How to Identify a Flowering Tree Bush in Virginia

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Flowering trees or bushes in Virginia
Flowering trees or bushes in Virginia (Image: Flowering crab apple tree image by Bluegill from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

According to Virginia Technical University, there are six parts of the tree you need to examine to identify a tree. These include type of tree, leaf, bark, fruit, twig and form. Many flowering trees or bushes are native to Virginia. Properly identifying a flowering tree or bush in Virginia by using a dichotomous key you will enable you to feed, care for and prune the specific plant. Flowering trees or bushes in Virginia range in color from shades of yellow, green and white to bright red and shades of pink.

Things You'll Need

  • Dichotomous key
  • Camera

Use a dichotomous key to identify a flowering tree or bush in Virginia. A dichotomous key is a tool in biology that narrows down what you are trying to identify by asking a series of questions, each of which has only two possible answers. A flowering tree or bush in Virginia will have certain specific characteristics that can be used for identification.

Twig and flowers of a flowering bush in Virginia
Twig and flowers of a flowering bush in Virginia (Image: early spring yellow flower on the bush image by Kostyantyn Ivanyshen from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Start with the leaf of the flowering tree or bush. By using available online dichotomous keys you can compare the leaf to images and characteristics of other leaves. Continue this process, narrowing down the possibilities by looking at bark, fruit, twig and form. By answering each question in the dichotomous key you can identify the flowering tree or bush in question.

Cherry blossom in Virginia
Cherry blossom in Virginia (Image: Cherry Blossom image by cat from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Take a picture of a flowering tree or bush in Virginia and take it to a local tree nursery. A local tree nursery is familiar with the types of flowering trees or bushes in the area and often will immediately identify the flowering tree or bush.

A flowering tree can add fragrance to a garden.
A flowering tree can add fragrance to a garden. (Image: raspberry flower on a bush image by Pavel Bernshtam from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Visit a local horticultural center or a botanical garden in Virginia. If you don't have a photograph of the flowering tree or bush, be prepared to describe the look of the flowering tree or bush to the center employee. The center might need to know what the leaf, flower, twig and and bark look like. Take in a sample leaf and blossom on a twig in a plastic bag for identification; the bag can prevent the spread of any possible plant infection. Often a local horticultural center will have varieties of flowering trees or bushes in their demonstration gardens and can assist in identification of the flowering tree or bush.

Virginia is known for its many varieties of flowering trees and bushes.
Virginia is known for its many varieties of flowering trees and bushes. (Image: wisteria bee #2 image by Stormy Ward from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Tips & Warnings

  • Varieties of flowering trees in Virginia include crab apple, flowering cherry, flowering peach, Japanese dogwood and Saucer magnolia, among others.
  • Varieties of flowering bushes or scrubs in Virginia include azalea, rhododendron and Northern spicebush.
  • While many of the flowering trees, bushes or shrubs in Virginia are spring-blooming varieties, there are also autumn blooming varieties that can add color to a yard or garden into the fall.
  • Some flowering trees or bushes in Virginia are easier to care for than others. Decide on the level of attention you want to devote to a flowering tree or bush.

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