The easiest way to identify a tree is through their leaves, bark, fruits, and tree seed pods identification. While some have distinct leaf colors and shapes, others cannot easily be identified with the leaves, especially during certain parts of the year.
However, it is pretty easy to identify trees with their seeds, especially the ones with distinct seed pods. Some of the trees, like those in the bean family,9 have long pods that make it relatively easy to identify them.
Have you ever wondered which trees release those ‘helicopter’ seeds? This complete guide has everything you need to know.
A seed pod is a distinctive way for a tree to propagate, and nature has some very interesting varieties! By using the tree seed pods identification charts below, you’ll be able to pinpoint lots and lots of tree species.
75 Species of Trees With Seed Pods
We know how important trees are in slowing down and reversing climate change and so you might be thinking “How much carbon does a tree capture?” Did you know that some trees store more carbon than others? Learning these different species is more interesting than you think.
Most trees with seed pods are easy to identify because they classify the tree and let you know which botanic family it belongs to. There are so many trees with seed pods that are distributed worldwide.
Even though some grow in their native region, most of them have been spread worldwide. The growth of trees in an area highly depends on the conditions required for the tree to thrive.
For example, you will find most palm and mangrove trees along coastlines because that is where they find their conducive environment to thrive. The chart below is a comprehensive list of trees with seed pods of different kinds.
Identification Guide: Tree Seed Pods Identification
Sometimes, it helps to know what an entire tree or most parts look like. That way, you can automatically identify the tree with any part, including tree seed pods. The tree types and pictures below will give you a foundation on most tree types and what their seed pods look like.
How To Identify Tree Seed Pods: Identification Chart With Tree Seed Pod Identification Pictures
|1. Maples||1.18” to 2” (3 – 5 cm) long|
|2. Catalpas||8–20″ long and ¼–½” wide|
|3. Southern Catalpa||12-inch (30-cm) long|
|4. Ash||2” (5 cm) long|
|5. Hickory||2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) long and 1.5–3 cm (0.6–1.2 in) diameter|
|6. Chestnut||10-30 cm long and 5-7 cm wide|
|7. Sweet Gum||1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″ in diameter|
|8. Kentucky Coffee Tree||5” to 10” (12 – 25 cm) long and up to 2” (5 cm) wide|
|9. Eastern Redbud||3.5 inches long, 0.5 inches wide|
|10. Apples||8 mm (0.3 inch)|
|11. Black Locust||3 to 4 inches in length|
|12. Northern Catalpa||24” (60 cm) long|
|13. Mimosa||4” to 8” (1.2 – 2.4 cm) long and 1” (2.5 cm) wide|
|14. Acacia||10” (26 cm) long|
|15. Honeylocust||6-14″ long and 1-1½” across at maturity|
|16. Buckeye||1-2” diameter|
|17. Beech||0.5” to 1” (1.12 – 2.5 cm) long|
|18. Sycamore||1” (2.5 cm) in diameter|
|19. Silver Maple||1.18” to 2” (3 – 5 cm) long|
|20. Elm||0.5” (1.22 cm) across|
|21. Cladrastis Kentukea||2.5-4” long|
