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I'm in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, OR area).

I have a couple of these small (currently 8-10') trees in my back yard. The previous owners of the house pollarded the trees at some point, probably 6-7 years ago, so I can't determine their natural height.

Here's a full view.

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The younger growth is curious in that the branches and stems have little "wings" in pairs alternating and offset by 90°, as seen in the following two images.

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A Google search on "tree branch with wings" turns up some images that look vaguely similar under the name "winged elm" but I'm not sure it's the same tree. The image in Wikipedia for Ulmus alata bears only a passing resemblance to the branches on my trees, on which the wings are much "sharper", clearly arranged in opposing pairs and alternating 90° at 1-2" intervals.

Is this a variety of winged elm, or something else?

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That looks like a Euonymus alatus (burning bush) - the species, not the "dwarf" variety. They get 15' high and wide. The keys to ID are the leaf shape and, especially, the fall color - a vibrant, bright magenta (in the Midwest and East, at least). Do you remember the fall color for this plant?

  • I think you’re on the right track (Euonymus) but it looks more like E. Phellomanus. Fall color is unspectacular and mostly dark yellow, and these specimens have not flowered in the 3 years I’ve been here. According to the Wikipedia article, E. Alatus’ range does not include the Pacific Northwest. – Jim Garrison Mar 16 at 6:35
  • Well, if their fall color isn't wildly magenta, then I'm wrong, but gee, those stems sure look like E. alatus. It's interesting that E. alatus isn't planted in the NW at all; since it's non-native and a stalwart of northern plant nurseries, I just assumed it was everywhere north of zone 7. You're lucky it isn't, in that it's considered an invasive plant in Wisc and, I think, Minn. – Jurp Mar 16 at 15:02

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