Small sapling in Southern Ohio

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Jon45150, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    Hi all,
    Last weekend we were strolling through the woods when we came across a few (about 5) small saplings grouped fairly close together, all the same species. I looked up to see if the parent tree was nearby, but the only trees in that area are Quercus (oaks), Fagus (beech), Acer (Maple), Sassafras, Cercis (redbud), Nyssa (Tupelo) and Cornus (dogwood).

    I thought maybe this was Oxydendrum (sourwood), but the leaves do not match very well, no hairs, different buds and I crushed one of the leaves and it does not have a sour smell at all.

    Now I am not sure if this is a tree, but perhaps a bush. None of them were growing straight, and with such a crooked growth habit I doubt they would get very large. All of them are about the same height of about 1/2 meter. They are growing in mostly shaded woods at the very top of a hill.

    any ideas?
     

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Looks kind of Fagaceous to me.
     
  3. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    You are right, it does look similar to some Fagus species. There are some Fagus brandiflora nearby, but these have totally different leaves. Are there some species of Fagus that grow very small??
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I was referring to the family Fagaceae, not just the genus Fagus.
     
  5. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Looks like Frangula caroliniana, Carolina buckthorn
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    My first thought was that it had the leaf vein pattern and gloss of a buckthorn, but then I started seeing other affiliations in the buds and twigs. So it probably is, in fact the aforementioned buckthorn.
     
  7. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    You are both correct that it does look like buckthorn, and I hope you are wrong. A photo of buckthorn on this page does look similar:

    http://natureinquiries.wordpress.com/tag/lonicera/

    Is there something we could do to confiirm it is buckthorn? So far there are no thorns. If it is an invasive buckthorn it's gotta go. We are already having enough problems fighting other invasives, and I don't want another one!

    If it is Frangula caroliniana as tipularia suggests then that is great, it is not invasive and it can stay. I found this page:
    www.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/frca.html

    I had never heard of this plant, when I hear the word "buckthorn" I automatically think invasive. Maybe this plant is not so bad?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  8. Weedbender

    Weedbender Active Member 10 Years

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    Probably wrong, but it reminds me of Sweet Pepperbush. Clethra alnifolia.
    I have lots of it here.
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Clethra alnifolia (the photos I've seen of it) tends to have serrated leaf margins. I think this is more likely the Frangula caroliniana.
     
  10. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for your help with this. It really is great to discover new plant species on our property, especially when they are not noxious invasives. These photos were taken in Adams county, Ohio which is one of the three counties in Ohio where it lives.

    We should nominate it for the Nations largest specimen since none have been nominated yet:

    http://www.americanforests.org/bigt...val=buckthorn+&submit_search=Search&no_champ=

    It would not score high, unless we use the more scientific units of microns rather than the antiquated feet and inches!
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You're safe - your plant is not one of the European buckthorns (Rhamnus cathartica, Frangula alnus) causing problems with invasive behaviour in N America. So you can keep it.
     

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