Plant ID forum: what is this tree

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Southeast United States
lhmgd218
Jun 5, 2017 12:11 PM CST
Hi! I live in the south east US and moved into a new house. This tree has me very confused. It smells like a very sweet lemon but is very hard and has a white milky center. The outside is green and very firm. Any guesses???
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[Last edited by lhmgd218 - Jun 5, 2017 4:56 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2017 12:27 PM CST
It's certainly not a lemon.

The leaves look like a nut tree; fruit looks like an immature pecan.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
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islander
Jun 5, 2017 12:28 PM CST
Reminds me of a butternut.
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Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 5, 2017 12:28 PM CST

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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2017 12:36 PM CST
I thought of Butternut but I thought they only grew in the northeast part of the US. Shrug!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
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islander
Jun 5, 2017 12:49 PM CST
I had one in the backyard of my folks place. It might not be Butternut but maybe something close.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2017 1:04 PM CST
Welcome!

Black walnut fruits and leaves are supposed to smell lemony, I don't have one handy to sniff and verify. The leaflets look possible for black walnut also. Is it possible to have a picture of a branch with the leaves on it or tell us whether the leaves are opposite or alternate? The picture only shows part of one leaf and its leaflets. It's where the leaf stalk joins onto the twig that is important, plus the number of leaflets.
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islander
Jun 5, 2017 1:09 PM CST
I just did a google search on "Juglans lemon" and noticed Butternut is also called "Lemon Walnut" and several references to it's citrus smelling fruit. Maybe butternut is correct.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2017 1:53 PM CST
The fruit shape seems closer to butternut but the range might not fit, depending where in the SE USA. My field guide gives the range for butternut as S. Quebec east to SW New Brunswick, south to extreme N. Georgia, west to Missouri and Arkansas, and north to E. Minnesota.
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islander
Jun 5, 2017 2:27 PM CST
But, like I said, I had a butternut in the backyard that we didn't plant and I'm on the opposite side of the continent.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2017 2:59 PM CST
islander said:But, like I said, I had a butternut in the backyard that we didn't plant and I'm on the opposite side of the continent.


Good point, I don't know how well it grows in the SE and whether it may have survived butternut canker. But the rachis of Juglans cinerea is supposed to be hairy (can't tell for sure from the picture) and there should be a terminal leaflet.

Terminal leaflet of Juglans cinerea:
https://www.google.ca/search?q...:

Hairy rachis and no petiole on Juglans cinerea:
https://www.google.ca/search?q...:




Southeast United States
lhmgd218
Jun 5, 2017 4:57 PM CST
sooby said: Welcome!

Black walnut fruits and leaves are supposed to smell lemony, I don't have one handy to sniff and verify. The leaflets look possible for black walnut also. Is it possible to have a picture of a branch with the leaves on it or tell us whether the leaves are opposite or alternate? The picture only shows part of one leaf and its leaflets. It's where the leaf stalk joins onto the twig that is important, plus the number of leaflets.

I added another photo!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2017 5:33 PM CST
lhmgd218 said:
I added another photo!


Thanks! It's a bit hard to see but I think the leaves are alternate. There are a few leaves with terminal leaflets but the terminals are small where they occur which is typical of black walnut. Is it possible for you to split a twig to see if it has chambered pith, as in these pictures?

https://www.google.ca/search?q...
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 5, 2017 6:00 PM CST
sooby said:
... a terminal leaflet.


Thanks for adding another photo. I do see a terminal leaflet in that image.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2017 6:11 PM CST
greene said:

Thanks for adding another photo. I do see a terminal leaflet in that image.



Yes but in most leaves it is missing. When the terminal leaflet is mostly missing but is present on some leaves and smaller than the middle leaflets, it's typical of black walnut.

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
Jun 5, 2017 6:23 PM CST
Here's a pic, black walnut top, butternut below. Butternut typically has a terminal leaflet and it is of similar size to the other leaflets whereas in black walnut the terminal is either missing or smaller than the others. What bugs me still, though, is that I would have expected black walnut fruits to be more round?

If there is chambered pith and the leaves are alternate it can only be black walnut or butternut according to my field guide, but that's assuming it's a natural North American species. Of the two native species it more matches black walnut.

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 5, 2017 6:51 PM CST
Sue, I had the same thought on the shape of the fruit. It's been many years since I lived with a Black Walnut though. Shrug!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 5, 2017 7:14 PM CST
ctcarol said:Sue, I had the same thought on the shape of the fruit. It's been many years since I lived with a Black Walnut though. Shrug!


Same here. I've been looking at pictures of the fruits and have seen one or two where they were more lemon-shaped. An article by Purdue suggests there are around 100 named cultivars and the occasional hybrid so I wonder if that could account for the shape.

These two pics show somewhat less round fruits on black walnut:

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

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 5, 2017 7:27 PM CST
Lack of maturity may account for the difference, I suppose. As a kid, I never paid attention. It was the young kids job to hull and break the nuts for the Christmas divinity candy, so they were mature. I don't mind paying the price now because of the work involved. Hilarious!
Salt Spring Island, BC (Zone 8b)
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islander
Jun 5, 2017 9:33 PM CST
I still think it's a Butternut
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