Print the Syllabus

FOR 2324 1 Credit


Required Text: Woody Plants In North America, Kendall-Hunt Publishing, Multimedia Computer Software

Other Texts: A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs by G. Petrides (the Peterson Field Guide Series) Houghton Mifflin Co.

It is also recommend you carry with you a hand lens (10x) and a small pocket knife.

Also available are printable tree fact sheets that can be printed out beforehand and carried to the field. We strongly encourage the use of these fact sheets.

The free vTree tree identification app is available for Android or iPhone.


Dr. Seiler

Dr. John Seiler

(540) 231-5461

Dr. John Seiler is the instructor in charge of the course. His office is in Room 230J Cheatham. Teaching assistants will also be assigned to the various course sections. Any questions you may have regarding course content or grades should be directed to Dr. Seiler. The lab assistants' office hours will be announced in lab by the second week of the semester. We all try to keep an open door, so please feel free to stop by at any time.

Goals and Objectives

Educational Goals:

  1. To expose students to morphological, ecological and phenological traits used in field identification of woody plants.
  2. To stimulate curiosity about woody plant vegetation in North America and to gain an appreciation of its uses by wildlife and people.
  3. To introduce some basic characteristics of forest ecosystems.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Students should know and be able to list characteristics useful in distinguishing woody plant families and genera.
  2. Students should know the scientific and common names of each plant studied in laboratory.
  3. Students should be able to identify and name each plant covered in laboratory, either by fruit, cone, leaf, twig, bark, habit, or any combination of these or other characteristics.
  4. Students should be familiar with the basic ecology and range of each species covered in the lab through reading materials in the texts.


So that you can earn partial credit on wrong answers, the point distribution for grading each quiz specimen is as follows:

Family: 1 point
Species: 1 point
Genus: 1 point
Common Name: 3 points

*One-half point will be deducted for each misspelling of any part of the Latin name.

The final numerical grade in the course will be based on the average of all quizzes. The final course average will be calculated as points earned/total points possible.

You will also have the opportunity to earn bonus points. During some labs, certain tree quizzes will be designated as bonus trees. Correctly identifying these trees by common name only will earn 1 point per tree. These bonus points will be added only to the points earned portion of your grade. Missing a bonus tree will not lower your grade.

If you miss a quiz, the grade will be recorded as a zero (0) unless an acceptable medical excuse is provided or a family emergency occurs. The instructor may schedule a make-up quiz if and when appropriate. If you are sick or need to travel home, contact Dr. Seiler as soon as possible.

Final Course Grade:

If your final numerical grade is:

Your final course grade is:

93 or above






















59 or below


Honor Code:
The use of any electronic device is prohibited during class. The only material that should be in use during lab time is the week's current fact sheets. All other material must be put away. We (classmates and instructors) ask that you do your own work, keep your eyes on your quiz sheet, and keep your papers well covered during quiz time.

The Undergraduate Honor Code pledge that each member of the university community agrees to abide by states: "As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do."

Students enrolled in this course are responsible for abiding by the Honor Code. A student who has doubts about how the Honor Code applies to any assignment is responsible for obtaining specific guidance from the course instructor before submitting the assignment for evaluation. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the university community from the requirements and expectations of the Honor Code.

For additional information about the Honor Code, please visit:

Safety Awareness

All laboratories are conducted outdoors in whole or in part, regardless of weather conditions. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn when inclement weather is anticipated. Boots are recommended for off-campus trips. Because of the obvious health risks associated with exposure to inclement weather, the instructors reserve the right to dismiss any student who is not properly dressed from any lab period.

Being outdoors carries some additional risk. Always be aware of your surroundings. Pay special attention while crossing roads or examining trees near roads. Use your knife responsibly. Bees, wasps and yellow jackets, although not common, may be encountered during a lab. Poison ivy will be present so know what the species looks like. You may wish to inform your instructor and TA of any allergies or other medical conditions you may have. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the class safe, so stay alert and point out any hazards.

Wellness Principles:
By participating in this class, all students agree to abide by the Virginia Tech Wellness principles. If you are exhibiting even very slight signs of illness, you must not attend class in person. Notify me by email and follow the instructions posted at

Loose Ends

Principles of Community:

Other Help:
The Dendrology Lab, Room 218 Cheatham Hall, will be set up with specimen examples (twigs, leaves, fruit, etc.) for each week's laboratory. This is for your use on your own time. In addition, we will be having occasional outdoor review sessions. These will be announced in class and by e-mail. Pay attention to and take advantage of these opportunities. You are paying a large sum of money for this course, so make the most of it.

