Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Identification keys

Identification keys are useful for identifying trees. They are usually constructed in paired statements or questions, of equal importance or opposed, forcing logical deduction, thus orienting following questions. This type of keys is called dichotomous.

For example, in the simplified key offered here, we can identify, based on their leaves, 26 trees found in Quebec's urban regions. The first distinction: is the tree a conifer (which bears needles or scales) or a hardwood (which bears leaves)? If it is a conifer, does it bear needles or scales? If it is a hardwood, are its leaves simple or compound? And so on, until we find the tree's genus.

Have fun testing the key, using the different photos of leaves.

Identification keys

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