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What was your most satisfying Tree ID?

While I have familiarized myself with most the trees native to the Piedmont, occasionally I will run accross a tree that completely stumps me. This was the case the other day, and after much consideration and research of tree books I was finally able to id the tree. It was a blackjack oak. It was made particularly tough because at the time it had not leafed out. The satisfaction I felt from finally being able to identify this tree  was magnificent. So I ask you, what was you most satisfying Tree ID?

By the way, for final id on the blackjack oak, I had to wait for it to leaf out. It still was tricky because the blackjack oak is in the red oak family but has lobed leaves like the white oak family. I felt confident it was a red oak based on the smell and color of wood but the leaves really threw me off. It also is not a typical tree for the area I live in. 

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  • I was in a small group doing a walk around of the unique trees on the University campus (University of Montana). I was, and still am, a bit of a novice when it comes to knowing all my trees but I love to practice. We came across the tree in front of the forestry building, which had fascicles of five and the white spots on the needles. The spots (or flecks of resin) triggered my brain to recall this was a Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) so I declared it out loud. One of the group members who had years of tree identifation on me disagreed and wondered if the needles had some sort of scale. I was bummed - I thought I nailed this one. But since he couldn't name the species himself, I went back to the office on my computer to see what the old internet had to say. I was stoked to see that my ID was in fact right all along! the resin flecks are a highly characteristic feature of the bristlecone pine, not to mention I recalled someone long ago telling me about this species being planted in front of the building of my alma matter. I shared this link with the doubting individual with my new evidence and he acknowledged it, admitting he learned something new that day. Naaaaiiiillled it.
  • I was out tagging trees in our area's nurseries for the Pennsylvania TreeVitalize program. One of the growers was showing us around his facility and said "let's look at these trees over there". We followed him over to a line of small trees and he said "I'll bet you  $20 that you can't identify this tree. It was early march so the tree did not have leaves; however, it was an ash that had small ridges on some of the young twigs. My associate, who is very knowledgeable about trees, and I inspected the tree for a bit, and I blurt out "Blue ash". The grower's jaw dropped and looked astonished as he said "How did you know that?" since these trees are almost non-existent in our area. I said that I was a knowledgeable professional and that I have a vast knowledge about tree ID.

    What I did not tell him is that I just happened to be looking at the Morris Arboretum's single specimen the day before, which was the first time I encountered the tree, and noticed the ridges on the twig which gives the tree it's Latin name, Fraxinus quadrangulata. Very serendipitous and satisfying.

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