Tree identification by winter shape

In winter, once the leaves have fallen, you may be able to identify mature deciduous trees by their shape. The shape of the tree refers to its outline, when viewed from a distance, against the sky. The shape is determined by the way the tree grows and branches. There are two basic forms. In one (monopodial) the main growth is in the same direction every year with branching on either side e.g Ash, Aspen and Lombardy Poplar. In the other (sympodial) the main growth changes every time a branch is formed giving a zig-zag and ‘twiggy’ appearance e.g Maples, Limes and Oaks. Some trees have straight growth when young but become twiggy when flowers are formed e.g. Horse Chestnut. 

Note that you can  Click on any photo to enlarge it. To get a close-up of the branches of the the  tree you can Click on the name of the tree below the photo – such as ENGLISH OAK

Tree identification by winter shape – Here are 20 photographs of deciduous common trees in winter with links to close-ups of branches. Look at the tree from a distance, then move closer and look at the type of branching to complete your identification.