Teaching > Architectural Conservation II (HP 482) >

Hand-Lens Key

Species in Key
Hand-Lens Key for the Use of Identification of Important Comercial Woods Used in the Unites States
W. R. Adams, revised by R.A. Whitmore, University of Vermont

Example from Hough
Larger view. Largest view.

Species have been linked to examples found inThe American Woods: Exhibited by actual specimens and with copious explanatory text , Volumes I-XIV, by Romeyn B. Hough, Loweville, New York. These volumes include radial, tangential, and cross-sections of 350 North American woods from the fourteen-volume rare book The American Woods: exhibited by actual specimens and with copious explanatory text, published 1888-1910 by the author, Romeyn Beck Hough. The images can be accessed by volume number or by the scientific or common name of each tree. Available online from the Special Collections Department of the NCSU Libraries.

Where species' names have changed, the examples found in Hough ate in brackets. These need to be verified to make certain they are the same species, now renamed.


Common Name
Genus and specie

Douglas Fir

Pseudotsuga menziesii [Pseudopsuga taxifolia]

White Pine

Pinus strobus

Western or Idaho White Pine

Pinus monticola

Sugar Pine

Pinus lambertiana

Southern Pine

Pinus echinata

Pinus elliottii

Pinus taeda

Pinus palustris

Red or Norway Pine

Pinus resinosa

Ponderosa or Western Yellow Pine

Pinus ponderosa

Tamarack, Eastern Larch

Larix laricina [Larix Americana]

Western Larch

Larix occidentalis

Sitka Spruce

Picea sitchensis

Red Spruce

Picea rubens

Black Spruce

Picea mariana [Picea parryana]

White Spruce

Picea glauca [Picea alba]

Engleman Spruce

Picea englemanii

Port Orford Cedar

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Incense Cedar

Libocedrus decurrens

Pencil or Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana

Western Red Cedar

Thuya plicata [Thuja gigantea]

Arborvitae, Northern White Cedar

Thuja occidentalis

Southern White Cedar

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Bald Cypress

Taxodium distichum

Red Wood

Sequoia sempervirens

Balsam Fir

Abies balsame

White Fir

Abies concolor

Eastern Hemlock

Tsuga canadensis

Western Hemlock

Tsuga heterophylla


Castanea dentata

Red Oak

Quercus rubra

Quercus prinus, et al.

White Oak

Quercus alba

Quercus prinus, et al.

Slippery or Red Elm

Ulmus rubra [Ulmus fulva]

White or American Elm

Ulmus americana

Rock Elm

Ulmus thomasii [Ulmus racemosa]

Osage Orange

Maclura pomifera [Toxylon pomiferum]

Black Locust

Robinia pseudoacacia

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Gymnocladus dioicus [Gymnocladus canadensis]

Honey Locust

Gleditsia triacanthos


Sassafras albidum


Catalpa speciosa

Catalpa bigonioides


Diospyros virginiana


Carya ovata [Hicoria ovata]

Carya cordiformis, et al.

Black Ash

Fraxinus nigra [Fraxinus sambucifolia]

White Ash

Fraxinus americana


Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Live or Evergreen Oak

Quercus virginiana [Quercus virens]


Swietenia mahogani

Black Walnut

Juglans cinera


Juglans cinera

Hornbeam, Ironwood, Leverwood

Ostrya virginiana


Platanus occidentalis


Fagus grandifolia [Fagus ferruginea]

Black cherry

Prunus serotina

Hard Maple, Sugar Maple

Acer saccharinum [blister figure; bird's-eye figure]

Soft or Red Maple

Acer rubrum

Sugar Maple

Acer saccharinum

Yellow Birch

Betula alleghaniensis [Betula lutea]

White Birch

Betula papyrifera

Red Gum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica


Nyssa aquatica


Tilia americana


Liriodendron tulipifera

Cucumber Tree

Magnolia acuminata


Aesculus glabra, Aesculus octandra

Black Willow

Salix nigra


Populus deltoides

Aspen, Trembling

Populus tremuloides

Aspen, Big Toothed

Populus grandidentata