MSU professor explains how to identify native Ozarks trees
SPRINGFIELD — The Ozarks are well-known for their lush forests and beautiful landscapes. But, have you ever wondered the names of certain trees? There are several easy identifying marks you can use to figure it out.
“Once you have a leaf, the next step is figuring out if it is simple or compound,” said Dr. Michelle Bowe, Ph.D., senior instructor of biology at Missouri State University. “If they’re simple, that means they have only one blade, but if they’re compound they have more than one blade.”
From there, you’ll look at the shape of the leaf. Is it heart-shaped? Does it have teeth around the edges? Questions like these can help you identify the type of tree.
What about fruit and nuts from trees?
“I always say it’s better to be safe than sorry,” says Bowe. “Most of the locals trees bear nuts, and are edible. With fleshy fruit like holly berries, you need to be more careful. If you aren’t absolutely certain what a fruit or nut is, avoid it.”
Some fleshy fruits can be poisonous, so it is better be safe than sorry when deciding whether or not to eat a wild plant.
For more information, contact Bowe at 417-836-6189.