Many of the labs are off campus. You are responsible for getting to these locations on time. The locations are nearby (e.g., Pandapas Pond) and the class web page has maps to all locations. We encourage you to carpool. If you do not have a car and need help arranging a ride, let us know well in advance. Please plan ahead (e.g., be sure you have gas) and be sure you know where you are going.

Assistance Available

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services, or other accommodations to participate in this class, please contact John Seiler, 230J Cheatham, at 231-5461 during business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations.

**Note: Because taxonomists occasionally rename species, a botanical name on the syllabus may not match what is in your book. The syllabus is the most updated name.**

Course Outline:

Lab #1: On Campus
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

play map Aceraceae

Acer rubrum

red maple

play map Aceraceae

Acer saccharum

sugar maple

play map Anacardiaceae

Toxicodendron radicans


play map Cornaceae

Cornus florida

flowering dogwood

play map Fagaceae

Quercus alba

white oak

play map Fagaceae

Quercus velutina

black oak

play map Magnoliaceae

Liriodendron tulipifera


play map Oleaceae

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

green ash

play map Pinaceae

Abies concolor

white fir

play map Pinaceae

Picea abies

Norway spruce

play map Pinaceae

Pinus strobus

eastern white pine

play map Platanaceae

Platanus occidentalis

American sycamore

play map Rosaceae

Prunus serotina

black cherry

Lab #2: On Campus
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Aceraceae

Acer negundo


map Aceraceae

Acer platanoides

Norway maple

map Aceraceae

Acer saccharinum

silver maple

playmap Annonaceae

Asimina triloba


playmap Cornaceae

Nyssa sylvatica


playmap Cupressaceae

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

dawn redwood

playmap Fagaceae

Fagus grandifolia

American beech

playmap Fagaceae

Fagus sylvatica

European beech

playmap Hamamelidaceae

Liquidambar styraciflua


playmap Lauraceae

Sassafras albidum


map Rosaceae

Prunus avium

sweet cherry

map Salicaceae

Populus grandidentata

bigtooth aspen

map Salicaceae

Salix babylonica

weeping willow

playmap Salicaceae

Salix nigra

black willow

Lab #3: On Campus
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Betulaceae

Betula lenta

sweet birch

playmap Betulaceae

Betula nigra

river birch

playmap Fabaceae

Cercis canadensis

eastern redbud

playmap Fabaceae

Gleditsia triacanthos


playmap Fabaceae

Gymnocladus dioicus

Kentucky coffeetree

playmap Fagaceae

Castanea dentata

American chestnut

playmap Fagaceae

Castanea mollissima

Chinese chestnut

playmap Fagaceae

Castanea pumila

Alleghany chinkapin

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus imbricaria

shingle oak

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus macrocarpa

bur oak

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus palustris

pin oak

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus phellos

willow oak

playmap Pinaceae

Picea glauca

white spruce

Lab #4: Mid-County Park and Pool map
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Betulaceae

Ostrya virginiana


playmap Caprifoliaceae

Viburnum prunifolium


playmap Fabaceae

Robinia pseudoacacia

black locust

play Fagaceae

Quercus muehlenbergii

chinkapin oak

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus rubra

northern red oak

playmap Juglandaceae

Juglans nigra

black walnut

playmap Lauraceae

Lindera benzoin


playmap Magnoliaceae

Magnolia acuminata


playmap Oleaceae

Fraxinus americana

white ash

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus virginiana

Virginia pine

playmap Rosaceae

Pyrus calleryana

Callery pear

Lab #5: On Campus
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Betulaceae

Betula papyrifera

paper birch

playmap Betulaceae

Betula populifolia

gray birch

playmap Betulaceae

Carpinus caroliniana


playmap Bignoniaceae

Catalpa speciosa

northern catalpa

playmap Cupressaceae

Juniperus virginiana

eastern redcedar

playmap Ebenaceae

Diospyros virginiana

common persimmon

playmap Juglandaceae

Carya cordiformis

bitternut hickory

playmap Juglandaceae

Carya glabra

pignut hickory

playmap Juglandaceae

Carya ovata

shagbark hickory

playmap Juglandaceae

Carya tomentosa

mockernut hickory

playmap Pinaceae

Larix decidua

European larch

playmap Rosaceae

Crataegus spp.


