For any body interested in forestry work, in the distribution of the various types of tree, or merely uses differing kinds of wood in the DIY context, should have some degree of knowledge about the classification of trees.


The classification involves the use of taxonomy which separates all living organisms into discreet groups based on their physical characteristics, and similarities in anatomical structure. Trees are often referred to by common names but by using scientific names within the classification of trees any misunderstanding stemming from the common name is readily avoided.


Common names can frequently be misleading when referring to a particular type of tree. For instance a tree often called the eastern red cedar is not actually a cedar tree at all but a juniper tree, while the yellow poplar is not a poplar tree but a member of the magnolia family. So classifying trees by their scientific name clears up such misleading nomenclature for those interested in trees.

Classification of Trees.


At the top of the taxonomical ladder for the classification of all living things is the Kingdom. This is then split into Divisions. All trees are within the Division Spermatophta, which itself is divided into two sub divisions; Angiospermae, and Gymnospermae.



-         Angiosperms have encased seeds and reproduce by methods of flowering.

-         They posses an ovary which contains the seed which produces the fruit of the tree.

-         Angiosperms themselves are split into monocots which have one leaf, and dicots which have two or more leaves.

-         Monocots are commonly woody stemmed and are of large size. Bamboo is a typical example of a monocot.

-         The anatomy of monocots is totally different to that of dicot trees.

-         Dicot trees are further divided into twenty five taxonomical Families.

-         Dicots are responsible for producing the majority of hard wood.






The kind of fruit usually associated with the angiosperm class of tree; include the acorn of the oak tree, and the cherry of the cherry tree.




-         All of the gymnosperm class of tree is of soft wood.

-         The softwoods are further sub divided into four families.

-         The family Cupressaceae includes the juniper, cypress, and cedar trees.

-         Taxaceae contains the yew trees.

-         Family Taxodiaceae contains the redwoods.

-         The Pinaceae family contains the pine, fir, spruce, and larch trees.


The classification of trees is a complex affair as is the classification of all life, and apart from the above there are other divisions which finally lead down to defining a specific species. In the world of trees the commonly named oak tree has many individual species of oak, so for any tree enthusiast take care when using common names.

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