Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mystery Detective-Case of the Unidentified Tree

That's right folks, it is time for another exciting episode of the tree that will not go away. When we last left off, the Kitchen Window Birder was trying with no success to identify a tree that has been in her yard since she moved there. Unsuccessful on her own part, she reached out to fellow nature detectives in hopes they could help solve the case. These fellow detectives were the best in town and while they helped her identify deer dung, they were not able to put a close to the mystery tree. Unwilling to give up, Kallen went to the library and spent hours on google trying to put this case to a close.
Here are the facts she has been able to gather thus far.

1. The finches appear to be accessories in this unsolved mystery. Every day they spend countless hours on the tree eating its delicate seeds. The juncos finally caught on to this and followed suit. Intrigued by this Kallen decided to try a seed for herself. She broke it apart and little specks of dust came out. After a tiny little nibble, she could detect a faint nutty taste to it but she is unsure if this is her imagination as she anticipated it would taste nutty before she even took a bite.

2. Kallen has spent countless hours in the woods to see if she could find another tree that would match this one and has not been able to find one. Putting her detective skills to work, she determined that this is most likely a tree that the previous homeowner planted on the land. Her conclusion is based on the fact that the tree does not appear to grow out in the wild woods of New England, thus it was imported here.

3. This tree is very clever indeed and the objects that appear to look like Fleur de lis buds are in fact seeds. If you look very closely at the picture above, you will see these tiny little buds growing directly under the text. Good try tree, but I can tell the difference between a bud and a seed. Maybe next time though.

4. It is very large. In fact, it is the largest tree in her back yard and is almost as tall at the hemlock she has in her backyard so it would fall into the ornamental category, because from the facts Kallen could gather, ornamentals are dainty and never grow too large.

5. The buds are super tiny. No larger than the tip of an eraser. They are a reddish pink and very delicate looking. There is no film around the buds and they appear dry.

6. The seeds are now all over her yard because the wind has blown them off the tree. Once spring comes the seeds that have not blown off or been eaten by the birds will be black and fall off on their own.

This mystery continues to be unsolved. There is a blog I read called The Nature Observer Journal . The author of the blog, Chuck Tague, has a monthly series called The Nature Observer Phenology for every given month. Let me tell you the information he gives on his blog are fascinating. Every time I go there and read his info for that given month, I go away excited and eager to witness it myself which is pretty remarkable because I detest February. A lot of the information pertains to the Mid Atlantic region of the US, but a lot of it pertains to all of us. Check it out and see what I mean. Anyway, back on topic. I am hoping Chuck may be able to put this mystery to a close. There is a pretty good chance that the case will remain open until summer when we can take a look at the leaves because the evidence I have presented thus far is not the whole story. The leaves very well may be the piece of evidence we need to solve it.

I am posting this on my blog in hopes other nature detective can look at the tree as well and see if they can help with this unsolved mystery.

Lastly is a picture of a female downy I got today. She wasn't on the mystery tree, but I couldn't resist a picture.



Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sorry Kallen... I have no idea. Hope you can find out. Just keep asking and posting your info out there anywhere you can!!!! Somebody will surely know!!!

Good Lucky... Love the Downy!

Kelly said...

...could it be a Hornbeam? I have two of them in my back yard and they have a similar shape. I'm not sure the seeds are exactly the same though. The birds love to hang out in it.

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Sriram said...

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John Theberge said...

I think your mystery will be a lot easier to solve once the leaves come out. It's a lot easier to identify a tree by looking at the leaf shape. I know I've never seen anything like those seed pods on a tree up here.

Jayne said...

I think the leaves will solve the mystery too Kallen. It's so hard with just the seed pods as a clue. Then again, I am certainly no tree expert! :c)

Ruth said...

So many trees purchased in nurseries and planted in yards are non-native trees, so when you try to look them up in a "Trees of North America" book, you cannot find them. When the leaves comes out, I would take a branch to a nursery and ask them.

Shellmo said...

I really need to buy a tree book - wish I knew! By the way, looks like the Downy has some nice handiwork in that last photo! Cute!

NCmountainwoman said...

I have a great deal of difficulty identifying even common trees in winter, so I'm no help.

Lovely little Downy.

Deborah Godin said...

I'll check my tree field guide and see what it might have.

Kathiesbirds said...

I can't wait to see what you discover about the tree. Try taking a small twig to a nursery or call you local Master Gardeners or the County Extension Office. They may be able to help you out!

NW Nature Nut said...

I so badly want to ID that tree for you! Darn, I don't know!

Leedra said...

No idea about the tree, but I like the Woodpecker.

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