Rachy Ramone's picture

Ornamental tree, pinnate and armed

Observed: 22nd August 2012 By: Rachy RamoneRachy Ramone is knowledgeable about PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in Plants
Ornamental tree, pinnate and armed
Ornamental tree, pinnate and armed
Description:

Med/large ornamental tree, not actually sure if you would call these pinnate leaves: or opposite leaves on branchlets? Please advise, someone!
Definitive characteristic; if you look closely, where each pair of leaflets join the central stem and are somewhat red, there is a sharp SPINE rising vertically. They were between half an inch and an inch in length. (I don't envy their gardeners having to weed around it). That's 1-2cm long.
I have never seen anything like this before, and would welcome suggestions.
In a "stately home" garden, so not your everyday tree.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Rachy Ramone's picture

Definitely Not Kentucky Coffee Bean

.. sorry, definitely not this tree: I have one grown from seed in my own garden, and it does not have thorns. Furthermore, if you look closely at the pinnate leaves of the Kentucky Coffee Bean, the leaflets are slightly offset, not directly opposite in clear pairs, as is the case with my mystery tree above.

But thank you for responding.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

Rachy Ramone's picture

I'm not quite sure yet....

Steve, I think you are very nearly there: it's almost definitely an Aralia.

Not Aralia chinensis - the leaflets of that are somewhat rounder, and fatter: not as pointed at the tip. And it definitely lacks the spines.

Aralia spinosa would appear to be the exact thing, even the name suggests it is the right one.

However, A. elata is still a possibility, I've found pics and reference to that also having spines at the leaflet junctions: maybe the one in your garden is a younger one? However, they state that on A. elata the veins go right to the edges of the leaf. I guess we have to assume that on A. spinosa, they don't?

The reference given was "Rhoads and Block, Flora of Pennsylvania, page 152-3."

So if anyone out there has that book and would kindly turn to page 152-3 for us....

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

steve_t's picture

I'm favouring Aralia spinosa

Rachy, the leaflets on A. elata (using the specimen in my garden, I checked it using this key for Chinese species, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=102427) are wider than the ones in your photo's. Besides the spines on the stems of A. elata reach only 6 mm at a maximum, nowhere near the length noted above.

I found a description of A. spinosa in this Flora, look at page 617 in volume 2, http://archive.org/details/illustratedflora02brit. But I'm wary of the illustration showing the leaflets with cordate bases, especially if you look at the photo's and illustrations here, http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Aralia%20spinosa.pdf, And here, http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=10,
http://www.gymnosperms.org/imgs/kcn2/r/Araliaceae_Aralia_spinosa_8197.html. These I think look like those in your posting.

If you want to add an id of Aralia spinosa, I'd agree to it.

Steve

Rachy Ramone's picture

You take it... no you... go on, you have it!

Steve, you're a star, excellent research, let's go with Aralia spinosa.

I think that you deserve to take the ID credit, as you spotted that it was an Aralia in the first place.

I'm new to iSpot and don't know how the ID boxes work: can you cancel your first guess? Or can you add a second one? If you can, please do so, and I will agree with it.

Many thanks for taking the time to do the checking, that's much appreciated.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY