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Can you identify this tree?

Here's a little test for anyone who loves a good plant identification challenge. There's a tree that proliferates here where I live in south west France but I've no idea what it is. The strange thing is, it has no specific normal leaf shape. Some leaves are ovate, others cordate, lobed and partially lobed. This tree has a few people stumped on Twitter and even Toby Buckland's having trouble. Click to enlarge picture - further images here: http://twitpic.com/2sgqdo http://twitpic.com/2sgq07

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  • at first i thought that the second pic was from an Indian bean tree (Cataplpa bignoniodes) have you any pics of the bark, does it flower / fruit
  • Im also tempted to say a Tulip tree as the leaves are similar.
  • Could it be desieised in any way or have a virus causing the leaves to mutate?

    I reckon it could be a form of catalpa too.
  • Catalpa is my guess... it could also be a hybrid of the Hippocastanoideae family, yeah I know its a huge family but I wouldn't want to narrow it.

    Some idea of tree size etc would be handy.
  • PRO
    It's not Catalpa, that I'm fairly sure. I can see the resemblance to Tulip tree (only in some of the leaf shapes). Sassafras has been suggested Rhonda and there does seem to be a strong look about it.

    I've not seen flowers, there's no scent to the leaves if crushed and the leaves go bright yellow in the autumn.

    I'm giving away a copy of Gardeners' World First Time Veg Grower by Martyn Cox and Pests and Diseases by David Hurrion to the first person who positively identifies the tree.
  • How about some pics of the bark and structure ?
  • PRO
    It's just been identified as a Paper Mulberry - Broussonetia papyrifera - by Simon Webster on Twitter.
  • Well it definatley got us all thinking.
  • you learn something new everyday -

    Rhonda Jack said:
  • Oh, the many faces of Rhonda !! As varied as the leaves on a Paper Mulberry :-)
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