Skip main navigation

What are the parts of a tree called?

List of names for the different parts of a forest ecosystem.
New Zealand beech forest - looking through the trees to the sky.
© Ray Genet NMIT

Here is a list of vocabulary you will need to understand the articles about forests. As you go through the list, make a note of words that are new to you.

There are also three activities for you to do.

Life

  • organism: a living thing
  • flora: plant life
  • fauna: animal life

Parts of a tree

  • trunk
  • branch
  • leaves
  • flowers
  • crown

lemonwood Figure 1: Parts of the native lemonwood tree (image source: R. Genet and public domain)

Activity 1

What is your favorite flowering native tree in your country?
Find a picture of your favorite tree and label the different parts.

Forest Layers

Forests have five layers:

  • Forest floor: a layer of leaves, twigs, branches, tree trunks, droppings from animals, layer of mosses, fungi, ferns, grasses, and seedlings

forest floor

  • Understorey or Shrub layer: layer of small trees called shrubs

kawakawa

Kawakawa is a shrub found in the understorey layer

  • Sub-canopy: young trees, tree ferns, vines

Ponga (image source: Wiki Media Commons)

  • Canopy: the tops of most of the large tress touch and form a layer

Canopy (image source: Wiki Media Commons)

  • Emergent layer: these are the tallest trees in the forest. Their crowns stand above the canopy.

emergent layer (image source: Wiki Media Commons)

See the diagram below:

forest layers

Figure 2: Forest layers. (image adapted from doc.govt.nz)

Activity 2

What is your favorite forest type in your country?

Create a simple labelled diagram showing the forest layers.

Provide a picture or sketch the main tree species in each layer and paste it onto the diagram.

Types of trees

Hardwoods

These are trees that have flowers and fruit with seeds. The cherry tree is a hardwood.

Conifers

Cedars, firs and pines are conifers. They are also called softwoods. They do not have flowers and they don’t have fruit. They have male and female cones. Pollen from the small male cones fertilise an ovule in the female cone and a seed is produced.

Deciduous

Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter, for example the Japanese maple.

Evergreen

Evergreen trees are those that do not lose their leaves. Conifers are evergreen and so are all New Zealand native trees.

 

© Ray Genet NMIT
This article is from the free online

EAL: English Language for Nature Conservation and Sustainability

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education