The Q&A Archives: Tree Identification

Question: I am trying to find a source for a small tree that grew in the yard of
the home I grew up in. The tree was approximatly 15 ft. in height. The
leaves were on the small side, maybe 2-3 inches. The trunk was somewhat
gnarled and the bark had a redish brown cast. The branches were covered
in--this is very hard to describe--needles(?) they were spiky little
fibers, about an 8th inch long and as the branches matured the fibers
would become stiffer yet they did not grow longer. The tree would
flower in spring and the pinkish/lavender clusters of blossoms would
hang in the same maner as Wisteria blossoms.

I know all this is very vague yet I have been searching for this plant
for the last 5 years. I grew up in eastern Kansas. Zone 5. The tree
was not a variety that anyone had other than us. It had been planted
by my great aunt (whom my parents purchased the house from) And she was
from the South. Yet my Mother, from southern Miss, does not know what
it was.

If you have any ideas I would appreciate it greatly.

Thank You
Susan Nolte

As a side note the current owners ccut it down to put in a patio.

Answer: As I read your question, I though, I'll never find this! But here's a possibility. I'll quote right out of the Audubon Society's Field Guide to North American Trees:

Clammy Locust (Robinia viscosa): "A small tree with a spreading crown...often spiny, with showy pink flowers and sticky or clammy gland-hairs on twigs, leaf stalks, flower stalks, and pods." Individual flowers are about 3/4" long, shaped like pea flowers, and hang in drooping clusters. The tree produces 2-3" sticky pods, whcih contain the seeds. The range of this tree is from West Virginia southwest to central Alabama, but has become naturalized in other areas.

Now, where to find one! I looked for quite a while, but didn't find any sources. However, both the Arnold Arboretum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden list the tree. And Twombly Nursery lists lots of rare plants:

Arnold Arboretum:

Brooklyn Botanic Garden:

Twombly Nursery:

This should at least give you some leads!

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