What was the monster plant?

Yesterday evening I posted this picture of a scary-looking bit of vegetation that I found on the trunk of my car:

Readers tried to identify it, and several hit on the correct answer: it’s the seed pod of a tree. (It had fallen from the tree overhanging my car.) But what kind of tree? I don’t yet know, but I’ll show the underside of an older pod and then the leaves of the tree. An answer will be forthcoming with probability 100%:

The tree has leaves like this, so give us an ID:

 

53 Comments

  1. BobTerrace
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Subscribe

  2. GBJames
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    sub

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Is the older pod photographed against the bark of the appropriate tree, or something else. Seems a fairly distinctive pattern, but that might be a red herring. (Doesn’t look very wet and scaly though. Or red.)

  4. Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    subscribe

  5. Randy schenck
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I will guess Locus tree. Black locus

    • rickflick
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      That was my take as well. There are many “locust” trees – pod bearing – but I don’t recognize the funny looking thing in the picture.

      The under view looks like squirrels have opened up the shells.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        I am just the amateur here, guessing locus tree. But I think the others below got the fruit or seed – sedgequeen

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Leaf ID Off the top of my head

    Shademaster Honeylocust

    I fight understand it vis-a-vis the seed pod…. YET…

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      “Don’t” not “fight”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Shhh, Donald will hear you!

  7. E.A. Blair
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The leaves make me think of one of the varieties of locust tree, but the pod isn’t right.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I am heading in the same direction. The leaf appears to be alternately bipinnate. The most common images coming up for that are honey locust, which looks like a pretty good match. But those have bean-like pods, not the nut clusters of the top two images.

  8. Bill Morrison
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The hairy fruit cluster is from Corylus colurna. In today’s additional example the nuts were eaten by a pesky squirrel or maybe a Chicago rat. See :http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Corylus_colurna
    The compound leaf is from honey locust. Hazels don’t have compound leaves.

    • Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      But there aren’t any hazelnut trees around as far as I know. I’ll check again tonight, but there are two of those locust trees next to each other, and the ground underneath is littered with those pods.

      The mystery deepens.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        They’re alien, obviously. A species that disguises themselves as trees during the day.

        Now that they know you’re ‘on’ to them**, you are in grave danger. If you hear rustling noises outside your house at night, do not open your door.

        (This is well documented – see e.g. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day of the Triffids, Little Shop of Horrors, Alien, etc etc…)

        cr

        ** What, you think their mothership doesn’t monitor the Internet?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Also Dr Who’s She? has had at least one encounter with “Weeping Angels” with similar hoomin-stalking habits.
          Clearly I’ve not been looking up the actual sexist vitriol that has been vented over Dr Who investigating it’s feminine side. Otherwise I’d not just have had thoughts that would do justice to Robert Heinlein. Or Steve Bannon (spelling? ; the alleged auto-da-fe-later man).

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      I see the European hazel species (Corylus avellana) every day and the leaves in this photo are surely are not from a Corylus species. Furthermore, Wikipedia says: “Hazels have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins”.

  9. Simon Hayward
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    There is an iphone/iPad app called LeafsnapHD that will process your picture and make suggestions.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Siri says : “Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way.”

      There has got to be a way to elicit that response from the voice-powered digital assistant of your choice.

  10. Sagan Worshipper
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Some kind of chestnut tree?

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Those aren’t chestnut leaves.

  11. Posted August 7, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    If those are seedpods, where are the seeds?

    • Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Are we morphing from Day of the Triffids to Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      In the middle photo (“older pod”) you can see the cavities where the seeds were removed. Probably because they are tasty.

      • Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Those don’t have to be seed compartments. Gall wasps make similar compartments. Gall wasp compartments are more irregular while seed compartments are all nearly identical, with attachment points for the seeds, and usually a sharp suture for the capsule to open.

  12. Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Looked up street trees in chicago. Looks like a mix of Kentucky coffee tree for leaves and turkish hazel for the fruit. Hmmmm. ??????