|22. Carob Tree||13 – 30 cm in length and about 2.5 cm wide|
|23. Desert-Willow||8 inch|
|24. Basswood||5 to 10 mm (0.2 to 0.4 in) in diameter|
|25. Yellow Kowhai||2.2 inches in length|
|26. Coral Tree||12-inch- long|
|27. Western Redbud||1½ to 3½ inch long|
|28. Blue Palo Verde||1.5 to about 4 inches|
|29. Purple Orchid Tree||15 to 30 cm long|
|30. Koa Tree||6″ (15 cm) long and 1-1.5″ (2-4 cm) wide|
|31. Japanese Angelica||4 mm in diameter|
|32. Yellowwood Tree||2½ to 4″ long|
|33. Conifers||between 1” and 6” (2.5 – 15 cm)|
|34. Silver Birch||1-1 1/2 inches long|
|35. Catclaw Acacia||3-5″ long|
|36. Screwbean Mesquite||2-6″ (5-15 cm.) in length|
|37. Persian Silk Tree||4–8″ (10–20 cm.) long, ¾” (2 cm.)|
|38. Royal Poinciana||12” and 24” (30 – 60 cm) long|
|39. Cape Wattle||up to 10 cm in lengt|
|40. Trumpet Trees||about 3″ (7.6 cm) long|
|41. Horse Chestnut||1” to 2” (2.5 – 5 cm) in diameter|
|42. Pine Tree||0.78” to 23” (2 – 60 cm)|
|43. Spruce Tree||1” and 6” (2.5 – 15 cm)|
|44. Fir Tree||10” (25 cm)|
|45. Jacaranda Tree||3” (7.5 cm) across|
|46. Hornbeam||1″ long|
|47. Linden||0.2” (0.5 cm) in diameter|
|48. Tree of Heaven||1-2″ long|
|49. Common Hoptree||2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) across|
|50. Tulip Tree||3” (7.5 cm) long|
|51. Tipu Tree||50-60mm long|
|52. Green Ash||2” (5 cm) long|
|53. Australian Black Bean Tree||up to 20cm in length|
|54. Lilac Tree||¾ inch-long|
|55. Southern Magnolia Tree||1″-3″ in length|
|56. Sausage Tree||grow up to 10 cm in diameter and 60 cm (2 feet) long|
|57. Ludlow’s Tree Peony||4¾-7 × 2-3⅓ cm|
|58. Orchid Tree||6-9″ long|
|59. Red Maple Tree||¾ to 1 inch|
|60. Golden Rain Tree||1¼– 2½ inches long|
|61. Cacao Tree||length up to 35 cm (14″) and a width at the centre of 12 cm (4.7″)|
|62. Eucalyptus Camaldulensis Tree||2–5 mm (0.079–0.197 in) long and 4–10 mm (0.16–0.39 in) wide on a pedicel 3–12 mm (0.12–0.47 in) long|
|63. Kalumpang Sarawak Tree||about 10 centimeters long|
|64. Pandanus Tree||a diameter of 4–20 cm (1.6–7.9″)|
|65. Korean Spindleberry||1/2” across|
|66. Delonix Regia||30 – 75 cm long, 5 – 8 cm wide|
|67. Koelreuteria Paniculata||3–6 cm long and 2–4 cm broad|
|68. Ceiba Pentandra||15 cm (6 in)|
|69. Albizia Lebbeck Tree||12 – 35 cm long|
|70. Joshua Tree||2.5-2″ long|
|71. Guanacaste Tree||3 – 4 1/2″ long|
|72. Australian Tree Hakea||4-5 cm in diameter on average|
|73. Mangrove Tree||6″ (15 cm)|
|74. Kapok Tree||15 cm (6″) long|
|75. Paulownia Tomentosa Foxglove Tree||3–4 centimeters (1+1⁄8–1+5⁄8 in) long|
There are advantages and disadvantages to having a tree. Some would be excited to know about the pros and cons of redbud trees. Despite the limited lifespan of these lovely, vibrantly colored trees, they have greatly benefited us and the environment. Spend some time learning about these trees, and prepare to have your mind blown by what you discover.
Popular Types of Trees With Seed Pods
Not all the trees on the list above are common and easy to come across in residential areas. However, you could come across some of them in forests or deserts. Below is a list of the most commonly planted seed pod trees. You have probably come across most of the trees on this list.
