Can anyone identify this broadleafed evergreen?

Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VAOctober 9, 2013

I have this evergreen plant that I believe is some type of shrub, likely not a tree. Not sure the genus or species though. I may have to wait until it blooms.

Anyway, leaves are very glossy, alternate. Distal 1/2 of leaf margins have subtle serrations on some of the leaves. So it's definitely not Ternstroemia.

New growth is a nice red. I think leaf thickness is too thick for Photinia unless maybe it's a bizarre hybrid.

This is growing in the ground in zone 7A, Northern Virginia.

I'll post a few more pics.

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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

You can see the subtle leaf margin serrations.

Ilex?
Cleyera?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

another closeup

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Sequoiadendron4(6B)

Possibly Photinia Fraseri?

Here is a link that might be useful: Photinia à fraseri

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 4:33PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have a couple of Ternstromias that are eight feet tall. I just went out and looked closely. No serrations. Other than that, mine look identical to yours. Mine are blooming though, with no new growth now.
Mike

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Sequoiadendron4: I don't think it's Photinia, because the veins are not as prominant, leaves not as serrated, tips are more rounded, and leaves are smaller. I have Fraser Photinia as well. Believe me, I've compared them. I could be wrong though.

Botann: I agree they look 'like' ternstroemia. How about Cleyer japonica? I don't know if they have subtle serrations.

Or it could possibly even be a rare holly (I. integra?, I. rotunda?), I suppose.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:10AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

New growth is like that of some species of Osmanthus, as is branching habit.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

bboy,

Thanks for taking a stab at it!

Osmanthus has opposite leaf arrangement; this one is alternate, so def. not an osmanthus.

Also this is a seedling, only about 2.5 years old. Most osmanthus hardy in our region are incredibly spiny in their juvenile form.

This post was edited by dave_in_nova on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 13:13

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 12:58PM
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river_city(7b)

Mountain laurel?

Here is a link that might be useful: Native mountain laurel

This post was edited by river_city on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 17:06

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

river city: I don't think Mt. Laurel has serrated margins. Also, its leaves tend to be more clustered toward the ends of the branches and Mt. Laurel also has pointed leaf tips.

Perhaps Ilex integra? But I don't know if I. integra has reddish new growth.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Just now I was wondering about Ilex integra also.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 7:59PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

What about one of the other Photinia species?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

bboy: Photos I've seen online of I. integra really nail the leaf shape and substance. I just don't know if I. integra has reddish new growth. Some hollies do, like I. x koehneana. This 'could' be a hybrid of integra and whatever else pollinated it.

rhizo: I did look at photos of Photinia glabra. New leaves seem too pointed and veins too prominant. But I'm only going by what I saw online.

I'm almost leaning toward Ilex integra or a hybrid thereof at this point. Well, we'll know better if and when it flowers.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

The new growth looks like the new growth on my Camelias.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 7:30AM
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river_city(7b)

Just curious, what was the origin of the plant - do you think it's native, or possibly from a previous owner?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

river_city:

I doubt very much it is a US native plant. It was likely 'planted' (dropped) by a bird feeding on ornamental plant seeds or berries.

It was a very small volunteer seedling (maybe 3 inches tall) I pulled up in a public park in DC in the month of February I think. The fact that it was still evergreen and so incredibly glossy caught my eye. There were large non-native hollies growing nearby. But also photinias not too far away. Of course, birds can make up for the distances. However photinias growing in my yard have leaves with spines or serrations that run the entire margin of the leaf. The spines of this mystery plant only run about 2/3 to 1/2 the margin.

Dzitmoidonc: It does sort of look like camellia, but none of my camellias have 'spines' on the leaves. The leaf margins of camellias are more subtly scalloped. I have probably over a dozen camellias in my yard and I am getting volunteers of those coming up under the larger plants.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 12:44PM
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river_city(7b)

Ok, for some reason I want to know the answer as well.

Is it Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica)? New growth is red on this, and it has partial serrations.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by river_city on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 13:38

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

River_city: It's driving me crazy too. Thank for you suggestion and interest.

OK, so I have Pieris 'Mountain Fire' in my yard and its leaves have what I would call scalloped (crenate) margins - much like camellia. Not what I would call spined or 'entire'. Also Pieris seems to have narrower leaves and more arranged in 'whorls' near the ends of branches.

