Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Identify Fruit Trees by Leaf

By Elton Dunn ; Updated September 21, 2017
Apple leaves are olive-green.
Apple-tree image by zalisa from Fotolia.com

Learning to identify fruit trees by their leaves can help you determine what you've got growing in your yard before the fruits develop, and to note fruit trees around your neighborhood, so you can harvest extra fruit when it ripens. While fruit trees leaves can initially be challenging to identify without developing fruit to confirm your suspicions, small details set each type of common fruit tree leaves apart. Over time, you'll learn to tell the difference quickly and accurately.

Note fat ovoid leaves that are deep green to olive-green in color and have teeth along the edges--not especially deep teeth but noticeable. These are apple leaves. They have a greenish-silver tint on the underside and feel rough and hairy.

Note the close veins on cherry leaves.
sweet cherry tree image by jim from Fotolia.com

Check the veins on the leaf. If they are close together and the leaf is bright green rather than dark green, you have a cherry tree. Cherry tree leaves also have teeth and are fat ovoid in shape. They average 2 to 6 inches long and are alternately arranged on the stem for a staggered appearance.

Peach leaves curl downward.
Peach Tree in Sinai Egypt image by Rafik Elmlansy from Fotolia.com

Observe trees with elongated, skinny ovoid leaves ranging 3 to 6 inches in length. If the leaves curl inward (so they form a V shape) and fold downward, they are peach or nectarine tree leaves. Peach leaves have a slightly bitter fragrance that you can detect when you crush them in your hand. If you find a tree with skinny ovoid leaves that are shorter--1 to 4 inches long--and do not curl distinctively, it is likely a pear tree.

Citrus leaves are glossy and have petioles.
orange tree image by Diane Stamatelatos from Fotolia.com

Notice whether there appears to be another round leaf at the base of the leaf, just before the stem. This extra growth--known as a petiole--indicates that you've found a citrus tree. In general, grapefruit leaves are dark green and glossy. They have large petioles. Lemon and orange leaves are both thinner and lighter in color, but you can still see the winged petiole.


About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.