Plant ID forum: Mystery shrub

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Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 11, 2017 5:38 PM CST
This shrub is growing in a neighbor's yard in northern Virginia (Zone 7a). I haven't noticed any blooms on it.
Could someone ID it from these photos? I can get some photos showing more of the branch structure if that would help.
Looking back at the photos, I see that photos 2 and 3 look as if they come from separate shrubs; however, each of those branches are in the shrub "cluster" shown in the first photo.
Thumb of 2017-06-11/Muddy1/fb9e13
Thumb of 2017-06-11/Muddy1/d2bdfd
Thumb of 2017-06-11/Muddy1/8dfe8c


[Last edited by Muddy1 - Jun 11, 2017 5:43 PM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 11, 2017 5:50 PM CST
?? It could be a type of Rhus/Sumac.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Porkpal
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porkpal
Jun 11, 2017 5:53 PM CST
Interesting. Photo #2 shows clearly alternate leaflet arrangement and in photo #3 they are almost opposite (?)
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Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 11, 2017 6:29 PM CST
The branch with almost-opposite leaflet arrangement reminds me of Rhus/Sumac,too.

I think there might be 2 different plants growing together there; I'll take a close look tomorrow.
[Last edited by Muddy1 - Jun 11, 2017 6:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 11, 2017 7:11 PM CST
Can you carefully, so as not to cut yourself, split a twig lengthwise and check for chambered pith as in these pictures?:

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

Edited to add - also wear gloves and if the pith is not chambered, see if any milky sap comes out of the cut.
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 11, 2017 7:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 11, 2017 8:41 PM CST
Sure, I can do that; I'll get some twigs tomorrow.
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 12, 2017 11:36 AM CST
Sue, here is a photo showing that the twig does indeed have chambered pith.
Thumb of 2017-06-12/Muddy1/99c7e0

I looked closely and determined that it is just one shrub/tree, with leaflets that vary from almost opposite to alternate on the same branch.
Thumb of 2017-06-12/Muddy1/1928af
Thumb of 2017-06-12/Muddy1/c4b32e
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Thumb of 2017-06-12/Muddy1/967ff0
Thumb of 2017-06-12/Muddy1/aed408

[Last edited by Muddy1 - Jun 12, 2017 11:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 12, 2017 12:46 PM CST
Excellent picture of the chambered pith! That, assuming it's native, makes it a black walnut, Juglans nigra. I guess at some point something caused it to branch and grow as a shrub.
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 12, 2017 12:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 12, 2017 12:57 PM CST
Thanks, Sue!
I think the previous owner planted it (or, it's a volunteer), so it's not necessarily native. Judging from the base, I think it may have been cut down at some point and is trying to grow back.
I'll let them know so they can decide what to do with it!
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 12, 2017 2:26 PM CST
I agree that it looks like Juglans nigra, but.....if we assume the tree is NOT native, is there another possible ID?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 12, 2017 2:57 PM CST
References I have say that the only plants with compound leaves and chambered pith are the black walnut and butternut. Other characteristics of the leaves point to black walnut rather than butternut (i.e. the terminal leaflet is missing on many of the leaves in your pictures or, when present, is smaller than the leaflets in the middle of the leaf.

When they say these are the only plants, does that mean in North America since they are North American references, or worldwide? Even many non-native plants are listed in identification references so I still think it is black walnut but is there another plant somewhere in the world that has alternate pinnately compound leaves and chambered pith? That I don't know.

It does have the look of a black walnut to me, which is why I suspected it would have the chambered pith Smiling

I should add that the leaflets varying from opposite to alternate is also a characteristic of black walnut.
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 12, 2017 2:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 12, 2017 5:33 PM CST
Thanks for the additional details, Sue; they're very useful for this particular ID as well as for future reference!
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
Jun 12, 2017 9:43 PM CST
Good grief.

All those features are good to examine, if you don't know Black Walnut at 10 paces. I especially enjoyed that someone suggested - and then examined - the pith. That never happens round these parts.

Otherwise: crush a leaf or two, or break a twig. If you can't tell it is Black Walnut from the aroma, give up and go into Sanitation Engineering.

That is Juglans nigra, up down and sideways.
John
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 13, 2017 5:34 PM CST
Thanks for the additional input, VV, and thanks again to Sooby for the excellent help!
I was not at all familiar with Black Walnut, and I wanted to be especially sure to get a firm ID because this isn't my tree, and I don't want to mislead my neighbors.
I am beyond thoroughly convinced that it is Juglans nigra, but now I think I'll have to crush some leaves just so I know what it smells like Smiling
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Jun 14, 2017 9:39 PM CST
And then...go collect Walnut seed/fruit when they mature and drop.

You will gain the experience of permanently stained skin, and the wonderful aroma of Walnut on your hands/fingers for oh, a month or so.

For a preview: go to a store where they sell Walnut stains for treating wood. Open a can, inhale, and forever know that scent.
John
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 15, 2017 1:41 PM CST
Ah! Fond memories... Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 15, 2017 6:38 PM CST
Good idea! Walnut stain would do a very nice job of concealing the ground-in soil in my fingers and nails Smiling
Name: Nora
Castlegar, B. C. Canada (Zone 5b)
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HemNorth
Jun 16, 2017 4:31 AM CST
@Muddy1 - The Black Walnut "shrub" grows into a sizeable tree.
Thumb of 2017-06-16/HemNorth/64f377
The one on the right is the parent tree, - 85 years old, and on the left, the junior tree is 70 years old. These photos were taken 10 years ago when we lived at Riverview, Robson.
Thumb of 2017-06-16/HemNorth/c0e0a8 Thumb of 2017-06-16/HemNorth/f96a9f
The parent tree had quite a height and spread. These are fall photos, and the black walnuts littered the ground.
Thumb of 2017-06-16/HemNorth/a2127b Thumb of 2017-06-16/HemNorth/cde4aa
The seedling here is about 3 to 4 ft. The last photo shows a seedling that was about 20 years old. It had to be removed, being right on the property line.

Just to show that they can be a bit of a problem tree. We used to gather 5 or 6 wheelbarrows full of walnuts in October, and chuck them down the bank.They did have edible nut meat inside them, but you needed a hammer to try to break them open.




Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 16, 2017 12:16 PM CST
A hammer and a brick or other hard surface! I can appreciate the cost of buying them shelled as I have done it.
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Jun 16, 2017 9:46 PM CST
Those were beautiful trees, Nora.

Fortunately, the Black Walnut is not growing in my yard, because I wouldn't have room for it! I wish I did; I love that yellow fall color
My neighbor is glad that her mystery tree has been identified so that she can decide what to do with it.
[Last edited by Muddy1 - Jun 16, 2017 9:46 PM (+)]
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