Trees with tough, durable foliage
Leathery is an adjective that is used to describe a leaf's texture -- that is, how it feels when you hold the leaf between your fingers. A leaf's texture is a entirely separate characteristic from its size, shape, or color.
"Leathery" is the opposite of delicate. Leathery leaves are tough and durable. They are a bit thicker than most leaves, and they're somewhat pliable. They have a texture that's similar to thin leather. They are not easily torn by accident. A leathery leaf would never be called "limp" -- rather, they are substantial leaves.
When you're wondering if a tree's foliage would be described as leathery, examine a mature leaf. The leaves of a few tree species are leathery as soon as they pop out of the bud, but the leaves of various others are delicate at first but become leathery as they mature.
Homeowners should be aware that leathery leaves are slow to deteriorate. Raking will be needed to remove fallen leaves from the lawn.
Here are some examples of deciduous native trees of North America that have leathery leaves. The Latin names are linked to the trees' respective pages in the USDA Plants database.
Alnus serrulata -- Hazel alder (leaf image)
Fagus grandifolia -- American beech (leaf image)
Liquidambar styraciflua -- American sweetgum (leaf image)
Magnolia acuminata -- Cucumbertree magnolia (leaf inage)
Prunus serotina -- Black cherry (leaf image)
Quercus alba -- White oak (leaf image)
Quercus bicolor -- Swamp white oak (leaf image)
Quercus prinus -- Chestnut oak (leaf image)
Quercus stellata -- Post oak (leaf image)
Rhododendron maximum -- Rosebay rhododendron (leaf image)