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I saw this tree in Central Park, NY. Can anyone identify it?

enter image description here

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  • I see everyone thinks they're flowerbuds - but are they? They could be leaf buds which sit there till the time is right, your image doesn't magnify too well to see clearly... if they're not flowers, are the buds furry or fuzzy on the outside? And how big is the tree? Impossible to tell from the image, can you add another photo that displays the whole tree so we can see growth habit please?
    – Bamboo
    Dec 31 '18 at 23:26
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White/pink flowers before leaves, combined with the light spotty bark on the new shoots indicates a Magnolia. Possibly a star or saucer magnolia, hard to say at this point.

Edit: also in favour of Magnolia is the somewhat crazy branch/twig structure and the way it repairs itself after damage. Magnolia is dramatic due to its tendency to flower very early in the year (this one might do well to slow up and wait until about February) but otherwise is an untidy looking small tree, in detail, but is quite acceptable in overall shape/form from a distance.

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I think this might work? Aesculus hippocastanum or Horse Chestnut. Were you able to see any leaves lying on the ground?

flower bud of A. hippocastanum

branches of A. hippocastanum

the tree Horse Chestnut

stuff on the ground somewhere

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  • It's not likely to be a horse chestnut growing in New York, unless that picture was taken 9 months ago. The buds sometimes don't burst until April in the UK, and never before March.
    – alephzero
    Dec 31 '18 at 23:14
  • In London UK, horse chestnuts usually in flower late April or May, well after the leaves have appeared...unlikely to be Aesculus if these are actually flower buds
    – Bamboo
    Jan 1 '19 at 1:05
  • Horse Chestnuts grow very well in zone 3 and I can attest to that. New York is Maritime influence. Otherwise, sure looks like a Willow/Salix bud?
    – stormy
    Jan 5 '19 at 22:51

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