Winter tree identification key - Anchorage

Anchorage Alaska tree species: Winter Key to genus
(Native species taken from “Alaska Trees and Shrubs”*)

A. Winter buds covered by a single scale……….. Willow, Salix species

AA. Winter buds with two or more scales.

B. Winter buds usually resinous, sticky or glossy

   C. Winter buds 6 mm or less in length, glossy, slightly or not resinous, conelike….Quaking apsen, Populus tremuloides

     CC. Winter buds large and long, 10-25 mm, very resinous…..Balsam poplar (aka cottonwood), Populus balsamifera or black cottonwood, P. trichocarpa(Difference unknown in winter). 

BB. Winter buds not resinous or sticky.

D. Winter buds mostly stalked; old hard blackish cones or conelike fruits present……….Alder, Alnus sp.

EE. Winter buds not stalked, composed of overlapping scales.

F. Winter buds not cone like and lack hair, 6mm or less in length, bark papery….Paper birch, Betula papyrifera.

  FF. Winter buds conelike, usually large, greater than 8 mm in length……..

G. Winter buds swith rusty brown or white hairs.....Mt. Ash, Sorbus sp. 

  GG. Winter buds without hairs, cone like, largest bud generally 1 cm or more in length......Cherry, Prunus padus or P. virginiana.


* Viereck, Leslie A. and E. L. Little, Jr. 1972. Alaska Trees and Shrubs. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Agriculture handbook number 410.

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