Trees with 'alternate' branching
at River Bend Nature Center

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or scan down for specific trees

A simple leaf is single leaf blade

A compound leaf is multiple leaflets attached along a stem

Alternate branching with compound leaves

Hickory (genus Carya)


Hickories have alternate compound leaves. The leaflets grow larger from top to bottom along the leaf stem (petiole). The bark of the bitternut hickory resembles elephant skin. A few shagbarks can be found as well.
Hickory Trunk


Butternut (Juglans cinerea )
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Black Walnut

Butternuts and walnuts both have long, compound leaves with 11 or more leaflets. Butternuts are more common in River Bend, but most are infected with a bark fungus and are dying.

Butternut Trunk

click to enlarge

Alternate branching with simple, lobed (fingered) leaves

Oak (genus Quercus )

Oaks are generally split into 2 categories:
red oaks (pointed leaves) and white oaks (rounded leaves).

White oak leaves

White Oak

Red oak leaves

Red Oak

Alternate branching with simple unlobed leaves

Eastern Cottonwood
(Poplus deltoides)

Eastern Cottonwood


Quaking Aspen
(Populus tremuloides

Quaking Aspen

Birch (genus Betula)


American Basswood
(Tilea americana)

American Basswood

Elm (genus Ulmus)


Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)


Eastern Hophornbeam
aka Ironwood
(Ostrya virginiana)

Eastern Hophornbeam

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black Cherry

Willows (genus Salix)


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