  13. Merilee
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The leaves look just like my locust tree’s.

  14. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hypothesis: the fruits and the leaves do not belong to the same tree. The fruits were picked on a different one by a squirrel, or other vertebrate, and then eaten and dropped above Jerry’s car.

    • Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I think your hypothesis is correct.

      • Merilee
        Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Maybe even one of Jerry’s squirrels pranking him?

        • GBJames
          Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          That’s what I thought!

    • Rita
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I agree. The leaves are from the Fabaceae family, that would include the locust trees. But not the seed pod, that was obviously placed on Jerry’s car as a warning!

      • Jan looman
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        or as homage

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Squirrels waiting to ambush His CelingCatness? Or paying him back for last years sunflower seeds?

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:30 am | Permalink

      My thought exactly.

  15. Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I’m sure the fruits do not belong with those leaves. The fruit cluster is Corylus columa, which can be a tree or bush.

    The leaves could well be Black Locust (does the tree have pairs of short thorns?) or maybe Honey Locust. Anyway, they are from a legume tree (Fabaceae).

    • Bill Morrison
      Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      It’s colurna not “columa”.

      • Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Yes, I think that is the correct name. I found several variations in spelling on various sites.

    • Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I think the leaves come from the Kentucky coffee tree which is listed as a street tree in Chicago. And the thing Jerry initially asked about IS a cluster of nuts from a Turkish Hazel, which is also listed as a street tree in Chicago. So either Jerry is teasing us or something blew around and landed where it did not belong?

      • Pierluigi Ballabeni
        Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        See my hypothesis above.

        • Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          Yes, I saw it. It kind of confirmed for me my growing impression at comment #12.
          Plus as a somewhat naturalist the leaves and fruit just do not come across as belonging to the same family.
          So is Jerry teasing us deliberately.?

          • Perluigi Ballabeni
            Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

            He is just a Drosophila guy, maybe he does not know. 🙂

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted August 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

              At least “sedgequeen” is a queen in the appropriate Kingdom.

  16. Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    🐜

  17. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    I went to the Wikipedia entry for Turkish Hazel which is under the title Corylus colurna.

    One look at the gallery there is all it takes. The image captioned as Bristly Involucre is pretty compelling.

    It is a popular city street tree but not grown commercially except as a good root stock.

  18. Kevin
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    It is Capillamentum Praesidis.
    That is President’s Wig not to be confused with Capillamentum Pseudopraesidis, the False President’s Wig, which is not to be confused with Capillamentum Pseudopraesidis Vulgaris

  19. Kevin
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    This shrub has become rather invasive recently especially along the northern side of the US/Mexican border where it is showing signs of growing into an impenetrable barrier.
    There are fears that it has recently cross-fertilised with the Russian variant and that this resultant species could have an unpredictable effect on the world ecological balance. This is currently under stringent investigation by the Fruit and Bush Institute

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      😎

      cr

  20. Kevin
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The bush is thought to have been brought to the New World from the remoter mountainous regions of Sussex, England where it is known as the Piltdown Nut.
    The locals, who are known unaccountably as Pongos are noted for their habit of laconically chewing the fruit of this plant to the extent of provoking abnormal wear on their molars which has even been the subject of scientific discussion (notably by Arthur Keith).
    Prolonged exposure to nut chewing can provoke two unusual side effects: reduced cranial volume and abundant growth of orange tinted hair. The former has, in the past, contributed to rather startling, if erroneous, anthropological conclusions coming to be drawn from local cranial and mandibular fragments

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      🙂

      I drove past Piltdown in my recent meanderings (or at least past a sign that said ‘PILTDOWN 1’). Made me think of this bl*g for a moment.

      Didn’t notice any monuments (or any mountains for that matter, but that was probably due to the massive power and effortless hill-climbing abilities of my Fiat 500)

      cr

      • Kevin
        Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        My first pushbike was like that. Just couldn’t hold it back.
        The Sussex mountains are actually below sea-level. That’s why they are called the Downs.
        The highest one, -K2, was actually climbed by parachute.


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