The Q&A Archives: What is it?

Question: We just moved here from Central Florida, where gardening can be done with a kitchen spoon. Here the ground is rock-hard, but we just bought a cultivator, so are making some progress. My question, however, concerns a tree that is growing in our courtyard. I have never seen one like it and cannot identify it from books at the bookstore or library. It has multiple twisted trunks, but is not too tall, maybe 10-12', and the bark is really rugged - reminds me of alligator skin! (Florida mind-set). Leaves are quite tiny, ovate, and grow opposite each other on the twigs. Neighbors don't know what it is and it's not possible to find out from the previous owner. If you can give me a hint, I'll take it from there - and thanks!

Answer: The easiest way to identify a tree is by its flowers, closely followed by the shape of the canopy, leaf structure and bark. I can't identify your tree by the description in your question, but I can guide you in the right direction. Here's a website with descriptions and sketches of dozens of trees commonly grown in South Carolina.
Hope it's a helpful site and that you can identify the tree based upon its content.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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