Plant ID forum: Mystery Tree - Help Needed

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Kekas
Apr 19, 2017 12:19 PM CST
We are new to this house and area and are confused about some plants growing around the house. We would appreciate any help in identifying the tree we have in the backyard. It is deciduous. (We are in Texas, if it helps)

Thank you!

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[Last edited by Kekas - Apr 20, 2017 10:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 19, 2017 12:39 PM CST
The foliage looks like soapberry, but the upright growth is unusual for soapberry.
Porkpal
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Apr 19, 2017 1:53 PM CST
I think soapberry has alternate leaflets? This one looks to have alternate leaves and opposite leaflets but hard to be sure. It also seems to be missing a terminal leaflet which may help. I thought black walnut, but the bark looks too smooth. Then I thought Ailanthus but the leaflets don't look to have the little lobe at the base.

Is it possible to split open a twig to see if there is chambered pith, as in these pictures?

https://www.google.ca/search?q...

Kekas
Apr 19, 2017 2:09 PM CST
sooby said:I think soapberry has alternate leaflets? This one looks to have alternate leaves and opposite leaflets but hard to be sure. It also seems to be missing a terminal leaflet which may help. I thought black walnut, but the bark looks too smooth. Then I thought Ailanthus but the leaflets don't look to have the little lobe at the base.

Is it possible to split open a twig to see if there is chambered pith, as in these pictures?




Thank you for all your help! I hope this helps.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 19, 2017 3:37 PM CST
My soapberry has alternate leaves and leaflets that vary from almost opposite to alternate. It also has no terminal leaflet. But I don't think this tree is soapberry.
Porkpal

Kekas
Apr 20, 2017 10:42 AM CST
Kekas said:We are new to this house and area and are confused about some plants growing around the house. We would appreciate any help in identifying the tree we have in the backyard. It is deciduous. (We are in Texas, if it helps)

Thank you!



Clicked some pics of the bark and a leaf for reference.




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Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
Apr 21, 2017 3:07 PM CST
Ailanthus.. do the leaves or bark smell?
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Apr 21, 2017 3:22 PM CST
Henhouse said:Ailanthus.. do the leaves or bark smell?


I kept coming back to Ailanthus but a characteristic for identification is said to be the small lobes at the leaflet bases and two glands as in this picture.

https://bugwoodcloud.org/image...

I can't see any lobes in the pics so far, perhaps the OP can check.

The leaves look like black walnut but the pith and bark don't match.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Apr 21, 2017 6:42 PM CST
It's somewhat like Pistacia chinensis but again the bark doesn't seem right. I wonder if it could be something else in the Anacardiaceae?

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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Apr 21, 2017 6:44 PM CST
My first thought was also Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 21, 2017 8:31 PM CST
Interesting. Some of those pictures of Tree of Heaven show a terminal leaflet and some do not...?
Porkpal
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Apr 22, 2017 6:10 AM CST
porkpal said:Interesting. Some of those pictures of Tree of Heaven show a terminal leaflet and some do not...?


I think some of the pictures in the database are not Ailanthus. If you look at this picture showing both sides of a leaf, you can clearly see the lobes that should be there, but also that the leaf margins are smooth. In some of the database pictures they are toothed:

Pic showing both sides of Ailanthus leaf:
https://www.google.ca/search?q...:

This picture of Ailanthus from the database shows the lobes at the leaflet bases also:



So unless there are lobes (and glands) that we can't see on the leaflets of the ID tree it doesn't seem to be Ailanthus. The other useful feature of the ID tree is the smooth bark with lenticels.

Edited to add, looking at the database pics again, Lin - are you sure that is Ailanthus in your picture? It seems to have all terminal leaflets (some plants can vary and I've never grown Ailanthus) but I also don't see the lobes at the leaflet bases.

Also Ailanthus has orange pith, the ID tree's is white:

Ailanthus pith:
https://www.google.ca/search?q...:


[Last edited by sooby - Apr 22, 2017 7:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Apr 22, 2017 9:58 AM CST
Could it be Cedrela odorata?



I started looking at Toona sinensis, then read that Cedrela is related but native to Mexico.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 22, 2017 10:32 AM CST
The bark looks quite different - more mature tree?
Porkpal
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Apr 22, 2017 10:44 AM CST
porkpal said:The bark looks quite different - more mature tree?


Yes, that was bothering me too. I did find a page that suggested the younger wood had obvious lenticels, and I did find this picture that shows what could have been horizontal lenticels but didn't find a picture of a young tree's bark yet. I know the black walnut doesn't have smooth bark even when quite young, plus the ID plant doesn't have chambered pith, so I guess maybe we need go start looking outside the box to make sure we aren't "barking up the wrong tree" (sorry Hilarious! )

This is a pic of young-er bark on Cedrela, wish I could find one younger:
https://www.google.ca/search?q...:
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Apr 22, 2017 11:01 AM CST
Another page said lenticels are sparse on Cedrela odorata so not encouraging. Maybe we need to hope for flowers or fruit unless someone recognizes it. @Kekas is there any sign of fallen fruits from last year?
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Apr 22, 2017 1:47 PM CST
I wonder if my database photos of Ailanthus altissima are correct; someone here on site identified it as that but I really have no idea.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Apr 22, 2017 2:38 PM CST
plantladylin said:I wonder if my database photos of Ailanthus altissima are correct; someone here on site identified it as that but I really have no idea.


Apparently it may or may not have a terminal leaflet, it may abort. The bark is closer to the ID plant than some of the other possibilities. But then other things don't seem to match, like the pith colour and the leaflet lobes. There's a pic of young bark here:

https://www.extension.iastate....

Lin, do you have any close-ups of the leaf of your tree? Yours seems to have pretty much all terminal leaflets with a longish petiole.

It would be helpful if we could get a close-up of the back of some older leaflets on the ID plant.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 22, 2017 4:36 PM CST
The leaf scars shown on that site look to be a defining characteristic and are not like the mystery tree.
Porkpal

Kekas
Apr 22, 2017 7:42 PM CST
sooby said:

I can't see any lobes in the pics so far, perhaps the OP can check.



I looked for the lobes, but there doesn't seem to be any.

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