|Popular Tree Type||Seed Pod Description||Size|
|Maple Tree||Wing-shaped, papery – helicopters, samaras||3 – 5cm long|
|Oak Tree||Cup-shaped cupule, green-brown – acorn||1–6 cm|
|Palm Tree||Ball-like||Depends on the species|
|Catalpa Tree||Cylindrical-shaped, cigar-like, green, dark brown when mature||30 – 60 cm|
|Locust Tree||Spirally twisted, flat, dark brown, large, with oval seeds||10 – 20 cm long|
|American Elm Tree||Flat, oval-shaped, disc-like, papery, light green||1.22 cm across|
|Ash Tree||Paddle-shaped, oval, large, brown, papery||5 cm long|
|Beech Tree||Angular-shaped, three sides, brown, hard shell with spiky burs- cupules||1.12 – 2.5 cm long|
Maple Tree Seed Pods Identification
Maple trees come in different species. They are easily identifiable by their bark, leaves, or seed pods. However, the easiest way is through the papery wing-shaped seed pods, often called samaras.
These samaras are joined at the center, and once they detach from the tree, they have a unique whirling motion. Maple seed pods will therefore be called helicopters, whirligigs, and whirlers. The seed pods grow between 1.18 and 2 inches long.
Once the seed pods have detached from the tree, the whirling action takes them far away from the tree, dispersing the seeds in different places. Maple trees have distinctive features,6 including leaves with pointed lobes. The bark has a gray-brown or reddish-brown color that you cannot miss.
Another identifying feature of the maple tree species is that they grow tall, some growing up to 150ft. Some popular maple tree species are the Red Maple, Silver Maple, and Japanese Maple.
All these trees have different features in color and growing conditions, but they all have samaras with helicopter action. Some grow along river banks, and others can survive pretty well in relatively dry areas. Maple seeds are also edible; the smaller the seed, the sweeter it is. The sizes differ in different species.
Oak Tree Seed Pods Identification (Oak Tree Seeds With Pods)
The fruit of an oak tree is called an oak nut or acorn. It has a tough protective shell that looks like a cup and has a cap. It is, therefore, quite easy to identify oak trees through the cupules or seed pods.
Various oak tree species have distinctive acorns. The acorns differ in shape and size depending on the oak tree species. Some have a smooth cap, others a scaly one, and others have hair.
It also differs in shape; some are oval, while others are ball-shaped. The common colors in mature acorns among the oak tree species are black, red, and brown. However, all the acorns will be green before maturity.
The seed pods have two seeds inside, varying in size from small to large. Small acorns are about 0.5 inches, while the bigger ones can go up to 3 inches in diameter. Oaknuts are edible, with the sweetest ones being from Pin Oak, Cork Oak, and Burr Oak.
However, tanning in acorns is toxic to human beings. It also makes raw oak nuts bitter and untasty. The best way to remove the tanning is to soak the nuts in water and drain them until it is clear.
Identification: Palm Tree Seed Pods
One of the trees that you may find almost everywhere is a palm tree. Ever wonder how many types of palm trees are there?
Palm trees belong to the Arecaceae family and have over 2600 species. The trees grow in warm countries near tropical beaches. However, some species can also grow indoors in cold or temperate climates.
The most common palm tree species are the Pygmy date palm and the coconut palm, which are common along coastlines. There is also the Christmas palm tree and Mediterranean dwarf palm, among others.
It is not easy to miss a palm tree because of its unique characteristics. Every part of the tree can be used to identify it, including the trunk and the seed pods. Palm trees have feather-like, fan-shaped leaves that are long and evergreen.
The trunk is also a good identifier as it has fibers and grows extremely tall in some species. Date palms will grow to about 75ft, while coconut palms can reach 100ft. There are also dwarf palm trees that grow up to 9ft, making it easy to have them as houseplants.
The tallest palm trees are about 200ft, equivalent to a 25-story building. One palm tree species with easily identifiable seed pods is the coconut tree. It has a huge green or yellow fruit that turns into a hard brown seed when it matures. It also has spiky hairs on it and can be quite heavy.
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Catalpa Tree Seed Pods
Catalpa seeds have long seed pods that dangle from the tree and are very easy to identify. The tree has trumpet-shaped blooms that are white or yellow in color, and the leaves are heart-shaped. These flowers are fragrant, and the tree bark is usually brown or greyish in color.
