Week 11: Leaf-Out Tree ID
Leaves come in all different shapes. Take a look around to see
how many you can find. This week we look at 3 leaves common
to the forests in western Maine. See if you can find all 3 in nature
this week! To get started, click the PDF icon for Week 11.
Set to print at 95% or fit to page. Cut around the grey border
Leaf - Out Vocabulary
Simple leaf: Not divided into leaflets.
Ovate: Egg-shaped where the broadest point is below the
middle of the leaf.
Palmately lobed: Lobes spread from the stem like fingers on a hand.
Pinnately lobed: Cut into lobes, but not cut right to the middle of the leaf.
Opposite: Leaves are arranged directly across from one another on
Alternate: Leaves are not opposite on twig.
Betula family, ovate, tappering point,
Acer family, palmately lobe, fan-like, 3 - 5 lobes, opposite
Quercus family, pinnately lobed, deeply indented margins, alternate
Make a Leaf Rubbing
Leaf rubbings are a fun way to record the texture and shape
of the leaves you identify.
Paper, crayons or pencil, and a hard surface
1. Find a good leaf to rub. Look at the texture & features on the leaf.
Are there holes on it? Has it dropped on the ground recently or has
it been on the ground for some time?
2. Place the leaf on a hard surface. Place the leaf "veins" face up.
3. Put a white sheet of paper on the leaf & color over the leaf with
the side of the crayon or pencil.
4. Repeat with other leaves & colors. Use soft and hard leaves to
compare how drawings come out.
Leaf Color Match:
Collect a bunch of leaves out on a walk. Pick a variety of shapes
and colors. Using paint color chips from the hardware store, try to
find an exact match for the leaf's color.
*FUN FACT: Humans can see more shades of green than any other color.
Make Your Own Leaf and Wax Sun-catcher:
Create a shining work or art with your found leaves.
Watch THIS video for instructions.
Watercolor Leaf Guide:
Check out the leaf guide created by 5th graders at
Sebago Elementary School this spring. Try making your own
leaf guide to the trees around where you live. Draw or outline the
shape and use watercolor paint to finish. Share your new leaf knowledge
with your friends and family.
Print & Fold PDF
PDF For Phones
Click on the drawings below to download, print and color.
Can you find them all?
Each week we feature a lesser known naturalist in our Pocket Journal Series.
In this space you will find the full quote and more information about the author.
Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Ecologist, Canopy Researcher
“Trees are wonderful arenas for discovery because of their tall stature,
their complex structure, the biodiversity they foster, and their quiet beauty.”
“It’s not an easy thing to be a forest ecologist, gripping ourselves with questions and trying to figure out how we can answer them. Especially as a small brown woman at a little college in the upper northwest corner of our country, far away from the areas of power and money, I really have to ask myself: What can I do? How can I reconnect people with trees?”
Nalini is currently a professor and researcher at the University of Utah. She pioneered the study of Costa Rica rainforest canopies. Her research revealed how epiphytes live on branches in the canopy without having roots in the soil. To conduct her research, Nalini ascends into the canopy using mountain climbing equipment! She studies the community and ecosystem ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopy organisms and interactions, the effects of forest fragmentation on biodiversity and community function, and the development of database tools for canopy researchers.
In addition to scientific research, Nalini is actively engaged in public outreach. She brings science lessons and imagery to incarcerated adults and youth, through her “The Initiative to bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated” (INSPIRE). You can read more and watch videos about that here. Nalini’s work with youth also includes Treetop Barbie, one in a line of Barbie’s focused on making science interesting and accessible, featuring real life female scientists. You can read more about that here. Other public outreach efforts include working with fashion professionals to create clothing with fabric printed with biologically correct images. You can read about that here. Nalini has spoken at over 35 places of worship, to weave conservation and ecological messages in spiritual discourse. You can read pamphlets that Nalini has prepared for religious audiences here.
Dr. Nalini Nadkarni