How can you tell the difference between two types of trees, is an interesting notion that one could make, especially if they are an enthusiast. There are two primary categories of trees: evergreen trees and deciduous ones.

Diference Between Two Trees

Differentiating between them can be complex and tricky, but learning to identify trees will expand your knowledge and give you tremendous pleasure.

To help you with tree identification, our experts have made a guideline following which you can tell the difference between different tree species. 

How To Tell the Difference Between Two Types of Trees Easily?

To tell the difference between two types of trees easily, it would be through the leaf shape, texture, and the color. Furthermore, through the shedding of the leaves, the shape and texture of the tree, the seeds, bark, and the fragrance.

There are several kinds of trees, but two types which are deciduous trees and evergreen trees, are the most prominent two types of trees, and we are going to focus on how to tell the difference between them. 

Another major kind of tree is evergreen, which always remains green and doesn’t shed leaves seasonally; it can be found in tropical rainforests and in such climates which are warm and temperate.

– Leaf Shape and Texture

The most common and easiest way to tell the difference between evergreen trees and deciduous trees is by looking at their leaves, which are very much identical. 

Evergreen trees have thicker, more bushy, and even a bit of wrinkled leaves compared to deciduous trees, and most of the time, they look like needles or squamous in coniferous evergreen trees. Leaves of evergreen trees usually stay fresh and alive for around two years, and the trees can shed leaves in the fall of any random year, as it is renewing itself.  

Leaf Shape and Texture


On the other hand, the leaves of deciduous trees are broader than those of the evergreen, along with being wide and flat in shape and also can be in heart, star, or oval shape. 

– Color Change

The leaves of the deciduous trees would change their color in fall and become yellow or orange though they remain green in the other months of the year due to the chlorophyll the trees utilize to suck up energy from sunlight while completing the photosynthesis procedure. 

However, in the fall, daytime decreases and nighttime increases, and chlorophyll production starts to impede as there is not enough sunlight the trees are getting, then gradually terminates and at the end, all the chlorophyll gets ruined.

So, the green color changes, and the carotenoids and anthocyanin that remain in the leaves get opened up, and their color on the leaves becomes prominent.

Only some deciduous plants adorn themselves in beautiful, lively colors in the fall season because, in dry regions and tropical or subtropical areas, the leaves of deciduous plants fall in the dry season. Besides, despite being deciduous, a few trees, such as silver maple, catalpa, or Lombardy poplar, don’t change their color in fall.

However, when it comes to the evergreen trees’ leaves, they always remain green because they are wrapped up in long, lean needles with a glistening cover-up. The needle shape permits the trees to preserve water during hot and cold seasons and sanctions the photosynthesis process to keep going even in fall and winter. 

The needle leaves live longer and stays green because of the reason, and you will see them green throughout the seasons, even if they degenerate, the new needles will have the same property.

– Shedding of The Leaves

You can differentiate between two trees by examining the shedding nature of the leaves of the trees. Botanists claim that deciduous tree leaves drop in the last of the fall season at the beginning of the winter season to take part in the procedure of shedding with tree cells that make the leaves fall acting like knives or scissors. 

As a result, the falling enables locking up the plant to avoid the cold of the winter and the water that the plant is already preserving. Before getting dropped, the leaves beautify themselves with yellow, orange, or purple colors.

Deciduous trees are synonymous with hardwoods that shed leaves seasonally and can be found in mild, wet climates and areas that include wet and dry seasons. Some of the deciduous trees are Sugar Maple, Silver maple, River Birch, Red Oak tree, Autumn Blaze maple, American Elm, American Sweetgum, Dogwood, and Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry.

You can tell which trees are evergreen and deciduous by looking at their leaves color in the fall season, and if you see a tree with no leaves in winter, you can also tell it is a deciduous tree and which tree has leaves in winter it belongs to evergreen plants.

Most evergreen trees that grow in the forests and are intentionally planted are often planted as windbreakers, or even through soil erosion reduction tools, privacy maintaining ways, and as walls, barriers, and fences. As the name goes, they will always stay green throughout the four seasons.

Some people identify conifers as evergreens, but conifers are a species among different species of evergreen plants, and examples of some conifers are pine, red cedar, and blue spruce, which again you will not see them losing their leaves when the seasons change. Plants like live oak, along with holly, eucalyptus, and rainforest trees, are also evergreens.


– Shape and Texture of The Trees

Not only do the color, characteristics, and shape of the leaves help identify trees, but also the shape, size, texture, and traits of the tree, bark, fruit, blooms, and its size is useful to determine the category of a tree. Deciduous plants are giant flowering hardwoods with blossoms that produce seeds and fruits most of the time, which would be thriving in spring. 

