I was looking through the leaves along the road this past week, and I
noticed a leaf that was unknown to myself. I am hoping someone out
there could ID this leaf, I cannot find it anywhere online. Penny is
given for scale, the picture is very similar to the actual size:
I am in northwest NJ, about 950ft above sea level. Neighboring trees
include northern red oak, white oak, chestnut oak, beech, black birch,
tulip/yellow poplar, white ash and many others (the idiotic neighbor
also planted norway maples). It is a mature (about 80+ years old)
carolinian forest, with hornbeam & spicebush in the understory. If
anyone can ID this leaf I'd greatly appreciate it.
One more tree question --- can sugar maples have yellow leaves, or is
that solely the M.O. of norway maples? I have dozens of trees in my
backyard, and the leaves are either sugar or norway maples. I was
wondering if I should cut them down, since they were all yellow this
Thanks very much,
Was the stem flattened perpendicular to the plane of the leaf?
I'd guess some species of Populus. Bigtooth aspen, maybe?
(I know it occurs in NY state, and NJ is right next door.)
Not the most likely place for an aspen except at the edges or large
openings... We've had some amazing winds recently, and I know
I've had leaves and even small branches blown in from quite a distance
in the past (including species which must have blown in from blocks
away, as none occur close to my house).
Yes, sugar maples can be yellow. Mine is. Some Norways are more
colorful than the least colorful sugar maples, but the most colorful
sugar maples beat the most colorful Norway maples. The shape of
the buds (small, sharply pointed in sugar maples; large and rotund
in Norway maples), the flowers and fruit (small, with drooping keys
in sugar maples; showy with large, straight keys in Norway maples)
are very different. So is the shape of the tree, typically. Norway
maples tend to a Tootsie-Pop shape, sugar maple structure has been
described as being more like 'a man with raised arms.'
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
I'd agree with Pat - some sort of poplar. My guess would be Populus tremula
or European poplar due to the size and the pattern of serrations on the
leaf. This key may help:
pam - gardengal
Very difficult, from where I sit, to ID it positively. Vaguely resembles
Basswood and/or Birch, and also some of the indigenous Viburnums
('Arrowwoods') but without knowing things like
alternate or opposite leaf structure
it's going to be hard. Can you spot the tree? If so, bark characteristics,
growth habit, alternate or opposite leaf structure, all would help.
PS-- with regard to the Norway Maples, it is not a highly regarded landscape
tree-- it tends to have weak wood, shade out other desirable trees & shrubs,
and it's difficult to plant beneath (hogs for water).
Not only is it 'not highly regarded', it's a known invasive and really
should be removed. It produces thousands of very viable seeds, the
seedlings crowd out native maples everywhere they are allowed to grow.
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
Come on Pam, you need to brush up on your native species! That looks very much
like Populus grandidentata, Big tooth aspen. It is native in the
midwest/northeast part of the country. We have them all over the place here in
Good for you. This is not exactly a contest. I'm not disputing it may very
well be a native species, HOWEVER, the leaf on P. grandidentata is typically
double the size of the one indicated, the shape is not exact, nor is the
serration as distinct. And the petiole length is more proportional to the
size leaf for P. tremula (or temuloides) than it is for P. grandidentata.
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