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To ash or not to ash? [Archive] - Arbor Day Forum

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crazybooklady
09-19-2006, 04:38 AM
Hello all and greetings from South Texas. I've recently moved to a new (old) home with several mature trees, most of which I am able to identify. Sycamore, emory oak, magnolia, plumeria. I'm so grateful for what has already been planted here! But this one tree is killing me. There are several of the same, actually. I have one mature tree and several junveniles.

The leaflet formation makes me think that they are green ash trees, but the branches are alternate and not opposite, which seems to rule out ash. Here we go:

More mature tree - front yard (forgive the other "stuff" planted around it) (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_front2.jpg)

New Growth on the older tree (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_newgrowth.jpg)

Leaves are opposite, odd-pinnately compound, almost always 9 leaflets (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_leaflets.jpg)

Tiny whitish flowers are all over the trees presently. (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_flowers.jpg)

Close-up of buds and tiny flowers (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_flowers2.jpg)

On the more mature tree, groups of red "berries" appear for a day or so in addition to the tiny flowers, and then shrivel..... (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_berries1.jpg)

...and fall to the ground (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_berries2.jpg)

Less mature specimen in the backyard (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_side2.jpg)

Closeup of the younger specimen (http://www.crazybooklady.com/ash_side1.jpg)

As I said, if I go by the dichotomous leaf key it should be an ash. But the flowers don't match any that I've seen online. If anyone can offer any suggestions, I'd be most grateful.

Aesculus
09-19-2006, 09:28 AM
Ok, it is definitely not an Ash. Are the leaves evergreen? Judging by your pictures and descriptions (and noting the winged leaf stalk) I'm leaning toward Brazilian Pepper-Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius). According to the Nature Conservancy; in Florida, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Behamas, and Australia, this tree has become an aggressive, rapidly spreading weed that displaces native vegetation. Please do a Google search for Schinus terebinthifolius or see http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/schitere.html
to see if you agree. Also, perhaps the other experts here will verify or dispute this opinion.

crazybooklady
09-19-2006, 11:16 PM
Ok, it is definitely not an Ash. Are the leaves evergreen? Judging by your pictures and descriptions (and noting the winged leaf stalk) I'm leaning toward Brazilian Pepper-Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius). According to the Nature Conservancy; in Florida, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Behamas, and Australia, this tree has become an aggressive, rapidly spreading weed that displaces native vegetation. Please do a Google search for Schinus terebinthifolius or see http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/schitere.html
to see if you agree. Also, perhaps the other experts here will verify or dispute this opinion.

I think you've nailed it, Aesculus. I thank you. Since I've only been in this house for a month and the weather has yet to change significantly, I can't attest to whether it is evergreen or not. I cannot believe that in all of my searching, I didn't come across this bugger. :oops:

The tree at the front of the house seems to have been intentionally planted based on its location and I presume the others just sprung up in turn. This place is crawling with trumpet creeper, Esperanza, wild grapevines (I think), and other pest plants. So it should come as no surprise that my would-be ash is a Brazilian Pepper! The north side of my home is covered in creeping fig. I'm sure I'll fight with that until the day that I die (or sell the house).

Perhaps my next post will be of a more positive nature.

Thank you again!