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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Help! Mystery Tree & Plant (Updated)

I have 2 of these trees on my property. These pictures are from the smaller one (the lowest branches on the taller one are at least 20' off the ground.) I have no idea what kind of tree these are. They don't really seem to match anything in my field guides.
I thought maybe they're some kind of magnolia (particularly as they're evergreens,) but further investigation hasn't turned up a likely match in that department, either. The leaves & flowers are too pointed & neither have the usual "leathery" consistancy of magnolias.
In addition, magnolias in our area all seem to bloom at the very beginning of May (like clockwork.) The flowers on my trees didn't bloom until the 2nd week of June. I e-mailed these pictures to the horticultural department of LSU.

Update; Dr. Lowell Urbatsch of LSU responded to my e-mail about the flower on July 7th & has notified me that this is a sweetbay magnolia (the evergreen variety is magnolia australis, rather than virginiana.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The other day I noticed this large, strange flower blooming by our front stairs. These first 2 pictures are from yesterday. Although I did plant seeds when we first moved in, either they never bloomed or our yard guy just keeps cutting everything down (against my specific instructions.)
I've largely forgotten what I'd planted by now, but this seems more like a weed than a formal "flower," anyway. The entire plant is pretty hairy (even the backs of the petals.)
This picture is from this morning. The flower's pretty large--about 5" across. The plant's about a foot tall. I can't find this in my field guides or net searches, either.

Update; Thanks to NatureLover for identifying this flower as Rudbeckia Indian Summer, a type of black-eyed susan! Dr. Urbatsch of LSU also confirmed this ID.

34 comments:

Steve Malley said...

Oddly enough, I tattooed a flower like that one up top, with no idea what it was: the client brought it in.

I'll look in the Big Book of Flowers and see what I learn today.

Lana Gramlich said...

Steve; It almost reminds me of a lotus or a water lily flower, but it's clearly neither of those...Thanks for your help!

timethief said...

I love the magnolia photos. We also have magnolia's here on the west coast of Canada. I'm sorry that I can't identify the other flower.

laughingwolf said...

i'm stuck too, lana... no idea on either :(

debra said...

The leaves look almost rhododendron-like, but not the bloom.... Beats me. Will you let us know once you ID it?

Charles Gramlich said...

I think both are alien plants. I definitely felt a pod reaction from the one by our front steps. Good thing I slept lightly last night.

Lana Gramlich said...

timethief; Thanks, but it's not a magnolia. Hopefully I'll figure it out someday...

laughingwolf; Thanks, anyway!

debra; Not only is the bloom non-rhododenron, but the larger tree in my backyard is at least 50' tall, far larger than any rhododendron would grow. I'll definitely update this post, if/when the answer is discerned, though!

charles; I wouldn't be surprised. You probably brought the seed for that flower from your Mothership. ;)

Dave Coulter said...

My guess is magnolia, but it does seem late for them to be blooming.
Wish that I was more helpful, but once I get south of the Ohio River my ID skills start to fade ;)

Lana Gramlich said...

dave; I appreciate you answering the call, at any rate!

Michelle (artscapes) said...

I can't help you with the tree, but the yellow flower looks like a black eyed susan - even though the flower looks too large and I cannot see the leaf pattern. I will say one thing though - it is Asteracae (Sunflower Family)

laughingwolf said...

best 4th to all of you, lana :)

Crayons said...

Hi Lana
I'm at a cafe trying to catch up on my bloggy friends. Thank you SO MUCH for nominating me for that festive award. That meant so much to me.

Your cloud photos are just fabulous. You see so much beauty with your eyes.

letspaintnature.com said...

Wow, the flower on that tree looks like a water lily flower!!! I have no idea what it is, but it is sure pretty!

Rob said...

I envy you, Lana. I think it's a wild magnolia. The leaves are a longer and a little lighter green and the blooms are much larger than a regular magnolia. I want one. When I first saw one on a friend's property, he called it a calcumber. I searched for one of those for years and was never able to find one.

Raven said...

Beautiful shots. That yellow flower almost looks like it's posing for the camera...

Raven said...

I don't know that it answers your questions, but I thought you might enjoy this Indigenous Flowers of Lousiana site anyway. Hope I did the html right.