The Northern Catalpa and the Southern Catalpa are the most common species of the catalpa trees.10 The seed pods appear on the trees in fall and could go to Winter and Spring. However, they are very distinctive because of their slender and long features.
The trees grow very fast and do well in warm temperate places. The trees also live long and could grow up to 50ft above the ground. It has a rounded canopy that spreads out, making the tree perfect for backyards as an ornamental shade tree.
It is easy to distinguish between Northern and Southern catalpas through the seed pods. While the Northern ones grow up to 24 inches long, the others only grow to 12 inches. The pods are green but eventually turn brown and split open, exposing winged seeds.
The seeds are then carried by the wind and dispersed all over. While the catalpa seeds are not toxic to human beings, they lack nutritional content or good taste. Therefore, people do not eat them even if they look like beans.
The shape and structure of the seed pods have earned the tree names like cigar tree, smoking bean tree, and Indian cigar tree. Each node on the catalpa tree has three leaves with a smooth margin and a heart shape. It is a perfect tree to plant in residential gardens.
Locust Tree Seed Pods (Black Locust Tree Seeds and Honey Locust Tree Seed Pods)
Locust trees have many identifiable features ranging from the trunk, flowers, leaves, and spirally twisted seed pods. The tree has white flowers that dangle in clusters and can grow up to 100ft.
Its trunk has thorns, and the leaves are large and pinnate. Locust trees grow very fast and belong to the Fabaceae family. The two most common types of plants are the Honey locust and Black locust trees.7
Even though most of the locust tree species are full of long and sharp thorns, some species are thornless. Therefore, the best way to identify locust trees is through the long and distinct seed pods that hang from the tree.
The seed pods on locust trees can grow up to 20 cm long and have oval seeds inside. It is important to note that different locust tree species have different seeds. While some are edible, and even animals enjoy eating them, others have very toxic compounds.
Locust trees also produce highly durable hardwood that can be used to make furniture and small boats. The trees are also excellent for shade and look beautiful when the flowers bloom in the fall.
American Elm Tree Seeds With Pods (Elm Tree Seed Pods)
Elm trees are popular in residential areas because of their wide canopy that provides shade and the wood it produces. The trees have rot-resistant wood that is flexible but does not split. It is, therefore, excellent for making musical instruments and bows.
While it has many identifiable features, the elm tree’s best feature to use when trying to identify the tree is its seed pods. They have samaras, which in this case have a light papery casing and are round and small.
They grow in clusters and have a light green color that makes them easy to identify. Once the samaras have matured, a single seed forms inside and detaches from the tree in Spring. The tree’s bark is also quite distinct, with furrows and a grayish-brown color.
The trunk and the branches will have a lace-like texture that makes them easy to identify. There are various species of elm trees, with the most common ones being the American, Florida, and Chinese elm trees.
The Chinese elm has a slightly different bark from the rest, but it also has papery samaras. Therefore, the best way to identify elm trees is through the seed pods’ structure and shape.
Ash Tree Seeds With Pods (Ash Tree Seed Pods)
Ash tree seed pods are flat,8 oval, and papery, making it very easy to identify the trees. They look like dried leaves as they hang from the tree branches. They can grow up to 3 inches tall, and the fruit matures in the fall.
The ash tree seed pods are also called samaras. The samaras grow on female trees only because it is the one that produces fruit. Due to the fallen samaras’ mess on the ground, most people prefer to plant male ash trees in their backyards.
The tree has compound leaves with five pairs of leaflets on each one. The leaflets are pointed, and each leaf has a terminal leaflet. The standard height of ash trees is between 60 and 80ft. The bark is grayish-brown in color, and the leaves are about 12 inches long.
The tree seed pods identification on ash trees is made easy by the brown color of the matured seed pods. Before maturity, the pods are green and easy to recognize because of their length. Ash trees come in various species like the Green and White Ash trees. While each has its characteristics, both species have the same types of seed pods on their female trees.
