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

How to Identify Fruit Trees by Leaves

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated July 21, 2017
Close up of fruit tree.
Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images

Don’t wait for your fruit tree to bear fruit to identify it. Instead, examine the characteristics of its leaves and compare your observations to a database about trees, such as a field guide for trees or a university‘s agriculture or horticulture website. After identifying your tree, you can care for it in a manner that is specific to its needs so you can reap a plentiful and succulent harvest.

Fig leaf.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Observe the shape of the leaves. The leaves may be oval or oblong like an apple tree or lobed like a fig tree. They may also be long and narrow like mango or peach tree leaves.

Cherry tree and leaves.
Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Notice if the margins around the leaves are smooth or have teeth or spines. The edges of fruit tree leaves are usually smooth like grapefruit tree leaves, or have fine teeth, like cherry tree leaves.

Apple leaf.
Valentyn Volkov/iStock/Getty Images

Examine the shine on the leaves. Leaves may be dull like apple tree leaves, or glossy or waxed, like orange tree leaves.

Tangerine leaf.
Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Note the leaf color, which can be dark green like tangerine tree leaves, bright green like nectarine tree leaves or light green like mulberry tree leaves. Some leaves are evergreen, like those in the citrus family.

Peach leaf.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Observe any other identifying characteristics. For example, peach tree leaves curve inward and mango leaves are thick and leathery.

Compare leaves to field guide book.
Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Compare your observations to the leaf descriptions in a tree field guide book, such as the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees” or on a reputable website, such as Purdue University’s “Senior Study Fruit and Nuts.”


About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.