General Question

Mariah's avatar

What is this tree?

Asked by Mariah (19272 points ) September 4th, 2012

Saw a tree that had catalpa-like long pods hanging from it, but the leaves were compound leaves (kind of like this) – what could it be? Sorry I don’t have more details. I could potentially snap a photo of it later on.

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12 Answers

Mariah's avatar

@marinelife Ooh, that could definitely be it! I’ll look at it again later to confirm. Thanks!

ETpro's avatar

The image you linked to is a poisonous plant called Rattlebush, Rattlebox or Poison bean. But if the seed pods are more regular in shape, like these, and the flowers are more like this, it’s a Mimosa.

It’s an important distinction, because the rattlebush is poisonous, and the mimosa seeds are edible.

Touch the leaves. If they immediately fold up like this video clip shows, it’s definitely a mimosa.

Pandora's avatar

I would agree that it is probably a mimosa. I use to have several in my yard when I lived in NC. You can tell when it blooms. It has beautiful pink flowers. Loved the look of the tree but hated that it spread its seedlings so easily. Before you know it, you can have quite a few trees. I let 2 more spring up in my yard and that was a big mistake. There was more trees to watch over and make sure it didn’t reproduce. You have better luck with rabbits.

Mariah's avatar

All the suggestions basically look the same to me, so I was wondering how I would tell them apart, but now I know to try touching the leaves. How cool, @ETpro! I’ll try that later and report back.

The image I linked to was just to give an example of compound leaves, it doesn’t have much of anything to do with the tree I’m wondering about.

Mariah's avatar

Alright, so I touched the leaves and they didn’t fold, and I also noticed that the individual leaflets aren’t so close together like on the mimosa, looks a bit more like the honey mesquite that @laureth linked. But I’m still not sure. A couple things I should add: the trees are not very large (I don’t know how old they are, though), the leaves are sort of a yellowish-green, and the seed pods are very long, light green, and many of them are pretty curly. And I’m in Massachusetts.

ETpro's avatar

@Mariah Next spring when it comes into bloom, the flowers should give you a definitive answer. It definitely isn’t a Rattlebush if it’s surviving outdoors in Massachusetts. That’s a distinctly southern tree.

laureth's avatar

Yeah, probably not too much mesquite in Massachusetts. Maybe honey locust? I know you’re not in the range on the map, but neither am I and they’re all over the place in SE Michigan.

tacres's avatar

I found this link. http://www.ehow.com/how_8750063_identify-seed-pods-trees.html
I know what tree you mean. I used to live in Walpole , & it seems to me I saw them a town or two over , maybe Norfolk. I’ll try to pick a head or two to see if we can name that tree.

tacres's avatar

Could it be a sycamore?

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