What is this green thang?
May 17, 2017 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Yes, I know it's a plant of some kind. Here's a picture...

I'm trying to find out exactly what it is–tree? bush?–and how to propagate it.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible to Science & Nature (19 answers total)
I'm in Oklahoma (Tulsa), if that helps any.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 11:50 AM on May 17

Not 100% sure but it looks like a pecan tree to me.
posted by gregr at 12:03 PM on May 17

Pecan trees have that single leaf at the end of the stem.
It was my first thought too.

Now I am leaning towards a Chinese pistache.
But I am completely not convinced of that.
posted by Seamus at 12:06 PM on May 17

I'm going with Ailanthus altissima, aka Tree of Heaven.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 12:09 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]

Using this tree-ID site, using the knowledge I could glean from the pic, I kept getting various Ashes. I am pretty sure that isn't right.
posted by Seamus at 12:12 PM on May 17

ok, stupid question, where did you get it? i mean is this like an ikea purchase for example? in other words does your locality make no difference in identifying it....?

it reminds me a lot of sumac, the leaf grouping, red stem, pointy leaves... (there are non poisonous sumac and i assume since you want to propogate its probably not causing you massive rashes but it looks a LOT like sumac)
posted by chasles at 12:13 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

I was gonna say Ailanthus altissima too, but as a botanist I can't imagine having a tree of heaven in a pot, since they grow like a weed out in the wild. It might be another species. Not sure which one.
posted by strelitzia at 12:15 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

hmm. now i have convinced myself it's some kind of ash tree. white ash maybe?
posted by chasles at 12:17 PM on May 17

I think Short Attention is correct, those grow all over California like weeds. I'm looking at one outside my window right now. If the leaves are super long (like over 12") it's a Japanese Pagoda tree, but if they're under 12" like it looks from the pic, it's probably a Tree of Heaven.
posted by ananci at 12:18 PM on May 17

Looks like a Sumac or Chinese Sumac to me. Whatever it is I think it is an 'invasive' species.

google Chinese sumac and see what you think. Or just 'sumac' and there is a poison one as well.
posted by JayRwv at 12:23 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

It's probably tree of heaven/Ailanthus, and it's probably in a pot because it volunteered there and nobody killed it, not knowing it had already killed and overtaken whatever nice thing was in the pot originally.

No matter what it is, it is a woody temperate deciduous plant, and a surefire way to propogate it is air laying. Tree of heaven is pretty but it's incredibly damaging to native forests.

If you like the look and want more, get a native sumac from your local native nursery.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:25 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

answer to chasles: It started as a cutting from my Grandmother's house, where it was just a bush. This was before someone moved in (after her passing) and burned the place down by trying cook meth...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 1:09 PM on May 17

What happens when you cut a a little branch off? Does it EFFING REEK? If no, it is not Tree of Heaven. (And if it is Tree of Heaven, it's invasive and awful, do not propagate.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:19 PM on May 17

Another thing you might try is the Leafsnap app. It is pretty good. Human botanists don't usually make an ID from a single leaf, but with the powers of modern computation it is often possible.

As you can see, tree of heaven does look a bit like some ashes, black walnut, even pecan. I still think it's Ailanthus (which was widely planted as a desirable exotic not that long ago, and would indeed stay low and bushy if pruned for it), but the app might help you distinguish between some of these similar species, and is good for general tree ID purposes.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:05 PM on May 17

It looks kind of like a young Black Locust tree to me.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:46 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm thinking not Tree of Heaven, as it doesn't smell terrible when you cut it, and the spacing of the leaves on the branch is wider than Ailanthus altissima. Thanks to SaltySalticid, but the leafsnap app didn't narrow it down...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 3:36 PM on May 17

"That weedy tree that grows all over in Massachusetts" was the first thing I thought of, and based on this thread I'm led to believe in my case it is in fact Tree of Heaven, so don't be so quick to dismiss the possibility. Never noticed the smell...
posted by grog at 3:57 PM on May 18

The red mid-rib and smooth bark are making me lean towards poison sumac, but it sounds like you have handled it extensively and not broken out, so I dunno. Here is a site about poison sumac. Have a look and see what you think.
posted by miss patrish at 3:02 PM on May 19

That sure looks like a sumac to me. Def. not a pecan.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:15 AM on May 23

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