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Can You Identify This Tree?

Here we are in December, and one tenacious young deciduous tree has yet to give up most of its leaves. In fact, most of this tree’s leaves are still green, photosynthesizing in the dim light, even though we’re only about 100 miles south of the border with Canada. We’ve had a handful of frosts, a couple down into the upper 20s, but nothing brutal yet. The yarrow and alyssum are still flowering, though the bees don’t seem inclined to come visit them.

The sapling volunteered itself in a front yard flower bed, with enough distance from the house for a tree to be allowed to grow, and I am inclined to allow it to get nice and big where it is. I haven’t seen any other saplings of its kind anywhere close to where I live, so I know that the tree is a good traveler, or came attached to a traveler of some kind.

The leaves remind me a bit of an apple tree, though I’m not really sure. I can’t say that I recognize the bark either. It hasn’t set any kind of flower that I could identify.

Does anyone have an idea of what kind of tree I might have on my hands?

mystery tree


13 thoughts on “Can You Identify This Tree?”

  1. J Clare Peteet says:

    possibly a wild black cherry

    1. J Clifford says:

      Ooh, Green Man, wouldn’t that be awesome? I love black cherries – the fruit and the tree.

    2. Dave says:

      I vote wild black cherry. A disease and caterpillar magnet.

      1. J Clifford says:

        A disease and caterpillar magnet? Tell us more of this woe to come!

      2. Dave says:

        A watery sap will eventually ooze from breaks in the bark, big webs of caterpillar larvae will form on the branch ends, and do you see the ladybug about midway in the pic right under where the trunk forks? It’s probably after the aphids.

        Chop it down. Now.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          I’ve got a wild black cherry, about 30 feet tall, in my yard. It’s a nice tree. I haven’t had the problems Dave identifies.

        2. J Clifford says:

          Okay, Dave, I hear what you’re saying, but what I don’t understand is this: So what if a tree oozes a little bit of sap? So what if a tree hosts caterpillars? Why is that a problem?

          1. Dave says:

            In the woods it’s a good thing, but through many years of vegetable and fruit crops (and I am surrounded by woods) I have had to be aware of volunteer plants that attract bad boy bugs and plant diseases. Cultivation is a good thing too.

            Wild cherry down in the hot, humid region where I live may not be as healthy as in cooler climes.

  2. Bob in Ohio says:

    It’s a fruit tree, looks like an apple. Come Spring, you will
    know for sure! Nature at work.

  3. ella says:

    Are you sure this isn’t an evergreen?

  4. ella says:

    Young peaches have leaves a lot like that.

  5. ella says:

    There is also an oriental Elm that looks something like that.

  6. ella says:

    None of the cherries here have that leaf form at the petiole. But in case, be aware that wild cherries are usually tiny, but ‘berry’ tasty. And really pretty when they bloom in the spring.

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