Using a Dichotomous Key
1. Field guides often use dichotomous keys to help you identify organisms. Use the dichotomous key shown here to identify the tree leaves below. Begin with the paired descriptions 1a and 1b, and follow the directions. Proceed through the list of paired descriptions until you identify the leaf in question. In your lab report, write the names of the leaves as you identify them.
Dichotomous Key for Identifying Common Leaves
1a. If the edge of the leaf has no teeth and has no lobes, go to 2 in the key.
1b. If the edge of the leaf has teeth or lobes, go to 3 in the key.
2a. If the leaf has slightly wavy edges, the plant is a shingle oak.
2b. If the leaf has smooth edges, go to 4 in the key.
3a. If the leaf edge is toothed, the plant is a Lombardy poplar.
3b. If the leaf edge has lobes, go to 5 in the key.
4a. If the leaf is heart-shaped with veins branching from the base, the plant is a redbud.
4b. If the leaf is not heart-shaped, the plant is a live oak.
5a. If the leaf edge has a few large lobes, the plant is an English oak.
5b. If the leaf edge has many small lobes, the plant is a chestnut oak.
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