playmap Tiliaceae

Tilia americana

American basswood

playmap Tiliaceae

Tilia cordata

littleleaf linden

Lab #6: On Campus
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Cornaceae

Cornus kousa

kousa dogwood

playmap Ericaceae

Rhododendron maximum

great rhododendron

playmap Ginkgoaceae

Ginkgo biloba


map Magnoliaceae

Magnolia grandiflora

southern magnolia

playmap Pinaceae

Picea pungens

blue spruce

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus nigra

Austrian pine

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus palustris

longleaf pine

playmap Ulmaceae

Celtis occidentalis


playmap Ulmaceae

Ulmus americana

American elm

playmap Ulmaceae

Ulmus parvifolia

Chinese elm

playmap Ulmaceae

Ulmus rubra

slippery elm

playmap Ulmaceae

Zelkova serrata

Japanese zelkova

Lab #7: Midterm Outdoor Exam, On Campus

Lab #8: Pandapas Pond, Lower Lot map
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Betulaceae

Alnus serrulata

hazel alder

playmap Cornaceae

Cornus amomum

silky dogwood

playmap Ericaceae

Kalmia latifolia

mountain laurel

playmap Ericaceae

Oxydendrum arboreum


play Ericaceae

Rhododendron calendulaceum

flame azalea

playmap Ericaceae

Vaccinium pallidum

lowbush blueberry

play Fagaceae

Quercus ilicifolia

bear oak

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus montana

chestnut oak

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus pungens

Table Mountain pine

playmap Rosaceae

Rubus occidentalis

black raspberry

Lab #9: Merrimac map
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

map Anacardiaceae

Rhus copallinum

shining sumac

playmap Anacardiaceae

Rhus typhina

staghorn sumac


Betula alleghaniensis

yellow birch

playmap Cornaceae

Cornus alternifolia

alternate-leaf dogwood


Quercus stellata

post oak


Picea rubens

red spruce

map Pinaceae

Pinus resinosa

red pine

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus taeda

loblolly pine

playmap Rosaceae

Malus spp.


Lab #10: Pandapas Pond, Upper Lot map
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Aceraceae

Acer pensylvanicum

striped maple

playmap Fagaceae

Quercus coccinea

scarlet oak

playmap Hamamelidaceae

Hamamelis virginiana


play Myricaceae

Comptonia peregrina


playmap Pinaceae

Pinus rigida

pitch pine

playmap Pinaceae

Tsuga canadensis

eastern hemlock

playmap Rosaceae

Amelanchier arborea

downy serviceberry

playmap Rosaceae

Rubus allegheniensis

Alleghany blackberry

Lab #11: On Campus
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Aceraceae

Acer palmatum

Japanese maple

playmap Aquifoliaceae

Ilex opaca

American holly

playmap Cupressaceae

Taxodium distichum


playmap Cupressaceae

Thuja occidentalis

northern white-cedar

playmap Cupressaceae

xHesperotropsis leylandii

Leyland cypress

playmap Moraceae

Morus rubra

red mulberry

playmap Pinaceae

Abies fraseri

Fraser fir

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus sylvestris

Scots pine

playmap Pinaceae

Pinus thunbergii

Japanese black pine

playmap Pinaceae

Pseudotsuga menziesii


playmap Scrophulariaceae

Paulownia tomentosa

royal paulownia

playmap Taxaceae

Taxus baccata

English yew

playmap Ulmaceae

Ulmus pumila

Siberian elm

Lab #12: Pandapas Pond, Lower Lot map
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Caprifoliaceae

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

American elderberry

playmap Caprifoliaceae

Viburnum acerifolium

mapleleaf viburnum

playmap Elaeagnaceae

Elaeagnus umbellata


play Ericaceae

Epigaea repens

trailing arbutus

playmap Ericaceae

Gaultheria procumbens


playmap Rubiaceae

Mitchella repens


playmap Smilacaceae

Smilax rotundifolia

common greenbrier

playmap Vitaceae

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper

Lab #13: Mid-County Park and Pool map
print notecards / print sheets

Family Botanical Name Common Name

playmap Caprifoliaceae

Lonicera japonica

Japanese honeysuckle

playmap Caprifoliaceae

Lonicera maackii

Amur honeysuckle

playmap Celastraceae

Celastrus orbiculatus

Asian bittersweet

playmap Hippocastanaceae

Aesculus flava

yellow buckeye

playmap Oleaceae

Ligustrum obtusifolium

border privet

play Pinaceae

Pinus echinata

shortleaf pine

playmap Rosaceae

Rosa multiflora

multiflora rose

playmap Simaroubaceae

Ailanthus altissima


playmap Vitaceae

Vitis aestivalis

summer grape

Lab #14: Final Exam