Beech Tree Seeds With Pods
Beech trees are colorful shade trees that form a round, dense crown with branches and leaves. They have beechnuts that make the tree easily identifiable. The flowers are in clusters and start green-yellow in color. However, they later turn into beautiful Autumn shades of yellow, golden brown, and range.
The tree has 13 species, the most common being European and American beech trees. The trees are resistant to diseases and pests, which makes them excellent trees for huge landscapes.
The leaves have an elliptical shape and look glossy with a green color when young. They grow up to 6 by 4 inches. You can see a serrated look on the leaf if you sift through it. The beautiful bright colors on the tree are one of the most direct beech tree identification.
On the other hand, the fruit has a brown color with a shell with three sides and spikes all over it. It is an easy seed pod to identify. Beech trees have a dense crown, which is why it needs enough room to grow. The trees can also grow up to 80 ft.
Tree Seed Pods Identification Florida: Popular Types of Tree Seeds in Florida
Florida has a good climate that makes it possible to have various tree species throughout the landscapes.11 You will find different seed pod trees within Florida. Some trees are planted in backyards, and others in forests and landscapes.
Some of the seed pod trees you will likely find in Florida are palm trees, oak trees, magnolia, and maple trees. All these trees are identifiable through their distinctive seed pods. While some have samaras, others have cupules.
The trees from the Fabaceae family will have long seed pods with multiple seeds inside and split open to disperse. Additionally, some trees in Florida have edible fruits, and others have toxins.
When living in Florida, it is important to know which seed pods belong to which tree. That helps you know which trees will do well in your backyard and which will likely give you much work to maintain.
The full chart above on the various types of seed pod trees and the explanations on popular trees will help you identify tree seed pods in Florida. You can plant a tree with full knowledge of what to expect when the fruit matures.
Trees With Seed Pods in Colorado
The most common tree with seed pods in Colorado is the catalpa tree. It has bean-like pods that have winged seeds inside. It is, therefore, easy for the wind to disperse the seeds, which is why Colorado has many catalpa trees in different locations.
Aside from the Western Catalpa, Colorado has other seed pod trees like Golden Rain, Cottonwood, Blue Spruce, Oaks, and Fir. All these trees have distinct seed pods that distinguish one tree from the other.
Nowadays, more people are taking an active role in protecting the environment. They may be searching for tree seed pods because they are concerned about how many trees cut down each year and want to learn how tree planting carbon offset may help.
Understanding these seed pods is the first step; the next is learning how to grow them. People are making sure that what they are planting endures and fulfills its function – to beautify and fight climate change.
It is crucial to be aware of the benefits of planting trees if you want to achieve environmental sustainability. Remember that internal transformation must precede external change. By using an eco footprint calculator, you should be able to pinpoint the acts that had an adverse influence on the environment and make decisions to lessen those effects.
Related Reading: How Many Trees Are in the World?
With the help of this guide, you will be able to identify different types of trees by looking at their pods and other features like the leaves, bark, and color. Colorado provides an excellent climate for all these different tree species to thrive.
Most tree species are identifiable through leaves, flowers, bark, and trunk. However, some require more than that to know which tree it is.
This tree seed pods identification chart can help you identify trees and protect them to help the planet.
Frequently Ask Questions About Tree Seed Pods Identification
Is There a Tree With Long Brown Seed Pods?
Yes. There are many trees with long brown seed pods. Trees like the catalpa, ash, and honey locust have long brown seed pods. However, most of them turn brown when they mature but are green before maturity. The tree species have pods that are almost similar to bean pods, but not all of them have edible seeds like beans. Check whether the seeds of a particular tree are edible before tasting them to avoid poisoning.
How Can I Stop Locust Tree Pods From Falling?
