What is this tree? – PLANT ID


this tree is outside my hoes ein teh ravine, its top is not growing. is this dead? what is this tree, does it flower? what should i do with it?


Hello – Identifying trees from a photo is always a challenge but I can offer some suggestions as to how to identify the species of your tree. The leaves of your tree are broadly heart-shaped which first made me think this could be our native eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis).  As the leaves seemed a bit large for eastern redbud (typically 3-5 inches high and wide) I then wondered if this could be a northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa).

There are a number of ways to differentiate between these two species.  First of all, northern catalpa with a mature height of 40-70 feet is a much bigger tree than eastern redbud which tops out at 26 feet.  The leaf arrangement is also quite different.  The leaves of eastern redbud are arranged alternately along the stem whereas the leaves on the northern catalpa are arranged in whorls of three leaves, that is, there are three leaves arranged in a group around the stem.  Both of these trees do flower.  The showy flowers on the eastern redbud appear in the spring before the leaves appear.  The branches are covered with small pea-like flowers in a rosy pink. The northern catalpa has much bigger flowers which are described as orchid-like and appear in the late spring. They are white with purple and yellow inner spots and grow in a loose cluster.  I’ve included links below to more information on each of these species.  Each of the articles have photos showing the flowers.

I can’t tell whether this tree will survive.  The parts shown in the photos certainly look healthy.  I suggest you’ll need the advice of an arborist to make this assessment.  To locate an arborist in your area, visit Landscape Ontario here. Their site contains excellent gardening information as well as lists of member companies providing services in a wide range of horticultural services.

I hope this information helps to identify the tree in your ravine and that it can be restored to good health.

Eastern Redbud

Northern Catalpa