Plant ID forum: 20 foot high oddity

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SE Pennsylvania
Delawareman
Mar 10, 2018 8:14 AM CST
Can you help me identify this plant? I found it growing on a steep rocky hill in SE Pennsylvania. It has huge branches that are straight and hollow that reach 20 feet or more. It is obviously winter time, don't know how it looks in spring/summer.


Thumb of 2018-03-10/Delawareman/e1a8df


Thumb of 2018-03-10/Delawareman/fd1cef

Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Mar 10, 2018 9:55 AM CST
Go Blue Hens, pretty tough without other info like leaves flowers etc

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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
Mar 10, 2018 9:56 AM CST
You can help us ID plants like this by providing more standard information. If you can get additional images, that will be beneficial.

**Is this your property? If not, is it public land? Do you know anything at all about land management practices there? Telling us a nearby city/county/etc. will help a lot too. SE PA includes Philadelphia, as well as far less urbanized places - and a wide variety of soil types.

**Take closeups that show critical plant ID features, like dormant buds, leaves, fruit, flowers, etc. I understand that some of those growing season plant parts are not evident, but sometimes there are quite obvious parts laying on the ground that can be illustrated. Dormant bud images are key in this instance.

IF THAT PLANT HAS OPPOSITE BUDS:

That looks like an Ash species (Fraxinus sp.), and by its location probably White Ash (Fraxinus americana). Ash doesn't typically have young stems with all those lenticels, though.

This genus is beset by an invasive exotic insect pest, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The borer larvae tunnel under the bark, eating the vascular tissues of the tree which eventually kills trees. The root systems, however, are still alive, so the plant can resprout - as in the image provided.

Alternatively - if EAB is not in evidence in your area, these could be resprouts from smaller ash trees which were cut down previously. I see stems laying on the ground in the first image, on which are dormant buds.

IF THAT PLANT HAS ALTERNATE BUDS:

That plant could be Royal Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa), which is an invasive exotic from Asia. It is possible that these are resprout stems from trunks previously cut down by land managers trying to eliminate this pestiferous woody species. The heavily lenticelled stems are indicative of this species - but I can't see any buds clearly on the stems to determine that.

Can you give us more information?

John
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Mar 10, 2018 10:07 AM CST
As I look at this more, I really think these are Paulownia tomentosa sprouts.
John
Perthshire. SCOTLAND. UK
Region: United Kingdom Plant Identifier
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Silversurfer
Mar 10, 2018 10:23 AM CST
ViburnumValley said:As I look at this more, I really think these are Paulownia tomentosa sprouts.


I agree...hollow stems, vigorous growth, bark....all fit.

[Last edited by Silversurfer - Mar 10, 2018 10:23 AM (+)]
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purpleinopp
Mar 10, 2018 11:00 AM CST
And inability to grow taller in the climate where found.
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SE Pennsylvania
Delawareman
Mar 10, 2018 12:10 PM CST
Hi thanks for the comments.

To those thank think it could be Paulownia tomentosa I think you could be right after researching the description. I think I remember seeing some of the fruit or acorn shells like what I see in descriptions. This is on a wooded section of my property in Nether Providence, PA. I don't get to it often and hadn't noticed it before. I was actually looking for saplings I could transplant to replace some of our Ash trees that I had to be cut down b/c of the beetle. It is really sad about the Ash tree, several of ours tower prob 150-200 ft and greater than 36 wide and one greater than 60 inch. So sad

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