The honey locust tree is beautiful in your backyard, but cleaning the tree pods is quite a task. Once the fruit matures, tree pods start falling continuously to the ground, and you cannot clean enough times to keep the place underneath the tree spotless. However, you can avoid the mess by inhibiting fruit production with a growth regulator Ethephon.1 The time you spray the growth regulator is critical because wrong timing could mean the pods will still form. The best time to spray is somewhere between mid-bloom and full bloom.
Are Locust Tree Seed Pods Edible?
There are various species of locust trees. While the flower of the honey locust is edible, whether raw or in drinks, most parts of the black locust tree are toxic. However, the heat seems to decompose the toxins, making the fruit edible when cooked. Otherwise, the rest of the tree is highly poisonous and should not be consumed by humans.3
Are Locust Tree Seed Pods Poisonous?
Yes. Black locust seed pods are poisonous unless carefully prepared by cooking or exploding to heat. Therefore, eating any part of the plant is not advisable as it might cause complications to your body. However, honey locust seed pods are edible and can be eaten raw without worry. Another thing to note is that in both species, all the different parts of the tree are poisonous, including the bark.
What Are Thornless Honey Locust Seed Pods?
A thornless honey locust tree is an easy-to-plant bright-colored tree with compound leaves. Unlike other locust trees, this one does not have thorns covering the trunk and the branches. The seed pods, however, look similar to those in other locust trees. They are brown, long, and twisted.4
Are Elm Tree Seeds Edible?
Yes, they are. Elm tree seeds or samaras are edible and can be prepared in various ways. They can be cooked or eaten raw, making them quite flexible as a food source. Once you plant the elm tree in your backyard, you have a whole bush of food that will produce fruit as long as it lives. The elm tree seeds taste like green peas and are safe for human consumption.
How To Get Rid of Elm Tree Seeds?
Elm trees grow like a bush, and once the seeds disperse, you might find yourself with an overgrown bush of elm trees. However, you can control the seeds’ distribution by picking them from the ground or destroying them before they sprout. You should ensure you pull them out with the roots because cutting them will only reduce the size of the sprout, but it will still grow again. Some people use dishwashing liquid, while others use different plant poisons to deter the growth of the seedlings.
What Are Slippery Elm Seeds?
Slippery Elm seeds come from an elm tree called the Slippery Elm tree. The tree is similar to the American Elm, with a more upright structure, and can grow up to 60ft tall. The slippery elm tree is called so because the inner part of its bark has some mucilage that makes it slippery. The samaras have a single seed, and the tree can live up to 200 years. Slippery elm trees are used to make wood items and their medicinal value.
Where Can I Find Elm Tree Seeds for Sale?
Elm tree seeds are available in many online and physical shops. You can also find them in local nurseries if you want to plant them in your area. You can also buy medicinal products like supplements made from tree parts from stores like Amazon. Fifty seedlings will cost less than $10 on Etsy.
Are Ash Tree Seeds Nuisance?
Ash trees can become a nuisance, especially for gardeners who do not want multiple ash trees. The seeds are so many and fall into the gardens and form deep roots that might be hard to uproot if left to grow for a while. The tree is beautiful, but it is not ideal in a space where you want to do any other type of gardening.
When Do Ash Trees Drop Their Seeds?
Ash trees drop their seeds in early winter or late fall. The fruit will ripen between September and October. The tree is also prone to pests and diseases affecting most of its seeds and fruits. The weather can also affect the seed dropping of ash seeds.
Are Ash Tree Seeds Edible?
Yes. You can add the young green trees seeds of the ash tree to your salad or use it for medicinal value. You can also cook the seeds or pickle them. The edible seeds are called keys, often immature and green in color.
What Do Pin Oak Tree Seed Pods Look Like?
The pin oak acorns are small, round, and about half an inch in diameter. They have tight-fitting cups and are green when young. Once they mature they start turning brown-blackish with what looks like black lines. The acorns can be eaten but they don’t taste so nice. The solution to that is to soak them for an hour before crushing them to flour.
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