Bud Break and Tree ID Mystery

Well I was warned. My Winter Tree ID teacher said that there is a time of year when she finds herself in a sudden panic as the floor slips away from beneath her feet. The buds that she had known and recognized all winter split open but the itty bits leaves can’t yet be distinguished from one another.

Last year at this time I had just finished that class. I had known so little about trees. The emergence of the leaves rumored to be in those buds seemed like a small miracle although between wet boots, nights in tents, kids throwing up on their sleeping bags, and running(aka walking grumpily) down to supervise canoeing I honestly had little time to do more than admire them in passing. Fortunately I worked outside and I passed a lot of leaves. This year I am back on the piedmont and again everything seems miraculous. I had a moment of the predicted panic yesterday on my walk though. Many trees that were easy to confirm through a bud check less than a week ago have left me full of uncertainty. I have one mystery to present to the internet here today.

But let me also say, this morning a White Throated Sparrow’s song woke me up. Yesterday I saw a pair of Wood Ducks in Sligo Creek and a pair of Nuthatches pecking in the bark of a Beech. It is warm out and I can’t stand to close the windows.

The tree mystery started with my favorite thing happening now- flowers! This tree had attracted so many species of bees I couldn’t count them.


The branching is opposite- so it should be a maple (no**please see comments…**), Ash (doubtful), Dogwood, or Buckeye… or an alien species.


The bark is smooth, matching none of those trees specifically…



Let me know if you have a guess… Enjoy the bud break and all that the spring promises!



1 Comment

Filed under Plants: In the Wild

One response to “Bud Break and Tree ID Mystery

  1. In fact, I think this is a Norway Maple! My initial no was based on the lack of my familiar Red Maple truffula tree flowers, but the Norway google image search (inspired by the very Maple looking leaves that have now emerged) shows yellow flowers like these. Sadly this species is invasive, and appears to have grown here on its own- without a helpful landscape designer’s hand.

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