View Full Version : Need to ID Tall Tree

04-16-2007, 05:14 PM
See photos of lower portion of tree as well as leaves. Appreciate any feedback. Concerned about tree stability. Very tall. Entire trunk moves during moderate winds. Thanks in advance.

04-17-2007, 01:23 PM
OK, 24 views so far & no responses. Had a local gardener take a look this morning. Said it was a California Pepper Tree.

Reviewed info about California Pepper Trees online. Close, but not convinced because this tree is rather tall, at least 60 ft by my estimation. Also, the leaves on this tree are alternativing, while leaves on pepper trees appear almost opposite.

Any comments or advice appreciated.

Quirky Quercus
04-17-2007, 07:07 PM
African sumac maybe?

04-18-2007, 08:57 AM
A closeup photo of the flowers or fruit/seeds may be helpful.

04-18-2007, 11:06 AM
Bottom photo is best I can do with my phone's camera. Any closer, image is out of focus.

Leaves are narrow, about 1-1/2 inches long, alternating. Along stem is tiny cone-like seedling. Beyond that, I can't offer a better description.

Area gardeners says its a California Pepper, which the Arborday site does not include in its data base. Photos of a California Pepper elsewhere do not indicate a tall tree. It's classified as an Evergreen. This one's @ least 60 feet high, likely more.

My main concern is not what type of tree it is (though I'd like to know), but its stability. We've had high winds here in LA-CA lately, & I've noticed quite a bit of sway in the lower trunk of the tree. Last week, gusts were up to 40 mph, which is very uncommon, & the trunk's sway was close to 6 inches 7-8 feet from the ground. Given its location at the top of small hill in my backyard, about 40 feet from my home's rear exterior, I'm a bit concerned.

The gardener said that the tree is hardy, & I've come to appreciate, either correctly or incorrectly, the elastic nature of the tree. It looks healthy, but never noticed the sway until high winds hit last week. Today, winds are back, perhaps 20-25 mph. Sway is present, but certainly more moderate.

04-20-2007, 10:28 AM
Could it be a black willow?


04-20-2007, 11:19 AM
Thanks for your response.

Looks like a good guess, however, willows are an unlikely species in Southern California. I live at the top of the Santa Monica Mtns, elevation about 1,100 feet, so there's not much moisture that settles into the soil. Part of the geological understructure is rock.

Additionally, the pictured leaf found at the link you provided, looks a bit larger than the leaves in the photo above. It's difficult to determine size from a photo. While the individual leaves on my tree are probably no more than 1-1/4 inches in the length, the entire leaf is no more than perhaps 2-1/2 inches. In contrast, the leaf pictured in your link appears to be much larger in size, but this very hard to determine.

Also, the leaves picture in your link look to have significant veins visible upon their surface. Leaves on my tree are pretty much smooth.

Last, as pictured above, the bark of my tree is relatively smooth. The bark is certainly not "gray-black, with thick, somewhat scaly ridges and deep furrows."

The trunk is also rather tall. The first branches don't appear for at least the first 12 feet. Figure the tree to be roughly 35 years old.

Neverthless, I appreciate the time you took to ID this tree. I think the gardener is close in his ID. As a result, I now appreciate the elasticity of this tree. It is very tall, but with a relatively narrow trunk, maybe I never noticed before how it reacts to wind. Similar to many Eucalyptus trees on the hills.

04-20-2007, 11:33 AM
The problem with California trees is that the weather allows all sorts of crazy species to exist where they wouldn't exist in most other parts of the USA. Also, seeds coming in on truck-tires, shoes, luggage, pets, ships, planes, and trains can fall on the ground and sprout and thrive due to the kind weather and good soils. People also smuggle them in from their vacations.
On top of that, California has a vast number of native species which are virtually unknown outside of the state. You might try looking at California native tree sites or invasive tree sites.

04-20-2007, 01:48 PM
Could be a Fruitless Olive Olea europaea 'Wilsonii'

'Wilsonii' because you have not told of any fruit.

I know you can't see the top of the tree in the picture but I were to guess I would estimate the tree to be more like in the 38 to 48 feet tall range. Use a ruler at a distance and tape on the trunk at 5 feet up to get a good estimate if you want to.