Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another Tree Mystery


The sycamores still have leaves, both white-trunked ones and gray-trunked ones, so I'm still waiting to see if they'll lose all leaves at the same time. But the sweet gums turned out to be two different types too. One set of the trees, which Claremont has planted in the median at regular intervals, have leaves with five points on them, star shaped leaves. The other ones have three pointed leaves. Almost all of those with five pointed leaves have dropped their leaves now on my street, but some of the three-pointers are still covered with yellow-to-brown leaves. I haven't spotted any three-pointed red or orange leaves on trees, but found one reddish three-pointed leaf on the ground. I collected the seed balls under various trees last time I walked the dog, and found that the five-pointers have balls with hard, pointy extensions while the three-pointers have similar sized balls but they have threadlike extensions. I'm tempted to think they're different species, but I've lived on this street over ten years thinking they're all alike, so they do have some similar traits. I'm sure the five-pointers are sweet gums; I had to identify them in my ninth grade project long ago. The three-pointers are a mystery. Mutants? Or a different type of tree that looks similar?