Return to the Name That Plant Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Posted by janet_e 6B PA (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 20:39

This shrub completely stumped two professors of ecology and several officers in the Philadelphia Botanical Club, but I bet someone here will be able to identify it.

Besides the photo below, I have posted larger photos.

The shrub was growing wild on an island in a river that runs through Philadelphia. It's not something I've ever seen in the wild before; it may be a garden escape.

The shrub was around 6' tall. As you can see in the photo, it has sharp spines, but is otherwise rather nondescript. It didn't have any flowers or seeds to help with identification.

Any ideas?

Janet


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 20:48

I believe it's the descendant of a Bradford Pear, the wild Callery Pear.

It's exceptionally invasive...esp in wetlands (from what I see around Tulsa).

Yet another alien plant introduction gone wrong.....I'm quite surprised your "experts" were unable to identify it.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Agree with dbarron. The descendants around here tend to be spiny.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

I really don't think this is Pyrus calleryana.
We see a lot of escaped callery pear around here, and in my experience the escaped trees always look pretty much like the variety 'Bradford.' This shrub looks quite different. You can't tell from the photo, but the shrub's leaves are somewhat hairy, whereas Pyrus calleryana leaves are hairless. Pyrus calleryana leaves are also glossy, somewhat leathery, and toothed. The mystery shrub leaves, in contrast, aren't glossy or leathery, and they are completely untoothed.

I would believe that an escaped Pyrus calleryana could revert to being thorny, but I've very doubtful it would change all those leaf characteristics.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

  • Posted by carrieb 7 Philadelphia (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 21:40

Do you have any photos of the entire plant?


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the whole plant. It had arching branches, so it looked like it's really a shrub and not a tree. The bark was greenish on the twigs, nondescript on the mature wood.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Looks like Maclura pomifera to me


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Looks like Maclura pomifera to me too.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

I found this link, which seems reliable, Maclura seems to fit

And the leaves don't really look like Pyrus

Here is a link that might be useful: Description Maclura


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

I typed maclura last night, and then deleted it. The leaves are identically shaped to a maclura but the size in reference to the coin has me puzzled. They seem smaller than they should be. Don't be influenced by maclura not being indigenous to Pennsylvania. They were planted as hedgerows in farms and a very common sight even in my youth...but not so commonly seen anymore as the old ones die off. I started a run of maclura two years ago from seed just for old time's sake and they'll be planted at the lot line for wildlife. Mockingbirds love to nest in thorned trees.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Maclura pomifera is right! You guys are awesome!

Calliope, some of the leaves are the typical size for Maclura. The ones in the photo with the quarter happened to be some of the smaller leaves.


 o
RE: unknown shrub with spines in Pennsylvania

Thanks............as many details as possible help with the IDs.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Name That Plant Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here