Plant ID forum: Need help identifying a tree, northeastern Illinois

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Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Sep 3, 2016 8:49 PM CST
I just moved this summer and this tree in my front yard. I'm really curious what it is, but I haven't had any success trying to find it in my tree books or elsewhere online. I really love the shape of the tree and the way its trunks are branched out. And now that these pods started appearing the last few weeks, I'm also curious how much of a messy cleanup I'm going to have this fall Hilarious! . I've only been here since June, so if it flowered, it was before I was here to see it so I have no idea about any flowers.

The tree is about 25' tall and wider than it is tall, in the Chicago area.

Leaves are up to 6" long, up to 3" wide, and usually a bit wider towards the top, alternating on the stem. They feel somewhat leathery and like they have a very fine hairy feel to the top of the leaf. There is no milky or white substance from the leaves at all if you break one.

The fruit or nuts or whatevers are fuzzy and form singly, not in clusters, not sticky at all. On older branches though they can sprout at every leaf joint.

Thanks for any help.
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier
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crawgarden
Sep 3, 2016 8:54 PM CST
Looks magnolia like
Name: Scott
Dover, NY (Zone 6a)
Region: United States of America
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ScottD
Sep 3, 2016 11:07 PM CST
Just a guess of a tree you might want to look at is black gum Nyssa sylvatica. Leaf looks similar, but like said not sure. The tree is known for it's Fall color so may help when see this Fall.
Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Sep 4, 2016 3:24 AM CST
crawgarden said:Looks magnolia like

That was one of my guesses as well, and the cucumber magnolia seems to best match with my photos, except for the bark of the tree. The bark on this tree has what looks like short horizontal lines staggered all around the trunks. In image 5 there's 2 brown clumps which look like it could be 2 dead large flowers that rotted away and never fell off. I never noticed them myself, but the camera picked them up. I'll have to try and find those spots tomorrow during daylight if I can make out better what they are exactly.

ScottD said:Just a guess of a tree you might want to look at is black gum Nyssa sylvatica. Leaf looks similar, but like said not sure. The tree is known for it's Fall color so may help when see this Fall.

I checked out this tree, and I don't think that's it. The leaf shape is the same, but the leaves on my tree are very dull, not shiny at all as I've seen in pictures of the black gum. Also again the bark doesn't look like the bark on my tree at all. There are no small round berries as I've seen on the black gum images either.

The cucumber magnolia is still the closest match, except for the bark as I said.

Edit: I dug out some old pics I had taken in years past from the Chicago Botanic Garden near me of magnolia trees, and found a few good enough images that showed bark the same as my tree. So I did more digging and found this magnolia, Rustica Rubra Saucer:

https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/magnolia-%C3%97-so...

This really seems like the closest match so far. Are these pod things that are sprouting now seeds or next year's flowers? If it's a magnolia, I'm absolutely thrilled, I love the flowers and look forward to seeing the trees in bloom every spring.





[Last edited by Murky - Sep 4, 2016 4:44 AM (+)]
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Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Sep 4, 2016 6:24 AM CST
When I opened my drapes from my bedroom window this morning, I saw this:

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I'd say it's definitely a magnolia at this point. It looks like it's ready to bloom now though. Is that normal for magnolias that these buds will stay over winter like this? I've never "lived" with one before or noticed them at other times of the year in other gardens.

Name: Scott
Dover, NY (Zone 6a)
Region: United States of America
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ScottD
Sep 4, 2016 7:07 AM CST
Read something on one of the magnolia websites (think magnolia society) that some cultivars may flower sporadically through the summer and fall. So maybe will bloom. If see flower that should help narrow down a cultivar.
Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Sep 4, 2016 7:37 AM CST
Thanks for that info. That site is mind-boggling! There's over 1000 cultivars they have listed. I'll watch this bud to see if it opens and will be sure to grab a lot of pics of it, I think that will help a lot in pinning down which magnolia. And of course I'll watch if any more buds will start to actually open up like this one did. Most of them are very small still, I was really surprised to see this one bud this morning.

But I'm happy just knowing it's a magnolia at this point, and hope it will have the typical spring flowers.

I should be heading to the Chicago Botanic Garden again tomorrow, I'll have to be sure and really scrutinize their magnolias and see they have any buds that look like they're about to open.
[Last edited by Murky - Sep 4, 2016 7:39 AM (+)]
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Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Sep 4, 2016 7:42 AM CST
Magnolias fully bloom in the spring and then some varieties will have a second blooming in August/September, with a several blooms typically, not nearly as floriferous as the spring, and not as notable, as most magnolias in spring produce flowers prior to leaves emerging. Enjoy.
Tracey
[Last edited by magnolialover - Sep 4, 2016 5:53 PM (+)]
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Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Sep 4, 2016 1:36 PM CST
Thanks for that info. I'm really looking forward to seeing it in the spring now. And thrilled beyond belief that I have a fully grown, mature magnolia tree right outside my bedroom windows! Hurray!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Sep 4, 2016 4:01 PM CST
Definitely a magnolia, definitely not a Cucumber magnolia. Both flower color and form of the tree is way off.

Don't be surprised if individual flowers aren't very photogenic. They may not always be perfectly formed, but they sure put on a fantastic show en mass!
Northeastern Illinois (Zone 5b)
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Murky
Sep 4, 2016 6:51 PM CST
Yes, I pretty much ruled out the cucumber early on inspite of there being some similarities. Like you said, tree form was off as well as the bark. I had no idea about the color of the flowers at the time I was considering it, the one bud with color just appeared this morning, so I'm glad that's another confirmation that it's not a cucumber. And the pink/white flowers on magnolias are my favorite. At least it's looking like I'll get to see a full flower soon and not have to wait until spring. And yes, I realize the individual flowers aren't much, it's the total package that's so "ooooooooooh!"

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