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Identifying Trees of Michigan: E2332 Revised 2022

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May 23, 2022 - Author: , , , and , ; and Maureen Stine

Forests are a critical feature of Michigan’s landscape. Nearly 19 million acres, or 53% of the state’s land area, are covered in some kind of forest. They collectively contribute to many benefits: habitat for various types of wildlife, filter systems for air and water quality, places for recreation opportunities, and all kinds of wood products we use every day.

Michigan’s forests are diverse. More than 75 different native species of trees grow in the state, with many others that are planted from other parts of the country—and the world! Not all trees can be found in all locations, though, because different species prefer different sites and environments. The publication briefly describes 69 of the more common trees found in Michigan. Although this guide was written and designed for upper elementary audiences, it will help anyone with an interest in tree identification become better acquainted with some of the most important trees in the state. Illustrations, identification keys, and other descriptive information will help make identification easier when out in the forest, in a backyard, or along the road.

Trees identified in this bulletin:

  • Apple/crabapple
  • Ash: American mountain, Black, White
  • Aspen: Large-toothed, Trembling
  • Basswood: American
  • Beech: American
  • Birch: paper, river, yellow
  • Boxelder
  • Buckeye: Ohio
  • Butternut
  • Catalpa: northern
  • Cedar: eastern red, northern white
  • Cherry: choke, pin, wild black
  • Chestnut: American, horse
  • Cottonwood: eastern
  • Dogwood: flowering
  • Elm: American, rock, slippery
  • Fir: balsam
  • Hackberry
  • Hawthorn: common
  • Hemlock: eastern
  • Hickory: bitternut, shagbark
  • Hophornbeam: eastern
  • Juneberry/serviceberry
  • Kentucky coffeetree
  • Locust: black, honey
  • Maple: Norway, red, silver, striped, sugar
  • Mulberry: red
  • Musclewood/blue beech
  • Oak: black, bur, northern red, northern pin, swamp white, white
  • Osage orange
  • Pawpaw
  • Pine: eastern white, jack, red, Scotch
  • Poplar: balsam
  • Redbud: eastern
  • Sassafras
  • Spruce: black, Colorado blue, Norway, white
  • Sumac: staghorn
  • Sycamore: American
  • Tamarack
  • Tulip tree/yellow poplar
  • Walnut: black
  • Willow: black

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Tags: 4-h environmental & outdoor education, forestry, msu extension, natural resources


Authors

Darren Bagley

Darren Bagley
bagleyda@msu.edu

Julie Crick

Julie Crick
crickjul@msu.edu

Kathryn Fischer

Kathryn Fischer
fisch226@msu.edu

Georgia Peterson

Georgia Peterson
petersog@msu.edu

Laura Quist

Laura Quist
quistla1@msu.edu

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