Trying to identify a tree

Solanales88(3b)June 20, 2012

I have this really beautiful tree in my garden that came with the house, but I'm having trouble identifying it. It produced clusters of little red leaves early in the season, as well as small flower bud clusters that resembled cauliflower florets (my mom affectionately calls it her "buttered cauliflower tree" lol). As the flowers got bigger, they opened to look like yellow astilbe plumes, and now the leaves look similar to rowan, only more rigid. My neighbour thought it was filipendula, but I don't think it is; the flowers are different in shape and colour, and the growth habit seems different. I would really appreciate it if anyone could help me identify it.

The picture isn't great (my camera is terrible), but it's the "flowers" as they opened.

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here's a picture from earlier in the season

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:06AM
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and one more picture

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:07AM
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When I saw the first picture I thought of the Japanese Tree Lilac. Is this it?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:02PM
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No, definitely not a lilac. It doesn't show in the picture I uploaded, but there is a Japanese lilac right beside this mystery tree, and the shape, leaves, and flowers are all wrong. Also, the "flowers", if that's what they are, never opened more than what's in the first picture. They weren't fragrant, either. :(

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:02AM
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It's an Elderberry (Sambucus sp.)

Your photos don't reflect enough unique characteristics to identify which species though.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:52AM
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The first to bloom in our area is the Red Elderberry, usually early to mid spring. The flowers are like the ones in your photo and not like the flat topped group of flowers seen on other species. The blooms of Red Elderberry have a strange and some would say unpleasant scent but only up very close. A nice shrub for shady woodland gardens and good for birds.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Thanks for the help. It's a nice tree, though mostly fruitless. The robins seem to like nesting in it though, which is good

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 9:59PM
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