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Public-images-osm logo.svg natural = tree
A single tree Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Group: natural
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

A single tree, sometimes lone or significant.

How to map

Place a node node at the location of the tree's trunk with the tag natural=tree.

Additional tags

  • leaf_type=broadleaved/needleleaved - describes the type of leaves.
  • genus=* - scientific name of the genus (first part of the scientific name). If you add species=* this is not necessary.
  • species=* - scientific name of the species (popularly known as the Latin name). Please use the namespaces for local languages (see examples).
    • species:wikidata=* — a machine-readable Wikidata entry of a species. The value must match the Wikidata entry, which is a plant taxon instance of (P31)=taxon(Q16521). In this case, information on parent taxa, names in world languages, Wikipedia articles, and other attributes specific to the taxon would be possible from the Wikidata database. For example, a linden would have the description species:wikidata=Q158746, as identifier Q158746 corresponds to the biological species Tilia cordata (Small-leaved linden). In the iD editor, identifiers are suggested as you enter the name of the taxon in the national language. In iD, when species:wikidata=* is specified, the Wikipedia article in the national language is automatically loaded. species:wikidata=* does not replace species=* but supplements it for unambiguous species identification. Therefore, fill in both values.
  • taxon=* - scientific name describing any taxonomic level e.g. order, family, genus, species, sub-species or cultivar.
  • sex=male/female - Some species are dioecious, meaning that an individual has only male or only female flowers. A good known example are all willows (Salix).
  • protected=yes/no - Some trees have tree preservation order these Trees are looked after by local groups or councils. This protection can be set because of the importance for local community, protected local species, provide protection or other.
  • circumference=* - for the circumference of the trunk (measured in a height of 1.3 metre above ground). If no unit is given metres are assumed.
  • diameter=* - Alternative for circumference, the diameter of the tree trunk measured at 1.30 meters from the ground. This is conventionally done in arboriculture where it is called Diameter at breast height (DBH). If no unit is given millimetres are assumed. See also diameter:range=*.
  • est_height=* - estimated height for a tree
  • height=* - for the actual height. See also height:range=*.
  • diameter_crown=* - for the diameter of the crown of foliage of the tree (i.e. the diameter of the smallest cylinder that would contain all of the branches, leaves, trunk and any other above-ground parts of the tree). If no unit is given metres are assumed.
  • leaf_cycle=deciduous/evergreen/semi_deciduous/semi_evergreen - describes the phenology of leaves.

See other, undiscussed ideas at the plant descriptors page.

List of genus, leaf cycle, and leaf type

Main article: List of genus, leaf cycle, and leaf type

The taxonomic rank "genus" and "species" of the biological classification (kingdom → phylum → class → order → family → genus → species ...) are used for trees in OSM, as in the following example:

genus species leaf_cycle=*
(deciduous or evergreen)
(needleleaved or broadleaved)
genus=* genus:en genus:fr species=* species:en species:fr
Quercus Oak Chêne Quercus ilex holm Oak Chêne vert evergreen broadleaved
Platanus Plane Platane Platanus × hispanica London plane Platane commun deciduous broadleaved

Palm trees

"Palm trees" are trees of the family  Arecaceae. As of 2021-09-06 there is no community consensus on how to tag these trees, although several different tags are in use. Most of these tags are technically incorrect, because palm is not the scientific name of these trees and palm trees are a family rather than a genus or species. See Talk:Tags for Palm trees.

Use of redundant tags

Many tags associated with trees may be regarded as redundant as they can be derived from other tags. This is particularly true if the species is tagged (either with species or with taxon at species level or below), but in most cases also if only the Genus is tagged. In these cases properties are potentially derivable directly from the species/genus/taxon.

However it is often useful to retain (& even add) these values (e.g. genus, leaf_type, leaf_cycle) for the following reasons:

  • Some genera, notably the Oaks, Quercus, have species which are deciduous and others which are evergreen. Thus the combination just with genus is not adequate.
  • The original mapper may not have identified the tree, but did know that it was deciduous, and identification was added later.
  • It makes life easier for consuming the data for applications which do not require precise botanical names. Lookups on genus/species/taxon names are not always as straightforward as one might expect. Trees may have completely different generic names in different countries, or the name may have changed but mappers are using older reference material.
  • Mappers don't always identify trees correctly. leaf_cycle & leaf_type are less susceptible to errors.
  • leaf_type & leaf_cycle are much easier to verify at most times of year. Some tree identifications will take more time than a mapper might wish to spare, but obvious changes will be easier to spot.

Subtag denotation to indicate the significance

It can be helpful to further describe the context and significance of a tree. It can be used for some maps to enhance landmarks and to tone down or skip unremarkable trees. There are some further suggestions for this on the discussion page. denotation=* seems to be widely in use. To mark monumental trees: additional monument=yes (compare to historic=monument).

Tree rows

If you want to map a line of trees, have a look at natural=tree_row. (When along a road, this is sometimes called "avenue of trees", allé or allée.) This approach can also be combined with individually mapped trees for further details.

Tree stumps and stubs

You can mark cut down trees with natural=tree_stump for stumps; e.g. to reduce the probability that trees get redrawn from outdated aerial imagery.

Fallen trees

When a tree falls on top of a path, this can be mapped with barrier=log. However, some fallen trees form a landmark in themselves, especially when they were a denotation=natural_monument. Some mappers have used natural=fallen_tree to map such fallen trees.


Tagging examples

A walnut tree (common walnut):

An oak tree (unknown species):

A spruce tree (unknown species):

A birch tree (unknown species):

A Canary Island date palm:

For notable trees:

Rendering examples

Renderers may use one map symbol for any kind of tree. If foliage dependent symbols (as above) shall be applied, the easiest solution is to evaluate the leaf_type=* and leaf_cycle=* tags. If these are unset, you can derive them from the genus. The genus is the value of the genus=* tag. It is also the first portion (substring before the first whitespace) of the value of the species=* tag.

Straßenraumkarte Neukölln renders trees based on leaf_type=broadleaved or leaf_type=needleleaved and diameter_crown=*.

3D rendering

Trees are rendered in 3D by F4 Map and Streets GL. Streets GL also evaluates the height=* value when rendering trees and natural=tree_row, or estimates it by other tags[1].

Evolution of use

Initially this tag was supposed to be used only for lone or significant trees (As nothing in tag name itself indicated that it was not supposed to be used for ordinary trees it was used to mark trees that were neither lone nor significant - ignoring the definition on wiki).

Currently it is commonly used to mark normal trees and other tags were introduced to mark that tree is significant.

See also


  1. estimate tree height (part of StrandedKitty#49), streets-gl GitHub, 14 Jun 14 2023