Nature Trees & Leaves Photo Guide Simple Smooth-edged Leaves  

 Simple Smooth-edged Leaves

Single leaves with smooth edges, attached singly to a stalk.

Coastal Plain Willow
Flowering Dogwood
Eastern Redbud
Common Persimmon

 Coastal Plain Willow

Willow family. Salix Caroliniana
Common name: Southern Willow

The simple smooth-edged narrow leaves are 2-4" long, green above and whitish underneath.


Coastal Plain Willow grows where it's very moist, on sand and gravel bars and stream banks. 

It will grow to 30' high. This one is about 25' long. It spreads along a gravel bar by Bryant Creek.

 Flowering Dogwood
Dogwood family. Cornus florida

The shiny simple smooth-edged leaves are 2.5-5" long. In this picture the stalks and twigs are green, but they turn reddish in the fall.


Flowering dogwoods are understory trees. They bloom before being shaded by taller trees. Their blossoms seem to float through the woods in April, before trees have begun to leaf out.
The real flowers are crowded into the center.  Four white petals, called bracts, make them appear showy white.
 Eastern Redbud 
Legume family.
Cercis canadensis

Common name: judas-tree.

Redbuds, understory trees, bloom throughout the woods at the start of April. Flowers cover the twigs and smaller branches.


Their simple heart-shaped leaves are 2.5" to 4.5" long with smooth edges.
Pods, carrying bean-shaped seeds, grow from their twigs and branches.
 Common Persimmon
Ebony family.
Dyospyros virginiana

These leaves are from 2" to 6" long. They are  oval, smooth around the edges, thick and shiny. Among them you can see a green persimmon. It will ripen in the fall and taste best after the first frost.


This persimmon is about 30 feet high.  They will grow to 70 feet. 

They grow all through the river valley, along roads, and in old fields, like this one. 


Annona (Custard Apple) family.
Asimina triloba

Pawpaws are understory trees. You can find them by looking for their big floppy leaves.  In late summer, check carefully for their delicious fruits.



Pawpaw leaves are large
(7-10"), simple, smooth-edged, and get broader toward the tip.

More about pawpaws:
The Pawpaw Patch


Sources: National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees, Eastern Region,by Elbert L. Little, 2000, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Flora of Missouri,by Julian A.Steyermark, Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, 1981. Photos and text by Peter Callaway.

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