Can anyone identify this small tree? Found on shores of eastern Lake Onto. – has irregular small apple size fruit with alternate compound leaf – looks like Sumac but Sumac leaves are compound opposite leaflets and not as dark green.
Identifying plants and trees from photographs can be somewhat challenging. The description of the leaf–alternate compound–and the fruit certainly helps to narrow down the possibilities. But having information about the bark and twigs (colour, buds) is also valuable in making an accurate identification.
Based on the information that has been provided, it’s possible that the tree in the photograph is a Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis). The fact that this tree is growing near water supports the identification–“The bitternut hickory is found in southern Ontario. It grows best on low, moist ground”. It’s also the only native pecan hickory that grows in Canada.
For further information on the bitternut hickory, take a look at the following sites:
Another possibility that has been suggested is the Red Hickory (Carya ovalis). However, it is relatively rare in Ontario.
We hope that this information will be helpful to you in being able to definitely identify this tree.