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SOLVED: Tree with Large Heart Shaped Leaves

Rotorua, New Zealand

Hi, this is another tree I would love some help with. This tree has large heartshaped leaves (shown on A4 piece of paper). It is decidious. I don't remember seeing flowers. I have looked up Catalpa tree, but I don't think it is this, due to its open structure and lack of seed pods/flowers and I don't feel there is a match with the leaf patterning. As you can see, it is in a woodland setting which will have affected the shape of the tree, as it reaches for light. I also thought of lime tree, but the patterning on the leaf does not match.

Thumbnail by Hillegonda Thumbnail by Hillegonda Thumbnail by Hillegonda Thumbnail by Hillegonda
Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Perhaps Pawlonia.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Hi Diana, Yes... The leaves certainly look like Pawlonia, but they are not opposite, rather a bit more random. The description I read is that Pawlonia leaves have a woolly underneath but perhaps that is just Pawlonia tormentosa and there are a few different species of it... It has not flowered in the five years I have been living here.

Rotorua, New Zealand

What else can I say. The leaves are soft (not hard). They are green underneath.No hairs or furriness.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

The images you've provided show a plant with opposite arrangement of leaves. Your second picture shows this quite clearly.

I don't know what is normally available in New Zealand, but common trees with this leaf morphology and opposite arrangement are Catalpa sp. and Paulownia sp.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Hi Viburnum Valley. Thanks for your reply ! Here is another picture showing the leaf arrangement in another part of the tree. Sometimes the leaves are opposite in pairs, sometimes they are opposite not paired, and sometimes they are facing off in the same direction twice. Yes, I agree that the leaves look a lot like a Catalpa and Pawlonia. But I can't account for the lack of flowers... Perhaps you know whether some of these plants just don't flower ? I do know that Pawlonia grows in Rotorua (not common) and don't know about Catalpa. However this garden was previously owned by a "plant collector" so I am expecting this to be something not commonly seen around these parts....

This message was edited Jan 7, 2017 7:02 PM

This message was edited Jan 7, 2017 7:04 PM

Thumbnail by Hillegonda
Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

Maybe Idesia polycarpa.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Thanks growin. Yeah, it could be. The leaves look the same as Idesia.The leaves aren't really white on the back though they are a lighter colour. I will have to pay close attention during summer in case it gets the small flowers that are referred to on websites, but you know, I don't feel that I have ever seen them... (It is almost mid-Summer now and no sign of flowers...) Websites say I need a male and female to get red berries. It is amazing how many different plants have very similar looking leaves !

This message was edited Jan 7, 2017 7:45 PM

Rotorua, New Zealand

Another photo. So I don't think it is Idesia because the growth isn't red. But perhaps that redness only applies to what first happens in Spring I don't quite understand all the technical terms below but it does refer to dark red shoots. On the tree I have, some of the leave stalks are kinda red/green - like rhubarb.

Idesia Polycarpa: Widespreading open tree to c. 10 m (sometimes taller in cultivation). Trunk with somewhat smooth greyish bark. Shoots dark red at first, glabrous. Petioles 518 cm long, red or orange-red, usually with 2 cupular, sessile glands near apex and 13 sessile glands towards base. Lamina 1024 716 cm, glaucous below, glabrous except for tufts of hairs near base of 5 main veins, remotely serrate; base usually cordate, sometimes rounded; apex acuminate. Infl. yellowish tomentulose; fls appearing after lvs. Sepals of ? fls 810 mm long, of ? fls 57 mm long, elliptic, yellow-tomentulose on both sides. Stamens = sepals; filaments densely covered in white hairs in lower 1/2. Ovary glabrous; styles 23 mm long, widely divergent. Berries 710 mm diam., globose, orange-red or scarlet, long-persistent and eventually turning black. Seed 1.72 mm long, ellipsoid to obovoid; testa finely granular.
[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]

Thumbnail by Hillegonda
Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Plants grown in less sun often have less red (if they have any at all).
Your first pic shows a blushed petiole.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Thanks for that Diana. Yes, some of the leaf stalks (petioles) are a bit reddish. Idesia seems the best bet so far, so I shall just wait and see if it will flower.

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

You might want to open up the canopy a bit so that it will flower with more light. If it is Idesia, I've only seen them in the complete open with max sun. I guess it must need full sun for flower/fruit. The only other one's I kinda looked up were Davidia but the veination looks different and serration and then maybe some Clerodendron. I also noticed you're in USDA 10a which open up many more tender species.

This message was edited Jan 8, 2017 9:18 PM

Rotorua, New Zealand

Hi growin, thanks for that. The Davidia tree is lovely isn't it. Trees are jammed in everywhere in our woodland garden, which is why some plants have grown different from the norm (such as this one, which is not upright / flowering / much red). I think I'll call this post closed for now and record this tree as an Idesia.

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