Sunday, July 17, 2011

Official Tree Detective

It is I, New England Fine Living's Tree Detective.  Okay, so I don't need one more title added to my already long list of titles, but my friend has a tree in his front yard that has had me stumped (no pun intended).  This tree has huge beautiful leaves that run down a vine-like limb (kinda like grape leaves) and the bark is smooth, curling, and falling off which makes the tree look as if it is dying.  It stands out so much from the surrounding trees, that it helps me locate his driveway from a distance. 

I even brought a leaf home and had my mom, Senior Tree Detective, look it up in our family tree book (Yup, we have a family tree book next to the bird book, next to the wild flower book, etc. etc. some include hand-written notes and dates from my childhood).   We found  that the White Maple was similar, but not everything matched like the smooth, silvery, peeling bark and leaf size.   Now I'm no tree expert, but I do pride myself on being able to name many local trees by their leaf, bark, shape, etc. and this one frustrated me.    Fast forward a month.  I was at my friends house again, and while we were sipping our wine outside, enjoying a warm breeze on the porch, I could not help but stare at that tree.  I had to do it!  I didn't want to get up after an hour long walk, but I did.  I got up off my butt, walked over to the the tree, and plucked an 8 inch wide leaf off of the lowest limb and voiced my frustration.

Curled bark and  8" leaf
Out of the blue he says.... "I think I just saw an app for finding leaves"  "YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME... they have an app for that? Awesome!".  So after a little searching, he found it on his ipad -

Drawing found on

All we had to do was take a photo of the leaf, load it, and the app found it!  Guess what?  The White Maple was first on the list, but the back of the leaf was different.  Then, right before our eyes, there it was... the American Sycamore.  Woo Hoo!  I was so excited he found it.  It doesn't take a lot to make me happy. Okay the wine might have helped, but still...   How did I not know this?  If they are so common where are they?  Do you have one in your yard or area?  Here is a little more information if you are interested.   American Sycamore Tree Description