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Please help identify my new Bonsai project


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willie
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 22 May 2010
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 1:38 pm    Post subject: Please help identify my new Bonsai project Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I've just joined your forum. Very Happy

I'll admit straight up that I'm here for one specific reason and thats hopefully to tap your experience in the field of Irish flora and in particular ...trees.

I recently collected a small tree from the wild in Sligo, with the intention of making a Bonsai out of it. Its a very nice candidate for the job, I was lucky to happen across it.
My problem is that when I got it home and took a really good look at it I realised , I couldn't identify it.
I've posted pictures of it on a Bonsai site where the people are really helpful and though they tried I wasn't satisfied that I had a correct identification. They are mostly people from the US or Canada and may not be familiar enough with our indigenous species to get it right.

I'll post a couple of pictures and maybe some of you can help Question



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Last edited by willie on Mon May 24, 2010 1:42 pm; edited 2 times in total
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willie
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one of the leaf, the most notable feature being that it is a perfect heat shape. By the way, this leaf is only 30 -35mm in length.


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willie
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject: Hmmm... Reply with quote

Should I presume that the silence is due to the fact that I found a rare plant or could it be that I am outside forum etiquette in some way?
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like an Alder to me.
See here.......... Black Alder ... Alnus glutinosa ... Fearnóg

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willie
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for talking to me.

The Alder leaves are not perfectly heart shaped and the leaves on my tree are much darker than those depicted in your post.
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Sive
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silence is not a sign of ignoring you willie !
It just means we are all too polite to give you anything but a correct answer.....and I'm afraid I haven't a clue what your tree could be, so I was keeping quiet too !
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willie
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sive,

It's very strange that a tree I picked out of a ditch is proving to be so difficult to get a definite ID on, don't you think?
Ive been through at least a hundred species that can grow here and in England and I haven't managed to see it yet.
I'm starting to think that it's some kind of a hybrid fruit tree or something like that. Somebody did say that the bark looked like that of a fruit tree and also the leaf texture is very like apple or plum.
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Sive
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking...if it is something you really want identified,. how about contacting the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in Dublin and asking them if you could email them a photo to ID for you.....? Would that be a possibility ?
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willie
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a dam good idea Sive,

I've just done that. Lets hope those folks aren't on a public service go-slow Laughing

Thanks
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 8:04 pm    Post subject: Bonsai to Willie Reply with quote

Willie,

You are definitely not outside forum etiquette; you are right in there with a brilliant puzzle for us. Stick with it lad. Someone here will get you the identity.

In POT006, the lowest leaf on the leaf is not heart-shaped, but oval, so you can't really say the leaves are definitely heart-shaped. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs in the very detailed shot POT023 and this is a very important feature. Apples do not have that arrangement, they tend to grow bunches of leaves off spurs which are not opposite. I'm taking it that we have a young tree here and I'm guessing you found it in very wet or marshy ground? The dark bark with the light 'breathing' pores makes me think of the Alder Buckthorn (Frangula Alnus). If it IS you will know in Autumn because the leaves will turn a very distinctive yellow. However, Alder Buckthourn is inclined to shrub growth (wants to put out lots of stems from ground level rather than one nice stem such as yours.

(Alder has alternate leaves, sorry James but by jove Willie has given us something to work on?)

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Last edited by walltoall on Thu May 27, 2010 7:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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willie
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you like a puzzle walltoall,

I can puzzlify it more for you now.

The leaves aren't actually opposite. ( I dont think). Try as I might I cant get a decent picture of the leaf arrangement. What you are seeing is not two leaves opposite each other , but in fact two leaves at each node , the nodes being alternate or at least whorling (I wish I knew more or was a better photographer).

It is definitely a young tree. I am surrounded by bog and I found this tree in close proximity to a bog but not actually on wet ground. It would be very dry ground due the fact that it was growing right out of the lip of a ditch or a drain.

I wish I could go and check that bottom leaf that looks oval in he photo but I cant because that branch was dying off and I removed it in order to maximise moisture distribution to the plant as a whole. It's kind of on life support at the moment. I have just visually checked the plant and every single leaf , even the younger ones, is definitely , unmistakably heart shaped.



Thanks for the interest, hope the puzzle is now dense enough for you Embarassed
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willie
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not getting any better at the photography, but try this one for leaf arrangement..


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walltoall
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject: bonzai buckthorn or not Reply with quote

Now I'm having second thoughts. Your photographs are actually very good, but I'm not happy this is a buckthorn. I'm not an arborist, I'm a country lad who keeps his eyes open Laughing Most of the alders and buckthorns I've seen would be large and well grown and I would have seen them at flower and fruit stage. Your pictures would be of great interest to the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin (who will be very helpful. I used them regularly years ago) The important things for botanists are leaf shape texture and vein pattern, arrangement on branch and the type of bark, flowers seeds and location of find. According to Wikipedia the leaves of buckthorn "are simple, 3-15 cm long, and arranged either alternately or in opposite pairs. [On] many buckthorns veination curves upward towards the tip of the leaf. The plant bears fruits which are dark blue berries" The alder has those funny little black 'nuts'.

Your leaves are very dark in front and grey at the back with straight veins and none of this fits buckthorns I've seen. The fact that you found it in Sligo is interesting because there were 'big houses' all over that county and many landlords in the 18th cent. not only kept extensive gardens and woods but often seeded surrounding countryside with 'useful' plants. So your comment about hybrids might be very reasonable. Keep it growing at all costs

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BlackBird
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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought alder as well. Would I be crazy in saying that it looks a little like Mulberry?
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject: here we go round the mulberry bush Reply with quote

Hello Blackbird, hope your garden is growing the finest and your beans are all -in-a-row. No, it's not a mulberry. The leaves of the mulberry are ever so distinctive, sort of a cross between an oak and a maple and would nicely fit on your palm. Mulberry has a growing habit like sessile and pedunculate oaks, where branches stick out all knobbly and at all kinds of sharp angles. Mulberry would grow well in Sligo, but an isolated baby out in the countryside just won't happen. I've added a picture of my own mulberry taken last Autumn. This is new technology for me. Not gardening not photography but actually publishing a picture on IrishGardeners. Bey jove ey think ey've gottit


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Last edited by walltoall on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:56 pm; edited 3 times in total
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