posted January 19th, 2010; last edited November 18th, 2010 –– David Sibley

Useful Online Tree References

A list of my most-frequently-used online tree references


Taxonomy for higher-level groups (Classes, Orders and Families) in the guide follows the latest revision of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. For a quick reference, Wikipedia seems to be an excellent source for good, readable, and up-to-date overviews of taxonomy for most North American plant groups. The North American Digital Flora database lists traditional family placement for each species along with newer “Molecular” family taxonomy.

Species and genus level taxonomy in the guide comes from various sources, among them the PLANTS National Database, the Flora of North America (limited families covered), and the North American Digital Flora created by BONAP.

Champion Trees

American Forests National Register of Big Trees

Distribution Maps

For the whole United States the most detailed and up-to-date maps by far are available at the North American Digital Flora created by BONAP. But coverage of Canada is extremely limited.

Original native distribution of North American trees is shown in maps in the US Forest Service Silvics Manual

A project to map the trees of Canada with climate variables is interesting to browse at the Canadian Forest Service Plant Hardiness site.

More detailed maps for smaller regions can be found at regional atlas projects such as:

General info and photos

2 comments to Useful Online Tree References

  • Brian Osborne

    David, are there any good online groups where people discuss trees? For example, I wanted to know if the “copper beech” was a variety of the American Beech – where’s a good place to get answer to questions like these?

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