I took a very close look at my Photinia and noticed that in Photinia, the newer leaves have prominent stipules -- those almost spiny-looking things that are present at the base of each new leaf petiole. 'Mystery plant' has no evident stipules -- either persistant or on new growth.

I guess the next thing to do is a 'taste test'. LOL! Sometimes leaf odor (when crushed) or taste is very diagnostic. For example, there's no mistaking the odor of crushed Chindo viburnum leaves. No wonder my deer don't like them.

Edit: Ok, just did 'taste test' of Pieris. Very strong sour apple taste!
Holly: No taste at all, so likely it's not a holly.
Camellia: not much at all so likely not a camellia.
Photinia: Not much taste at all; no bitterness.

Mystery plant - weak taste, but some some bitterness present. No other flavors. Definitely not illicium.

This post was edited by dave_in_nova on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 14:03

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Pieris is so poisonous it supposedly makes mountain streams on Yaku Jima undrinkable.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:08PM
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river_city(7b)

More possibilities, despite the holly taste test:

Ilex coriacea (gallberry holly)
Ilex glabra

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:50PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

That's an amusing anecdote Bboy, though it seems like "old samurai's tale" to me. But mountains streams anywhere may be undrinkable for various other reasons.

There are so many variation of holly leaves, this surely could be one. Sometimes even on the same plants - some varieties like 'James G. Esson' have a pleiomorphic alteration between forms. During dry spells it throws out spinier leaves, and smoother ones in wet periods.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

river city: I think I. glabra has much smaller leaves and no spines at all. It could possibly be a hybrid with coriacea in it. I'm sort of leaning toward an Ilex integra or rotunda hybrid at this point, maybe even an I. altaclerensis hybrid. But who knows?

davidrt28, it could possibly have some I. altaclerensis in it. There are some of those growing not far away.

Edit: But most x altacerensis I see have leaves with a tip spine. Mystery plant has no leaf-tip spine.

This post was edited by dave_in_nova on Sat, Oct 19, 13 at 19:44

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 2:42PM
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butterfly4u

It's Cleyera.
Definitely.
Young, it looks like mine. I will try to get a pic tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:24PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

out of curiosity ....

why dont you try the NAME THAT PLANT FORUM ...

and see how many replies it takes ... lol

ken

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Well Ken, I tried that with a different plant and no one could ID it. My guess is there are some of the same people on there as here. Also, this forum is a bit more specialized.

I can try it though.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Thanks butterfly4u:

When you say 'cleyera' are you talking about the genus Ternstroemia? Or the genus Cleyera? Because the names are very muddled in the marketplace. The so-called Japanese Cleyera (commercial name) is Ternstroemia gymnanthera. I have that in my garden and they have completely spineless leaves.

My mystery plant as spines, albeit subtle.

As for the genus Cleyera, (for example Cleyera japonica) I am not familiar enough with them to know if they have spines at all. That is why I'm leaning toward a holly at this point.

But, if you can post a photo of a closeup of a cleyera leaf that has small spines, I'm willing to believe you.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 11:41AM
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butterfly4u

Dave,
They aren't big spines, but I am pretty sure that is a camellia. I had one that had red new growth, the "spines" you mention are typical of camellia japonica.
Check out online.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

My camellias (I have over a dozen)) have new growth twigs that fairly quickly turn to gray.

This mystery plant has 1st season growth that stays green for quite a while (like a season), then becomes streaked and finally gray. Very similar to a holly.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:07PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I think the chance of a Cleyera or Ternstroemia self-seeding in DC...versus a holly...are extremely remote. For one thing, though they may be in specialist's gardens, they have to be at least a couple orders of magnitude less common. So, for every 100 or 1000 hollies, I'd only expect one or two of those.
The stems sure look like a holly to me, and the vast majority of the larger Eurasian holly species seem to have colored new growth.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

There are Ternstroemia around here. They even seed (I have two in my yard).

But i don't think this is Terstroemia.

I'm tempted to think it's a holly as well. It was growing not too far from Ilex integra and Ilex rotunda (Korean cultivar -- and super hardy).

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:48AM
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