Common Leaf Arrangement For Trees & Wildflowers

Leaf arrangement on plants and trees is an important sign to help identify the plant or tree.  Here are the common forms of leaf arrangement you are likely to encounter.

I like to go for a hike and look at the different trees and see how many of them I can identify.  At first when you attempt to do this it can be intimidating because there are so many different kinds.  Fortunately, a basic understanding of some basic leaf arrangements will greatly help you identify the common trees and common wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains.

Common Forms of Leaf Arrangement

leaf arrangement

Alternate.  Photo via Flickr.

Alternate – the leaves come off the twig on one side at a time.  They alternate coming off the twig.

leaf arrangement

Opposite.  Photo via Flickr.

Opposite – the leaves come off the twig from two sides at the same time.  They come off opposite sides of the twig.

leaf arrangement

Whorled.  Photo via Flickr.

Whorled – the leaves come off the twig in a circle of three or more at the same place.

Next Steps To Identifying Trees and Wildflowers

For more information you can read one of these old posts.

Read this for some tips on wildflower identification.

Or if you are not sure how to tell the difference between a birch tree and aspen tree read this.

Here is a post that talks about the Rocky Mountains Forest Zones or another one that explains what is tree line.

There are a couple of other things you can look at to identify leaves.  One other one includes a basic knowledge of the common leaf shapes, which I will write another post about soon.