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Plantidote of the Day 2012-01-09

twig's picture


Mystery tree

There are two trees (see image below) like this growing in a wilderness park here in Zone 10. Most of the year, they're regular green trees. But in the fall, they turn bright copper-orange. In fact, the color is so unusual that it actually looks like the trees are dying, but they're not; they turn green again every spring. Also, the little seed things on the ends of the branches stay green. (Click on the image to enlarge it and get a better view of the seeds; they look like beads on a string.)

I tried googling all kinds of combinations of those words (tree, orange, fall, etc.) and got nowhere. They're striking in person, to the point that people actually stop and stare. They don't seem to be that common. In fact, these are the only ones that I've seen around here. Does anyone recognize these trees?

mystery tree

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No votes yet


insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

I know of just 2 deciduous conifers:

Larch and Dawn Redwood. I think this could be a Larch. ( Larix). Longwood Gardens in PA has a most amazing Larch tree. It's ginormous.

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Larch do not have berries like those. They have cones.
The leaves looked pine- like, but with some closer looks, they look like
tiny and oval in compound leaflets.
Maybe Acacia?

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

and you can enlarge it to see details. The trees do have fernish sort of leaves, like an acacia.


Maybe I'll go down to the park later and see if the ranger's around. Sometimes they're good at figuring out the plants.

jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

Some are invasive and some are not. I didn't make a guess before because I assumed they were evergreen (some are not)

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

due to budget cuts. But these trees are growing right on the edge of a lake, which sounds like a good environment for them, and there are some pictures online showing similar kind of berry things.

Thanks, jerz!! One more to add to your hat tip collection!

Submitted by Alcuin on

I've never seen a bald cypress that looked like the picture you shared. And there are plenty of them in the Southeast. Bald cypress has a cone-like fruit and I don't think I've ever seen a multiple-trunked cypress, either. Cypress loses its leaves entirely in the winter and is just beautiful in the early spring with its new green leaves.