Does anybody know what this plant is?

I took these pictures today in Moldova, Eastern Europe.

it's a bush, 1.5 meters tall, the leave size of my hand, there were more of them growing from the root have been cut off, haven't seen any flowers yet, growing for 2 years already

these were planted on purpose, we were told they are Aronia, but they obviously aren't

Click on pictures for bigger view.

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larger pictures:




november update: leaves have fallen off:

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2019 UPDATE: it finally made fruit here's the pictures: green fruit ripe fruit ripe fruit and leaves ripe fruit close

  • The last figure seems something similar artichoke. From the other picture, I would also subscribe for a member of the family of Asteraceae ( Compositae ). I cannot indentify it. Oct 21, 2016 at 19:29
  • Omu, need more information. I need some scale...are these leaves more than 6" or less than 6". Have you seen any seed pods, flowers?
    – stormy
    Oct 21, 2016 at 21:06
  • Giacomo; I got stuck in Paeonia!! But I also thought artichoke. Too woody of a perennial for artichoke or thistle. You would think heavily tomentose leaves would be easier to suss out. I did get as far as Inula helenium which is asteraceae and then threw up my hands. Are you using subshrub or shrub? Or tree? for starters. My goodness. Hey, I cannot identify it either!! Wish I had my library of BOOKS. Doing this on the internet is worse than working with microscopes for 3 hours at a time...arrrgghhh!
    – stormy
    Oct 21, 2016 at 21:13
  • it's a bush, 1.5 meters tall, the leave size of my hand, there were more of them growing from the root have been cut off, haven't seen any flowers yet, growing for 2 years already
    – Omu
    Oct 21, 2016 at 21:46
  • Can you find any seed capsules on the ground? Lovely leaves! Great cinnamon colored bark.
    – stormy
    Oct 22, 2016 at 23:24

3 Answers 3


Update 2019, see below:

I think this is a young Whitebeam. Perhaps Sorbus hybrida or S. latifolia or S. intermedia.

  • Sure looks good, Brenn. The scale throws me a bit...what the heck are you using for a key? I spent years learning to use the Pacific Northwest dichotomous Key and learning how to do hit or miss on the internet. Did you buy an app?
    – stormy
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:36
  • 1
    @stormy, I grew up with horticulturalists as parents, worked in a nursery for 15 years and was a bit of a collector. I once had about 1200 species of plants in my garden and in a rented greenhouse. As a collector, you become obsessed with taxonomy and when you're very close to live plants of a vast array of Families, you start to immediately recognize certain traits that allows you to narrow down the specimen to at least a Family, if not Genus.
    – Brenn
    Oct 30, 2016 at 20:35
  • 1
    In this case, I too thought the leathery, upcurled leaves were viburnum like but then remembered that there was a fused-leaflet form of Sorbus. A quick search for palmate Sorbus led me to an approximate ID.
    – Brenn
    Oct 30, 2016 at 20:35
  • Thank you @susanabra for specifying the ID. Please post your conclusion as an answer.
    – Brenn
    Oct 30, 2016 at 20:36
  • @stormy I use dichotomous keys when trying to pinpoint cactus or orchid species. Because those Families are huge and can be so similar!
    – Brenn
    Oct 30, 2016 at 21:49

Sorbus x hybrida, Swedish service tree or oakleaf mountain ash, is what I thought. That might also explain the confusion with 'serviceberry' (ameliancher) and 'service tree' (sorbus x hybrida).

  • I've updated my question with new pictures with fruit
    – Omu
    Oct 1, 2019 at 21:16
  • The fruit clinches it for me. We have these growing quite a few places around here (Southern Denmark). The fruits hang on long after the leaves are gone. The birds seem much more interested in the Sorbus aucuparia fruits, but then, so am I. These are really nice little trees, though, and not nearly as weedy.
    – susanabra
    Nov 16, 2019 at 13:29

Here is an idea, my goodness this has just taken up my entire day. I am so obsessive with IDing. This is the closest I've found; Montanou grandiflora, Tree Chrysanthemum or Pom Pom tree. Pom Pom tree

  • Can't be - its been growing two years, and Montanou grandiflora is tender, it'd never survive the winters in Moldova, surely
    – Bamboo
    Oct 24, 2016 at 23:37
  • No kidding Bamboo!! Have you tried looking this plant up? This leaf is seriously unforgetable. Should have been a simple ID. If you look down to about the 4th picture, that is as close as I've come. Dark green, heavy texture, the ability to see a bit of the tomentose underside of the leaf...because it outlines the leaf viewing from above. There are incongrous details for this plant to be indigenous. Large leaved stuff will survive if it is a herbaceous perennial...this reminds me of Leather Leaf Viburnum which can handle zone 3 just fine.
    – stormy
    Oct 25, 2016 at 2:41
  • I had a brief look initially, but, then looked up Montanou and found it was tender...
    – Bamboo
    Oct 25, 2016 at 11:24
  • What do you think of Brenn's ID???
    – stormy
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:38

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