Recommendation for good Tree Identification books

Helena2013(7)August 14, 2013

Just bought a house with an established garden containing many trees and shrubs with which I am not familiar.

Can anyone recommend some good identification books (for both deciduous and evergreen trees) that have really good photos or drawings of the foliage characteristics?

For instance there is a large (approx 10') multi-stemmed shrub/small tree with large oval furry/felted and veined leaves, just coming into flower now in mid August. Terminal clusters of small white star-shaped flowers with yellow anthers. No fragrance. My first guess would be a viburnum but are there any viburnums that flower this late? or with fuzzy leaves??

I am also hopeless with conifers/evergreens and there are a LOT of those. :-/

Book suggestions please? Thanks! :-)

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

for trees .... all you need to do.. is post a few pix here.. or in the name that plant forum.. and you will get all the IDs you want or need ...

pics of leaf.. trunk ... and tree ... out to do it ..

if you insist on a book.. you might tell us where you are ...

you would do the same in the conifer forum.. if by evergreen you mean conifers...

and also the shrub forum if you mean evergreen shrubs ....

as you can see .... the word evergreen.. really isnt very specific at all ..


    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:11AM
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I am in zone 7 (tri-state area of NY/NJ/CT).

I will take a few photos when I go there later today. I wouldn't dream of posting pics of every tree/shrub that I don't recognize; that would be unfair, I think.

I still would like a book to use for future reference, if you can recommend any. At heart I am a "books person" and like to be able to carry one with me for an on the spot comparison (I do not have a smartphone, nor wireless at the house, nor do I plan to get either).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:47PM
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The good thing about trees is that they don't change so even old books are good:

Trees of New York Field Guide (Field Guides) by Stan Tekiela

A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs: Northeastern and north-central United States and southeastern and south-centralCanada (Peterson Field Guides)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Hi Helena,
If this is your plant it is Clerodendrum trichotomum
fragrant flowers, malodorous foliage.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Malodorus?? Foliage smells like peanut butter and the tree often goes by the common name of peanut butter tree in addition to harlequin glorybower (and who knows where THAT came from!!).

I've never found a single printed tree resource that was the least bit complete. Dirr's Manual of Woody Plants comes close but unwieldy and outdated. I do like Phillips and Rix Trees of North America, but again, not very complete. Sternberg's Native Trees for NA is just that - natives only ( I miss Guy - anyone heard from him recently?)

I would not think twice about posting on the Name That Plant forum. There are many who are daily posters asking what plant is what and the regulars - like esh above - consider it an exciting and fun challenge to be prompt to respond. Sometimes amazingly prompt!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Hi sam and gardengategal,

I just posted a photo here:

and will post a couple more as well; thanks so much for the encouragement. :-)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:19PM
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I have many books on trees but the best one by far is the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. Kershner, Mathews, Nelson & Spellenberg. The price is great too, just $19.95. I absolutely love this book! You will not be disappointed.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 3:01AM
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I see you have had it identified on the other forum. Definitely viburnum. I don't know if this book is available in your local stores, but the Sunset Western Garden Book is an invaluable asset. It is intended for the Rocky Mountains and west, but the plant descriptions and photos are really great and with it's detailed climate zone descriptions, you could find something that would parallel your own climate. The book is available on Amazon if not in your local book stores.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:42PM
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