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Author Topic: Help me ID mystery tree  (Read 605 times)

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Offline Dave77WV

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Help me ID mystery tree
« on: June 21, 2019, 10:57:11 AM »
Hello everyone. First I'd like to apologize for being here -- I don't work in forestry and haven't done any significant woodwork since high school but I am in need of help from those who are knowledgeable about both! You see, I live in southern WV (zone 6) and have an unidentifiable tree(s) on my property. None I know personally seem to be able to come up with a match, either. I'd like to pick your brains and see if you can help!

At first I assumed it was a species of Buckthorn (Rhamnus), possibly the invasive Glossy Buckthorn, but as time went on I couldn't find any evidence online of any species of buckthorn having leaves quite like this.I suppose it could be a variant within a more common species but all the individuals have the same sort of problematic leaves.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the flowers or its fruit, though I know both would help identify it much quicker. It flowers pretty early on, if I remember correctly; they are tiny and nondescript with fruit that is a blackish berry. The leaves are deciduous and typically 2-6 inches long (though averaging around 3-5 inches), elliptical and somewhat variable in shape being smoothed edged though many leaves often develop multiple points. No thorns or other armaments have been seen on the tree. The leaves have a weak scent when crushed as does the bark of twigs, when damaged. Reminds me of a hickory leaf but fainter; no where near as lasting, fading after only a moment or two.

So far, it's overall size seems to be small to medium in height. It does reproduce with seedlings appearing occasionally around the property. The seedlings seem to be easily dealt with.. a mowing or two ends them pretty quickly. Have not cut any of the larger specimens so not sure how quickly they may regenerate from a stump (if at all)?

There are currently 11 individual trees over 8 feet on my property, mostly in the same area; the smallest around 11 feet, the tallest probably 30+ feet. All within 50 yards of each other (though I've found seedlings further from the 'grove'. Shade doesn't seem to bother it too much though it does seem to prefer at least some sun.

Any help in identifying this mystery species would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Pics below:


 


 


 

Highly invasive asian species. Morrow Honeysuckle. can be seen beneath it.


 

2 year old sapling


 

Trunk:


 



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Offline Southside

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2019, 11:09:47 AM »
Welcome to the Forum.  This has to be the most detailed post of an unknown tree ever, great job!!  Most have a fuzzy picture from 50' away and say something like, "It's in the south east"...  Can't help you with the ID but perhaps @WDH has some idea.  
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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2019, 03:43:42 PM »
If I had to guess it would be witch hazel, but then again I have not seen one in 35 years.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2019, 05:58:07 PM »
It is blackgum, Nyssa sylvatica.  It is widely distributed and common.  Can attain large size.

Virginia Tech Dendrology Fact Sheet

The fruit is a blue-black drupe ( a drupe is a fruit with a pit like an olive or a cherry).
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Offline Don P

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2019, 07:57:22 PM »
Yup, I have both styles of leaf just outside the back door. If you look up into the trees notice the branches make many 45 degree bends.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2019, 08:41:42 PM »
It also has short shoots where the leaves appear to whorl at the tips of the branches.
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Offline Dave77WV

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2019, 08:25:34 PM »
Ah, thank you everyone! After researching the Blackgum tree it fits it to a "T"! Thanks to the naming, It led me to another website, carolinanature Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) ,which even shows photos too of the leaf variation.

I was genuinely concerned it was another invasive nonnative I had to remove, I'm already fighting an uphill battle against asian honeysuckles, LOL. So glad they can now stay. Now, I can get back to the other 'weeds."

To add to what I already listed, just today I found the "momma" tree about 30 yards back in the forest on a neighbor's property, pushing 60 feet in height, maybe 40 foot wide canopy so it fits too what WDH stated about large size. They'll be left alone; well, except the seedlings in the lawn. Heh.

Again, thanks for the help!  thumbs-up

Offline Don P

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2019, 09:44:03 AM »
It is a native but I consider it to be pretty invasive, don't feel bad if the chainsaw happens to make contact with a whole bunch of them :).
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Offline bluthum

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Re: Help me ID mystery tree
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2019, 01:42:38 PM »
Sometimes when you cut off or other wise annoy one they will root sprout like crazy. Also typically they do not respond well to girdling. Plus side they have beautiful fall foliage. Also wildlife enjoy their berries and the great hollow trunks they often form.


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