This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A little pocket of uncommon trees in Ann Arbor

Take a drive (or a walk or a bike-ride) down Pineridge off Dexter to the corner of Maryfield and you can visit a handful of cool trees. Right at the corner are three (or four) pawpaw trees that the resident planted more than a decade ago. Not real big specimens, but I expect they would be considerably larger if they received more sun.

Acer sp.
On Maryfield at the same address around the corner is a truly remarkable tri-foliate maple that the homeowner purchased long ago as a 'paper-bark maple' (Acer griseum). I wonder if the tree might be a closely-related species, as there is little evidence of the papery bark. Still and all it's an outstanding and exceptionally large specimen.

Continue down Maryfield a bit and on the same side of the street you'll run across an unusual tree related to honeysuckle, Heptacodium micinioides. (In this case I like saying the Latin name much more than the dubious 'common' name of Seven Sons Flower.)  You can't tell from this specimen, but Heptacodium can quickly put on height. At least mine did before it withered back to a stump. Nice arching branches, unique shreddy honeysuckle-ish bark, and odd summer flowers whose somewhat showy bracts remain after the petals have fallen. By the way, my specimen is not dead; rather it reverted to a shrubby habit, and I expect it will be a substantive multi-stem tree by the end of the season.

Heptacodium foliage
Finally, if you desire, you can walk find your way back to Dexter Rd, head towards town, cross Ravena and at the first address on the north side is a large and lovely bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), a native tree that happens to be quite uncommon within the city limits. Its foliage can be easily mistaken for that of ash, but in the case of the hickories the leaves are attached in an alternate fashion rather than in pairs. 

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