to admit, I am fairly useless at identifying trees. I can manage with the normal ones (loosely).. I can recognise an oak tree, for example, which is fairly easy… but while out and about on our nature walks, I started to feel quite inadequate in my tree identification skills… there are so many different trees!
So we did a search and found the Tree ID – British Trees app by the Woodland Trust, and I really love this app!
What I really liked is the ‘Identify trees by feature’. It is a great tool to help take us through a journey of identification, starting off by selecting all the different features you have found from the same tree – leaf or needle, leaf bud, flower, fruit, bark, twig/branch – to really hone in on the species you are looking for. I like that you can add more than one identifying feature, and that really helps with our observation skills and paying attention to all the details.
For our first tree identification, I decided to keep it simple with Addie, who is 5 and an emerging reader, and we just looked at leaves to help us identify the tree in front of us. Like me, Addie recognised it was probably an oak tree, but it looked a little different to normal oak trees.
The first thing I really liked is that the app really enhances our Montessori leaf cabinet work. I am not sure why I am suprised, but it was lovely to see the names of the simple leaf shapes we have been learning as part of the identification process. This is a great extension of that activity for us, and now Addie is a bit older, she can start pulling all this information together.
We decided that actually, the leaves were lobed, and then it asked us to identify what the leaf margin looked like. This is a new area of identification for us, and something we can follow up once we revisit leaf work later in the year. The app asked us if the margins were serrated or lobed. Again, we chose lobed.
Our leaf was dull. Ish. Well, shiny in some lights, but we selected dull. (At this point we really could have skipped the other stages because it was already showing the 3 possibilities we ended up with, but we carried on to see how the app worked.)
Last came the colour selection. Addie noted that while some of the leaves had brown on them, they were mainly green.
This left us with 3 species of oak tree – the English oak, Turkish oak and Red oak (not sure why that came up as an option). We knew it wasn’t a normal oak, so we actually tapped on the Turkish oak option, and we then found lots of information about the Turkish oak, and also a close up of the leaves. I think we definitely found the right one. Addie agreed.
What do you think? I am going to ask the land owners to confirm for us, so I will let you know!
Verdict: We give this app 4.5 stars! I love the way we can link it in to our Montessori botany studies and how it encourages using technology in nature. The two work hand-n-hand really well with this app!
What tools do you use to help identify trees in the UK? Have you used this app? Let us know how you got on with it in the comments!