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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found this today. Not many species have yellow roots; is not Mulberry. Leaves like an Ash but white dotted bark like a Cherry or young Birch; is none of those.

Was possibly planted last year amidst a batch of seedlings from Tennessee; large lots of seedlings do occasionally have a wrong seedling mixed in. Or a neighboring residence may already have a copy of this in the landscaping, who knows.

I still have the plant but didn’t press any leaves so could get better detail on the bark. Currently growing so no buds set yet.

Can’t place it as a MI native. Any guesses appreciated.
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Found this today. Not many species have yellow roots; is not Mulberry. Leaves like an Ash but white dotted bark like a Cherry or young Birch; is none of those.

Was possibly planted last year amidst a batch of seedlings from Tennessee; large lots of seedlings do occasionally have a wrong seedling mixed in. Or a neighboring residence may already have a copy of this in the landscaping, who knows.

I still have the plant but didn’t press any leaves so could get better detail on the bark. Currently growing so no buds set yet.

Can’t place it as a MI native. Any guesses appreciated.
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Just as a “guess,” black walnut. Unsure second guess is Tree of Heaven. I would plant the former and destroy the latter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Guesses help me consider the various families of trees / woody plants. Thanks! With the compound leaves, there are only certain possibilities.

Black Walnut is fairly different. Its seedlings have, surprise, black root systems.

Tree of Heaven is fairly familiar to me. I was around some just last week. I semi-routinely refer sightings of it to a friend of a mine for control work. It has leaves more similar to Sumac, and bark is more grey (in winter I sometimes think larger Choke Cherries can look like ToH). Anyhow I showed that friend these pics and he is drawing a blank here too. Not ToH.
 

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Does it key out as some type of ash?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Butternut is not simple to differentiate from Walnut; very similar. If one wants to learn about a recently discovered Botanical challenge, one can read about 19th century plantings (including in Michigan) of “Japanese Black Walnut.” Anyhow this is definitely not in that family.

Ash is also out. The site is actually covered in Ash regeneration and is a good example of how Emerald Ash Borer is steadily being defeated now by introduced and native predators, as the property has numerous White Ash in the 6-10” diameter class that are 100% healthy even though the large specimens were killed years ago.

Poison Sumac is an excellent suggestion, thanks! Am working on it now. I have no rash today. Wore gloves but wasn’t totally careful handling this. Have not seen a Poison Sumac in many years. But the leaflet shape doesn’t seem quite right to me, initially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Petronius. The stem picture is particularly helpful.

I am not yet 100% convinced of it being Poison Sumac though. The taper of the base of the leaflet looks a little different, to me. And I did not get any rash at all from handling this, with the fully growing shoots, which normally have concentrated amounts of the toxin.

I sent my pictures to the invasive plant experts at Michigan State. They haven’t sent back an answer yet - somewhat telling.
 

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Hard to tell from your original photos, but are the leaves opposite or alternate? The leaf scars look like they are opposite, but I can't tell. If they are opposite, it is not poison sumac. Also, the leaf stems of poison sumac are red. Hard to tell from your photos, but are they red? Poison sumac have 7 to 13 leaflets. Hard to tell from your photos, but not sure it fits. My first guess was white ash. If the leaves are opposite, I am pretty sure it is white ash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is a good question. The compound leaves are opposite, iirc. I left this plant @ the jobsite but am working on a separate parcel yesterday & today. Will look at the now dried up specimen tomorrow.

It is not an Ash - the white spots on the bark precludes that, as do the roots, which are quite different. The site is covered with White Ash regen coming up and this is distinctly not the same.
 

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That is a good question. The compound leaves are opposite, iirc. I left this plant @ the jobsite but am working on a separate parcel yesterday & today. Will look at the now dried up specimen tomorrow.

It is not an Ash - the white spots on the bark precludes that, as do the roots, which are quite different. The site is covered with White Ash regen coming up and this is distinctly not the same.
Juvenile ash can definitely have those types of lenticels on their bark. If the leaves are opposite, but it is not an ash, my best guess is elderberry (Sambucus candensis). It has opposite pinnately compound leaves and the bark has the same lenticels as shown in your images. The leaf scars of Sambucus also look similar to your specimen.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Took some more photos today and passed them along to MSU. The plant was growing nearly horizontally in a mesh tree tube that had been knocked over so the twig&leaf form is deceiving in the pics. But a true opposite as seen in first pic below. Captured a leaf scar from last year too.

Definitely not an Elderberry, which have quite noticeably bumpy lenticels. Also very different roots.

Also not Ash. This stem looks more like young Birch or Cherry. Root system differences too. The only woody plant I know with yellow roots is Mulberry.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My memory of Ash root systems was faulty; they are not far off from the mystery plant, though it had a more vivid yellow when dug up. I still think it is a Eurasian species, and may exist in someone’s yard, somewhere. MSU plant people are still “stumped.”

And Ash does have some faint lenticels. But also tends to have a waxy coating on the stem, and a different green / light tan color. Fraxinus has another set of distinct species in Europe & Asia but I doubt they have seedling bark this different.

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Thanks Petronius. The stem picture is particularly helpful.

I am not yet 100% convinced of it being Poison Sumac though. The taper of the base of the leaflet looks a little different, to me. And I did not get any rash at all from handling this, with the fully growing shoots, which normally have concentrated amounts of the toxin.

I sent my pictures to the invasive plant experts at Michigan State. They haven’t sent back an answer yet - somewhat telling.
Well, that was the best I could come up with. Hope the guys at Michigan State get back to you, if anyone knows, they will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Everyone in Michigan drew a blank on this one. And that is basically an OK thing - this species is not really “here” yet though Michigan Flora does have 3 confirmed records already, all from counties along the OH/IN border. A professor at University of Tennessee whom I have worked for finally cracked the case.

And overall, finding just one of these things, inside a tree tube, was also good. As it turns out, the nursery supplier down in McMinnville, Tennessee (I recommend never buying seedlings from the extensive set of nurseries in that area, after extensive experiences with liars and cheats in that set of nurseries), used to list this species for sale in large ball&burlap type sizes. So it is probably still present on their property, & now dropping seed into their seedling beds. But only finding one means it is near certainly not a local escape.

The nursery involved deceitfully labeled this one “American Corktree” when this is yet another species from Asia. It is problematic enough in Massachusetts as an invasive that they have already listed it as a Noxious Weed.

Thanks to everyone who suggested ideas. It helps to push on the possible choices, including wrong ones, in case a key detail was overlooked.

And the winner is: “Corktree” or Phellodendron amurense, from northeast China and adjacent areas.

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tree of Heaven is usually easy to identify, particularly in summer, though in early summer it’s lookalike when small is Sumac. Word is out quite well on that one and most people will attempt to eradicate it when found. Not easy, buy not impossible.

But I have screwed that up ID in winter once, when I began to suspect a few trees on Federal land in Newaygo County might be Ailanthus. One reason I wasn’t prepared to find what the specimens really were - the biggest Choke Cherry I have ever found (similar grey bark) - was because the Manistee N.F. has very little Choke Cherry anywhere, because they hardly harvest much timber. State Forest lands have a lot more of the early successional tree & shrub species as their harvest frequency is much higher.
 
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