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Some sort of escaped privet?

January 19, 2019

I found some of these shrubs or small trees back in the woods and I don’t think they’re native. i Know identification is hard without leaves but I don’t have any from the summer. I seem to recall that the leaves are smaller in size but that’s about it. Any ideas?

The braching seems to be opposite.

Bad picture. But the overall form of the tree is bad. Lots of vertical limbs.

Comments (20)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    the bark in first pic.. reminds me of hackberry .... see if anything looks similar to yours


    Celtis occidentalis


    see if you can find any dead leaves around.. that look like this ... when green.. they are leathery ...


    or im wrong .... lol ...


  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Can't be Celtis because the branching is opposite.

  • macranthos

    Any dead leaves on the ground?

  • northraleighguy

    I’ll look more closely for leaves tomorrow.

    We have Celtis in the woods (Sugarberry) but it’s definitely more warty than this and the trunk is greener.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Repeat. It can't be Celtis because of the branch arrangement, whatever the bark might look like.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    I am wondering about some type of ash/Fraxinus. So when you are looking for leaves, also look for leftover rachises (the center shafts on compound leaves) since they are often left after the leaflets have rotted or blown away.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Close ups of the buds would be immensely helpful. I've magnified the second picture and still can't see any buds. It appears to be a dead or dying branch.

  • northraleighguy

    I found a picture from the spring. Just realized it’s a little blurry, but it’s what I got. I’ll try to get a pic of the buds later today.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Viburnum? Definitely not ash!

    northraleighguy thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • northraleighguy

    Got a picture of the buds. The terminal one looks like a flower bud while the smaller ones look like leaf buds.

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

    Perhaps some type of dogwood, maybe Cornus kousa, (Kousa Dogwood)

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    That does look like a dogwood bud. Any reason to think it isn’t the native Cornus florida? Bark looks more like C. florida than C. kousa to me.

  • northraleighguy

    Cornus florida - buds are a different shape, bark is different, growth habit very different.

    Cornus kousa - buds look very similar! But the bark is totally different from C. kousa, which is flaky and sycamore-like.

  • jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)

    The bark and growth habit look very much like the C. florida that grows wild, here, in open woods and shaded areas along streams. The floral and vegetative buds shown in the last photo are also are similar to our C. florida specimens.

  • windberry

    I have never seen Cornus florida in the wild, but the leaves and leaf arrangement I can see on the Net http://www.ibiblio.org/openkey/intkey/images/Cornus_florida_leaves03.jpg look different to me than those on the OP's pic .

    northraleighguy thanked windberry
  • arbordave (SE MI)

    Viburnum prunifolium?

    northraleighguy thanked arbordave (SE MI)
  • northraleighguy

    Hey arbordave, I think you nailed it! The dogwood-like bark, the thorny-looking branch remnants, the leaf buds, the flower buds, the messy, tangled branch appearance, and the cherry-like leaves (it's in the name!). I just assumed because there were a bunch of these together and they didn't look very good that they were escaped invasives. I'll open the canopy above them a bit and prune them up and hopefully they'll grow better.

    Purdue University - Blackhaw Viburnum

  • windberry

    If you live, northraleighguy, inside of the green area than Viburnum prunifolium is native there https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viburnum_prunifolium#/media/File:Viburnum_prunifolium_range_map_2.png .

  • alexavd

    The leaves reminded me of Euonymus americanus, but the form doesn't seem right, it's more like a tree than a suckering shrub

  • weedwoman

    Another vote for Viburnum prunifolium. Small tree, small blocky bark, that bud is viburnum shaped.

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