En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Plant identification of tree on Kent State University in Ohio

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - August 09, 2011

From: Kent, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Best of Smarty, Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of tree on Kent State University in Ohio
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello. I am fond of a very large (wide) tree on a university campus in Ohio. I have tried many plant ID search engines to try to figure out what it is. It is at least 12 feet tall and at least that wide with deciduous green leaves that are about 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide at widest. Leaves are same size all over the tree and leaf density is very high. Branches are very low to the ground and go all the way up in a giant ball. The bark is smooth and gray. There is one large trunk about 1.5 feet wide. At about 1.5 feet high the trunk splits into 25-35 trunks 2-4 inches wide. Leaves are simple and alternate but not regularly spaced. Veins are alternate, with the main vein from the stem going to the finely-pointed top of the leaf. There are 4 points on each side and the leaf looks like a miniature Christmas tree. I found a single fruiting body on a branch on a short green stalk that comes to a marble-sized ball that has four ridges near the top. The husk of this has light brown wiggly hair-like projections about 1/8 to 3/16 inches long curled over at the top and appears to have two seeds inside about 3/8 inches long and 1/4 inch wide, triangular shaped, but with deflated sides. The drainage in the area under the tree is often not good; yet, it obviously thrives there. It gets direct sun all day. I think I am in growing zone 5b. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

ANSWER:

From your very thorough and detailed description, I think that the tree you describe is Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia' (cutleaf or fernleaf European beech).  This is a cultivar of Fagus sylvatica (European beech) and, as its common name suggests, is native to Europe and not to North America.  There is mention of another cultivar, Fagus sylvatica 'Laciniata' that seems to be very similar, but I couldn't discover if the two names might be synonyms for the same cultivar.  You can see more photos by 'Googling' the botanical name.

The grounds department (or equivalent) of most universities keep an inventory of landscaping plants.   You might check with Kent State University Grounds Department to see if they have such a list and see if the cutleaf European beech is on it.

If this isn't your plant, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

 

More Best of Smarty Questions

Growing Native Plants in Juniper litter from Wimberley, TX
October 04, 2010 - Junipers create an environment under their canopy that prohibits growth of other plants. I have a virgin lot that has been cleared of many juniper but has remaining heavy natural leaf mold containing...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Weeping Fig crying leaves?
July 27, 2009 - I have a weeping fig that I bought Memorial day in Birmingham, Al. It has 8 or 9 trunks growing altogether. It sits on a porch with eastern exposure, only about 2 hours of sun. It has been losing l...
view the full question and answer

History of the Texas Bluebonnet
March 12, 2008 - Hi, I'm working on an article for a newspaper and wondered if you could point me in the right direction to find out the history of the bluebonnet. When did it become the state flower? Is it really il...
view the full question and answer

Plants that might absorb moisture from air
February 27, 2007 - I am searching for a plant that will reduce the relative humidity of a building. I work for a manufacturing company that is experiencing problems with water condensing on ceilings and equipment due t...
view the full question and answer

Disappearing sunlight in Phoenix, AZ
September 29, 2009 - I live in a condo in Phoenix, AZ with a north facing patio that goes out about 10 feet and is 20 feet wide. During the summer months there is a span of 1 foot in the front that goes the 20 foot length...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center