Regarding shape, a deciduous tree is usually rounded, with branches extending out while growing. In contrast, evergreen trees cultivate from tiny seedlings to enormous sizes that can be over 100 feet tall.

Evergreen trees are conifers, which means they have cones that develop on the limbs of the trees and tapered needles, and some evergreen plants contain bundles of needles that can be smooth and spherical, emerging in packs of two, three, or five, while some have needles that are flat.

The needles can have different lengths; for instance, fir and spruce species have tinier needles, while particular sorts of pines retain eight to 12-inch long needles.

These needles could be unbendable and tickling or flexible types, such as the cedar, pine, spruce, fir, cypress, and hemlock are all evergreen trees. The trees have a pleasant smell and short, prickly needles or clumps of long, thin needles.

Cones are a significant feature of evergreen plants, and you can identify evergreens by the existence of cones, while there is no cone in the structure of deciduous trees.

– Seeds

Another striking contrast between deciduous and coniferous trees is their ways of reproduction which can be visible by the structure of the seed of the deciduous fruit trees and evergreen fruit trees. 

Deciduous trees beget rugged capsules or fruits with seeds shielded by a hard surface such as the pit of the peach tree, for instance.

Seeds of the Trees

Birds and animals consume these seeds and spread them via their droppings, usually far from where they found the place. Thus, the new trees get cultivated by the seeds, or through the self-seeding process that they are characterized with.

Additionally, the evergreen cones hold seeds that can be wrinkled for prospective planting and supplying meals for birds and little animals.

Cedars, yews, cypresses, hemlocks, pines, etc., are conifers, also known as corn-bearing seed trees are evergreens such as the pine cone. In cold climates, most evergreens stay conifers since broad-leaved evergreen plants cannot tolerate frigid weather.

– Bark

You can also differentiate between evergreen and deciduous trees by their bark. Evergreens’ bark differs from deciduous plants regarding thickness, hue, and texture.

The volume of the bark of the evergreens can be reasonably thin, even thick to a foot, and the bark’s color can be brown, yellowish brown, slightly red-brown, deep brown, cinnamon, silver, murky, or black.

Deciduous tree bark remains soft and smooth when the tree is youthful. But it originates ridges as it evolves and becomes a fully grown tree, and the tree begets thorns on its stems and trunk. By looking at the barks of a tree, you can easily recognize whether it is deciduous or evergreen.

– Fragrance

The fragrances of conifer and deciduous trees are different. After peeling a piece of bark or crushing a few needles of a conifer, you will be mesmerized by the reviving and sharply strong scent. 

A way of identification of the evergreen trees, is that they would usually have terpenes which are frequently distilled and used to make essential oil pinene.

Fragrance of the Tree

These trees, such as spruce, fir, cedar, etc., contain a distinctive fragrance, and you may identify their smells as their aroma is quite famous due to being used in candles and cosmetics like shampoo, ointments, and soaps.

On the other hand, deciduous forests hold a green odor which can be described as a smell with fresh and reviving notes similar to newly cut grass or stems, or green foliage, mosses, green tea, or another new and green aroma.

This odor is also known as the smell of the abundance of chlorophyll which is the chemical that embraces the green color of the leaf. 


There are several tree species worldwide, but we mainly categorize them into evergreen and deciduous trees.

We have already told you how you can tell the difference between two trees, but let’s remember the article’s key points to revise our gathered knowledge.

  • There are mainly two types of trees. One is evergreen trees, and the other is deciduous trees, and you can tell the difference between them by looking at their leaves, barks, shape, and texture of the body and fragrance.
  • The leaves of the evergreen plants always remain green throughout the year and don’t fall seasonally, while the leaves of the deciduous plants change their green color into yellow or orange in the fall season, and the leaves fall every winter.
  • Deciduous plants are generally hardwoods, and evergreens are generally softwoods. Deciduous plants don’t have cones, while one of the significant features of evergreen plants is having cones.
  • The bark of the evergreens can be thin to thick to a foot and have the color brown, yellowish brown, murky, or black, etc., while the bark of this deciduous tree is smooth as young and contains ridges after being grown up.
  • Evergreens have reviving fresh, sweet, and pungent scents, while deciduous plants have green fragrances.

So, you now know how to identify an evergreen tree and a deciduous tree. Next, you won’t have trouble recognizing any tree when walking by a park, garden, or neighborhood.

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