Lana Gramlich said...

michelle; That's the greatest help I've had so far--thanks! We do have black-eyed susans, but they already bloomed (& died) a while back now. After some further investigation (inspired by your insight,) it seems like a purple-disk sunflower, which is native to this area (although that's still not quite it.)

laughingwolf; Thank you. :)

caroline; No, thank YOU for all of the thought & work you put into your blog (& your life!) You rock, woman! *hug* Thanks for the kind words on my photos, too. :)

chris; Doesn't it? I love the geometry of it--very pretty!

rob; The flowers & leaves on these trees are definitely smaller than those on the "usual" local magnolia, though. The flowers are only about 2-3" across & they're totally unlike Google images of calcumber flowers. I'm still leaning toward some kind of magnolia, but I'll be darned if I can figure out which one! I love them, regardless, but inquiring minds want to know! *L*

raven; Thanks! I've seen that site before, actually. Small world! *L*

Anne said...

Whatever they are, they're both gorgeous! My oldest daughter and I were talking about your blog (all good!) and where you live and she is fairly well convinced that many of the flora there is because of the port--so many seeds/plants etc. brought in with ships. Sounds plausible to me--what do you think?

I'll do some poking around and see if I can figure out what those plants are--I do this all the time for stuff I find at home-I'm such a "have to know" type!

Anne said...

Hmmm... tree--possibly some type of manglietia -- here's photos and the flower "may" be a sub-family of Aster--although I didn't see that specific one here.

I'll keep looking :)

Travis Erwin said...

My horticulture experience is with mesquites and yuccas. Beyond that I don't know much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lana,
Your tree looks just like my Sweet Bay magnolia (Laurus nobilis). Same small creamy yellow flowers and slender leaves. It would be an evergreen in your part of the country. Your flower looks like my rudbeckia Indian Summer. It does have very large beautiful flowers and is a perennial.
NatureLover

Erik Donald France said...

It looks from what I remember like an off brand Magnolia . . . my father planted one in his back yard in North Carolina in the late 70s.

Maybe it's a carpetbagger magnolia ;->

Lana Gramlich said...

Anne; Nice to see you. :) Glad you & your daughter have enjoyed my blog! There are certainly invasive species for various reasons wherever you go. We're not really near a port, however. The closest (New Orleans) is 50 miles away. Thanks for your input on the tree & flower--NatureLover seems to have IDed the flower correctly. The flowers of the manglietia (which is native to Asia,) aren't right; too pink & bulbous. I still suspect it's a variety of magnolia, I just don't know which one.

Travis; Thanks anyway, oh ye of the hot, dry climate!

NatureLover; You're right on about the flower--thanks so much! :) I've considered sweetbay magnolia, but those flower petals seem far wider & rounder than those on my tree. Still, it's the closest guess I have right now.

Erik; Carpetbagger magnolia! *ROFL* At the very least that's what I'll refer to it as until I get a solid ID! *LOL*

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've been told by the horticulture teacher I carpool with that a weed is any type of plant you don't want in your garden. As for the tree, I can't give you any specifics ... yet, anyway. Gotta think positive. Someone will know.

Lana Gramlich said...

jr; Yes, "weed" is relative. "Weed" is often used in place of "wildflower," many of which have medicinal purposes & as such, shouldn't be labelled so derisively.

Anonymous said...

Lana,
After the foul-up on Dave's Garden, I went and looked again. It's apparent that the tag on my tree was mislabeled. My tree is simply a Sweet Bay, NOT a magnolia. I've heard lots of folks call them magnolias but apparently they aren't. Have you looked up Sweet Bay? The picture ecrane posted on DG doesn't look at all like mine. However, mine looks just like your tree.
NatureLover

Lana Gramlich said...

NatureLover; Thanks again for the input, but yesterday I noticed a post-bloom flower in the 3rd shot of the tree that definitely suggests the tree is some kind of magnolia. The leaves of the sweet bay look much like these leaves, though. The mystery continues...*LOL*

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

That's one JEWEL of a flower. What a special gift for you to see. :D

The tree has amazing blooms too. We don't have magnolias this far north.

Hugs, JJ

Travis said...

I'm not much for horticulture. The yellow flower is really pretty.

Marvin said...

Lana, your flora is just to danged exotic for my limited knowledge of Ozarks weeds. Glad you were able to get some ID help elsewhere. That Rudbeckia is stunning.

Anndi said...

Although I can't assist you in identifying the tree, it certanly is pretty.

Christina said...

Those flowers are beautiful! You have a great eye for photos. That must be the artist in you.

writtenwyrdd said...

Glad you got that tree identified as a magnolia. I'd have bet money it was one of some variety! The flowers are pretty distinctive!

And I guess black eyed susan relative for the flower. Your variety is really pretty.

Anonymous said...

Its possable that your tree is a cucumber tree. Its a relative of the magnolia. Here's a site about it http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/plant.asp?symbol=MAAC

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