What is this tree with black berries ?
August 8, 2009 4:35 PM   Subscribe

What is this tree with black berries ?

I would like help identifying a tree that has volunteered in my yard in the Pacific Northwest, US. I know a picture would help but I don't have a camera. I don't guess that this tree is native to my area.

The tree is deciduous with dark green to black bark in the winter. In summer the bark is green stippled with brown. The leaves are mostly in whorls of four but there are some whorls of five and some alternate leaves. The leaves are dark green on top and lighter green on bottom. The newest leaves are paler with tinges of red. If I remember the flowers correctly they are small, whitish and in clusters. These become black berries on red stems. The tree is currently eight feet tall and doesn't seem done yet.

I haven't found this tree in on-line keys. If you have a recommendation for a key, or a suggestion on identification, that would be great. Thank you.
posted by llc to Science & Nature (9 answers total)
California buckthorn? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhamnus_purshiana
posted by elsietheeel at 5:01 PM on August 8, 2009

Let's start over.


I'll guess dogwood for now.
posted by 517 at 5:08 PM on August 8, 2009

Also this.
posted by 517 at 5:10 PM on August 8, 2009

The buckthorn flowers are about right. The flowers are not the large, petaled ones of the dogwood. The berries are like the dogwood though. I have trouble with phyllotaxis because the descriptions are for more simple, consistent arrangements than I have. The leaves are mostly in flat clusters of four. Two of the four are generally larger than the others. There can also be a small fifth leaf. There are also single leaves along a stem. The leaves are acuminate; the end is concave on each side as the profile tapers to a point.
posted by llc at 5:33 PM on August 8, 2009

I am still guessing dogwood, just a different kind.
posted by 517 at 6:28 PM on August 8, 2009

Thanks for the suggestion 517. I have been looking at pictures of dogwoods. I haven't seen one where the flowers (or bracts) are right. Perhaps it is a cultivar.
posted by llc at 6:37 PM on August 8, 2009


I wanna live in a dogwood zone now.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:12 PM on August 8, 2009

You should just call it a Cascara buckthorn even if it isn't.

Simply because I think it would be amusing to tell people about the laxative tree in my garden.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:54 PM on August 8, 2009

I like your reasoning e. eel. I'll let you know if I get more friends after word gets out that there is free laxative in my yard.
posted by llc at 2:02 PM on August 9, 2009

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