Seems to be an evergreen, not sure what it is though. I don't remember it blooming, but it isn't in much sun. This is a small version of several that are around.
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The leaves and the arrangement of the the leaves looks like a rhododendron. I have a co-worker with a cabin on Smith Lake. They have a large rhodie that was there when the bought the place and it does well.
With the purplish leaves, I'd suggest Horse Sugar, Symplocos tinctoria
I thought it was a rhododendron as well, but can't seem to figure out which one. They seem to be evergreen, native as far as I know, and I haven't seen them bloom. There are some that are pretty large nearby.
In the same area are some native azaleas that are deciduous, the Alabama Azalea.
Are the leaves just a bit fuzzy?
Ron, are your parents Albert and Chesteen? Do you have any of the Alabama azaleas to trade? - Terry
I did collect some seed from the alabama azaleas pretty late, but I haven't tried them yet. I have been sprouting sourwood, and in looking for instructions on that I found the ones for collecting native azalea seed and sprouting them. I'll try this week, should know my results in a couple of weeks.
Parents are RB and Peggy, live between Bham and Tuscaloosa.
Did you decide if this is Horse Sugar, Symplocos tinctoria? If so, the leaves should eventually fall off or be pushed off by new leaves in the spring (it is not evergreen, just tardy).
Sorry I didn't respond til now, I was going there this past weekend and wanted to make sure my response is right.
Leaves are still on and show no signs of turning more purple. I haven't identified it yet. Nothing in any of the pictures matches just right. Either the leaves don't match, or the bark on the larger ones don't match. maybe it isn't native, as I'm looking through native plant books/sites.
I'll keep an eye on it to see if it produces any flowers, I don't remember any last year though.
I do have another tree that I'll post pictures of when it does flower in the spring, I haven't been able to id it either.
Did you notice if the leaves were a bit fuzzy or smooth overall?
Smooth on top for sure, and I didn't notice anything underneath. I'll check again the next time I'm there.
Has anyone thought it might be a sweet bay tree? I had a couple of them growing beside my little bayou here in Mobile. They don't get very big, and they are evergreen.
I have pictures but cannot find all the CDs I put them on
when I changed computers. drats....