View Full Version : 3 trees

05-10-2006, 07:54 PM
I'm located in north Alabama in zone 7a and these are from the woods:

I'm almost certain the first picture is a Red Maple (Acer rubrum) but some of the leaves are more narrow than normal and the fall color is bright yellow also the bark has long large dark plates down the trunk but I guess this is just a small variation of the red maple. What do you call small variations of the same type of tree, like slightly different leave shapes of the same type of tree ect. ?

The second and third picture I have no idea what they are. The leaves on them are 2 to 3.5" long and they both look like a little young trees, but I've never seen a large tree of these two.

05-10-2006, 08:57 PM
Tree 1 - I agree that it's a red maple (Acer rubrum). The leaves are more narrow than usual, but I've seen that before. There's a fair amount of phenotypic variation in the species.

Tree 2 - I believe this is a viburnum, possibly mapleleaf viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium.

Tree 3 - This appears to be witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana.

The viburnum is more of a shrub, and the witch-hazel gets to be a small understory tree.

05-10-2006, 09:19 PM
Thanks very much, I think that's exactly right.

05-11-2006, 08:24 AM
Saccharum I agree 100% with Maple-leaf Viburnum and Witch Hazel, but I can't convince myself of the identification of the Red Maple. I know there's lots of variation with the leaf shape, because the most prevalent variety we have around here is Acer rubrum var. trilobum, the Trident Red Maple, but the leaves on this one just don't compute and look at the twigs, they don't resemble red maple twigs at all. I teach classes on twig identification and I've used Red Maple in the past. I know Treeman you say these were growing in the woods, but I'm wondering if this could be an escaped Paperbark Maple (A. griseum), or Trident Maple (A. buergerianum)? Just a thought, I could be wrong. What do you think Sac?

Quirky Quercus
05-11-2006, 09:45 AM
I think it's a red maple. The ones growing around here in N. GA do look very tri-lobish to me,
and do have very, very, very show bright yellow fall color. Compared to
the named cultivars like October Glory or species trees growing in other states, the leaves are quite different.
It doesn't look like a trident maple (Acer buergeranum ) or paper bark
maple to me.

05-11-2006, 08:36 PM
What is it that you don't like about the twigs, Aesculus? I can't make out a whole lot of detail. If it's the buds, I don't trust them in the early active growing season, and the color isn't always quite so red. To me the twigs look like they have nodes that are pretty close together, suggesting slow growth, suggesting shaded twigs, which could explain less of the tree's red sunscreen pigments (anthocyanin).

I realize that's maybe a bit of a stretch :lol:

Also, if you look at the lower twig, you can see the remnant of the previous year's terminal bud, which looks consistent with A. rubrum to me.

I could certainly be wrong! But barring more pictures to change my mind, I'm sticking with my original answer.

05-12-2006, 01:13 AM
The maples leaves above were taken from the lowest limb I could reach in the understory.
Here is some pictures of the maples bark:

05-12-2006, 05:59 AM
What a big, old monster! Watch out, looks like poison ivy in the lower right hand corner of the second pic.

The bark of old red maples can take on that character. See this link for a progression of red maple bark types:


05-12-2006, 07:53 AM
Ok, I concede. I think what bothered me at the beginning was the lack of lobes on most of the leaves and the fact that they were much longer than wide. I guess we'll chalk the strange look up to the fact that they are not fully developed and evidently are tremendously shaded by the upper canopy. I guess the twigs look strange to me because I'm used to dealing with hardened off twigs collected in the fall of the year (although, like you say, they are not always that red). The bark certainly looks right for a really old red maple, and the size would eliminate the two species I mentioned earlier. I've never been wrong before, but I guess there's a first time. :D