Hackberry Leaves

A Visual Learning Exercise

 E. D. Stanley   9/98

Individuals new to identification in the field are often surprised at the variation they encounter in specimens under study. Take a look at the representative Hackberry leaf images below.

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

1. If you were an illustrator for a field guide, which leaf would you choose to use? Why?

2. Would an image of the "average" specimen be best?

3. What other information might you need? How would you obtain it?

4. Compare the leaf images above with an image of the Hackberry leaf in your field guide. Describe the differences for the ones that do not seem to match up?


NOTE:

The leaf images below were produced using a color scanner. The first eight leaves from a single branch were removed and placed directly on the surface of the flatbed. The leaves were arranged from top right to bottom left in order of youngest to oldest.

Hackberry leaves are an excellent resource for this kind of visual learning exercise since most leaves show rather dramatic effects of age and interactvity.


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