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Thread: Help on tree ID

  1. #11
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    I love this forum. You guys are all very helpful. It seems to be stump shoots from that Stinking Sumac.. I had said we dont have Sumac here incorrectly. It seems fairly stout. Not rock hard but if it dries with minimal cracking I'm going for more. Its in a abandoned lot a quarter mile from me. Saw it while gathering fallen Eucalyptus (not my favorite but hey, free wood)

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    Could be some kind of Viburnum. There are varieties that grow that way.

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    generally viburnum has opposite leaves but the pic above shows alternate leaf scars so I doubt that it is a viburnum

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    Default Ailanthus altissima is not a sumac.

    Greetings All,

    I would like to clarify something here. I believe that Loogaroo is right on correct when he identifies the shoots in the photos as Ailanthus altissima. I don't advocate calling this tree, as a common name, stinking sumac because it is not related to sumac. It already has a perfectly legitimate common name, Tree-of-heaven. The stinking part is an accurate descriptive term; I have always thought it smelled like stale theater popcorn. But this semi-invasive species from Asia is in a small mostly Asian-tropical family called the Quassia family, the Simaroubaceae.

    All the sumacs are part of the cashew family, the Anacardiaceae. In North America, I teach that it is worthwhile to consider the sumacs as two very different parts; the nontoxic sumacs (Rhus spp.) and the poison sumac/poison ivy group (Toxicodendron spp.) The true sumacs in the genus Rhus bear their flowers in dense clusters that comprise the very end (terminal) of the flowering branch, have upright flower clusters, and when ripe, bear red colored fruits. The poison ivy/ poison sumac group in the genus Toxicodendron bear their flower clusters from side buds (lateral buds), albeit near the end of the branch, but not the terminal; have hanging or pendulous flower clusters, and when ripe, bear white, gray or greenish berries. Toxicodendron means 'poison leaves' and the American members are usually called poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac (even though they are technically not poisonous but hyper-allergenic).

    The tree-of-heaven, Ailanthus altissima, has, especially at the age of the plants in the photos, huge pinnately compound leaves. When they get older, the leaves will be smaller and the tree will attain a height (untrimmed) of about forty-five feet. These two unrelated families do have something in common; namely that male and female flowers are born on separate individual plants, such that each specimen is either a male or female. In their native Asia, new growth leaves of the Tree-of-heaven are eaten as a boiled vegetable. In some parts of North America it is considered an invasive species.

    Thanks for reading.

    edibleplantguy

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    I may need to read that a few times to absorb it properly. The smell is definitively odd. I smell something like Musty old peanut shells and green wood from a nectarine tree. My wife smells the musty nut shells and stale urine. My daughter says peanut butter and dust. Old and musty keeps popping up along with the peanut smell. I wont cut it all I need to see these things with foliage. Its been a dozen hours now since I debarked and shaved one and no cracks of yet.

    Cottonwood for example would have shown some cracks in a few hours. Mulberry would show cracks within 7 hours (for this time of year). This could be interesting stuff to work with. May make a great fire drill with all that pith.

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