Trees in English

Trees in English

“Trees and people used to be good friends.”

(from “My Neighbor Totoro,” 1988)

Would you like to feel closer to nature right now? How about learning a few words at the same time? Read on to boost your English vocabulary and get in the mood for enjoying the great outdoors.

Tree Picture Transcription
Oak yellow-leaf-leaves-autumn /əʊk/
Poplar dreamstime_s_62505693-e1467852645815 /ˈpɒplə/
Pine / pine tree pexels-photo-1012216 /paɪn/
Fir / fir tree pexels-photo-1410224 /fɜː/
Spruce / spruce tree pexels-photo-635014 /spruːs/
Maple / maple tree pexels-photo-715134 /ˈmeɪpəl/
Alder 440px-Alnus_serrulata /ˈɔːldə/
Birch pexels-photo-208154 /bɜːtʃ/
Sycamore Sycamore-tree-900.jpg /ˈsɪkəmɔː/
Elm FieldElmTwigAlphaOptimized.png /elm/
Cedar cedar-branch.png /ˈsiːdə/
Ash / ash tree RTC-AshTreeLeaves.jpg /æʃ/
Willow pexels-photo-961402 /ˈwɪləʊ/
Palm tree / palm pexels-photo-1152359 /pɑːm, pɑːlm/
Cypress cypress-1.jpg /ˈsaɪprɪs/


  1. Trunk – the thick central woody stem of a tree
  2. Bark – the outer covering of a tree
  3. Root – the part of a tree that grows under the ground and gets water from the soil
  4. Leaf (plural – leaves) – one of the flat green parts of a tree that are joined to its stem or branches
  5. Branch – a part of a tree that grows out from the trunk and that has leaves, fruit, or smaller branches growing from it
  6. Twig – a small very thin stem of wood that grows from a branch on a tree
  7. Crown – the upper branching or spreading part of a tree
  8. Cone – the fruit of a pine tree
  9. Needle – a very thin sharp leaf that grows on coniferous /kəˈnɪf(ə)rəs/ trees (e.g. pines)

Screen Shot 2019-05-04 at 17.04.40.png


Pith is a soft white substance that fills the stems of some plants. Annual rings are rings in the cross section of the stem or root of a temperate woody plant, produced by one year’s growth.


  • Money doesn’t grow on trees said to warn someone to be careful how much money they spend, because there is only a limited amount: I won’t buy the second pair of shoes. Money doesn’t grow on trees. 
  • To be barking up the wrong tree – to be trying to do something in a way that will not work; to make a wrong choice, to ask a wrong person, to follow a wrong course: I barked up the wrong tree when I applied to such good colleges with my average grades.
  • The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – a child usually behaves in a similar way to his or her parent(s): Her mother is so rude, and so is she. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 
  • Out on a limb /lɪm– (a limb is a large branch of a tree) in a position where you have no support from other people: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I completely disagree.
  • Root and branch (American English; root and all – British English) – completely: Racism must be eliminated, root and branch.
  • To be up a (gum) tree (British English) – in a very difficult situation: I have no idea how I’m going to get out of this contract – I’m really up a tree now. (a gum tree is a tree that exudes gum, especially a eucalyptus /ˌjuːkəˈlɪptəs/)
  • To be at the top of the tree (British English) – with the most important status or rank: Don’t expect to be at the top of the tree right out of college. It takes time to work your way up.
  • To be out of one’s tree – not thinking in a clear or sensible way; crazy: You’re out of your tree if you think I’ll do that. 
  • I can’t see the wood/forest for the trees – used for saying that someone cannot understand what is important in a situation because they are thinking too much about small details: The way he’s obsessing over one doorknob when we’re renovating the entire house makes me think that he can’t see the wood for the trees.
  • Close as the bark to the tree – as conned as is possible (usually said about a couple): Tina and Jake are close as the bark to the tree. I always see them together. 
  • To go between the bark and the tree – to be overly involved in someone’s personal matters (usually personal matters of a couple): You shouldn’t spend so much time alone with Jennifer – she is a married woman, and you’re going between the bark and the tree!
  • He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree one must work for what one wants: Don’t think you’ll get famous overnight. He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree.
  • As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclinedone’s actions as an adult are dictated by behaviors learned in childhood: He is still awfully stubborn! As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined. 
  • To live in a tree (old-fashioned) – to be very lucky: He’s got a good job and a lovely wife – I’d say he lives in a tree. 
  • To shake one’s treeto arouse to action or reaction, to disturb: I believe people are electing radical candidateslike her because they want to shake the government’s tree.

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