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Discussion in 'Live Plants' started by ZephAmp, Jun 24, 2011.
I'm thinking sumac. Found in Michigan.
I think you might be able to rule out sumac. Look how the alternating leaflets are staggered. They should be coming out of the same point on the stem as a sumac. A sumac would also have three leaflets at the end of the leaves. Sumac flowers also tend not to hang but stand upright. This is likely an introduced ornamental. Could you take some more pictures of the surrounding area? It might help with the id. The whole plant is good too. Sumac flowers have fused sepals forming a bell too I believe The sepals on the flowers are not fused and form more of a star. Sorry I can't be of help identifying this for you.
I'm curious to see more leaf pics and more of the plant also. I understand though, it does have a Sumac look to it. A species I have in my yard is Flame-leaf Sumac. I've done the tea thing with the seeds, tastes like lemonade, pretty good. lol watch out for poison sumac though
I will get more pictures of this (and another plant) in a few days. I'm looking around to find abundant food plants for my ready to hatch hickory horned devils, and I read sumac was one. I thought this and another plant nearby were sumac so I figured I could use them.
Does Kentucky coffee tree sound like a match? The area is a slightly overrun front yard and this plant itself was a large woody tree approximately 35 feet tall.
The flower looks appropriate for that but a way to guarantee your id is to get a key to woody plants for your geographic region. They are difficult to get through at first but get easier as you go along.
Here is the other plant. I'm 70% sure the two are the same plant but don't quote me on it.
This stuff grows in huge stands along a semi-suburban road (there is a large forest and flood plain behind it and some of the fauna includes various snakes, toads, deer, etc.) It is almost everywhere. lol I have a book of Michigan trees and it says that two of our sumac species can form hybrids where both species are found. Since these don't quite fit the mold of either species, perhaps it's a hybrid? Or something totally different...
I'm going to go with Ailanthus altissima, or "tree of heaven". The bark, flower, and leaf characteristics all seem to match. Plus it's an invasive which explains the growth patterns you mentioned. It is indeed all over Michigan. My back yard at my last house was full of it. Grows like a weed. :wall:
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Also, it's hard to tell in your pictures, but in at least one of them it does look like there's some sumac. See if you can find any of the erect, bright red clusters of last years fruits to be sure.
I'm not disputing your proposal, but I did notice in photographs that the leaves on the tree of heaven do not alternate on the stem, whereas Zephamps's examples do. There is a feature mentioned that seems to be distinctive, glands on the underneath of the leaves at the base. But I think they may appear later in the season. I'm not sure about that, however, so it may be worth an examination. Here is an example I found:
I've been able to find a couple sites with photos showing the leaflets appearing alternate or sub-alternate.
I can't find my Trees of Michigan to confirm this however. It may be like Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn) and have leaves or leaflets appearing anywhere from opposite to alternate...:?
Not sure about the glands at the leaf bases. maybe a close up shot? Some descriptions I've read also mention an unpleasant odor when crushed, so perhaps that would prove useful.
Easy way to figure if it is tree of heaven is to take a leaf and rub it up in your hands. It will smell EXACTLY like peanut butter if it is tree of heaven. True story. There is not another tree/tall shrub out there that will smell like that.
Hmm. Yes, I see that. And further, I think the blossom shown looks very close to the picture ZephAmp provided. So you could very well be on the money.
A-ha. So we've got an ID.
I kind of figured something that predominant in area couldn't be native... The interesting thing is a search through the leaf litter reveals even more non-native species; isopods, Ectobius pallidus roaches, European earwigs, Asian giant forest worms... The list goes on and on!