Many conifers can be identified by the number and arrangement of needles or scales:
|CLUSTERS||Needles are attached to the branch in groups.
- Clusters of 5, 1-5 inch long needles = white pines
- Clusters of 2-4, 1-18 inch long needles = yellow pines
- Brush like clusters of 20 or more, up to 2 inch long needles = larches (no Georgia natives)
|SINGLE||Needles are attached to the twin signally.
- Single .5-1 inch long needles on sides of the branch = yews (no Georgia natives)
- Single up to 2 inch long needles all around the branch = spruces (no Georgia natives)
- Single up to 1 inch long needles on sides or all around the branch = hemlocks
- Single up to 3 inch long needles on top and sides of the branch = firs (no Georgia natives)
- Single up to 1 inch long needles on sides of the branch = redwoods and baldcypress
|SCALE-LIKE||Needles are small and scale-like.
- Overlapping scale-like needles = sequoias, cedars, junipers and cypress
- Non-overlapping scale-like needles = junipers
[Needle type][Leaf arrangment][Leaf type][Leaf shape][Leaf margin]
Example tree key
Last modified July 30, 1999