I've tried all the tree identifiers I could find and can't figure out what this tree is.

Key terms:

  • medium tree, perhaps 15 ft tall?
  • deciduous (sheds leaves in winter)
  • opposite leaves
  • compound leaves
  • bi-pinnate
  • either serrated, crenated, or indented edges
  • green leaves
  • sharp pointed leaf ends
  • I haven't seen it flower or fruit, haven't been here long enough to say if it does, and even then it may not have because of tree distress

Please excuse the poor quality pictures. The tree is in Arizona. I have seen one or two other trees in my city like it, but I feel quite confident it is not native to Arizona. Also, the tree is recovering from Mistletoe, a parasitic plant that tries to grow from the tree, I believe that's what the strange nodules are. The nodules look like nuts, but are growing directly from the bark (there is no stem).

Any help is appreciated, even if a best guess at its continent or country!

Click on any picture for full size.

picture 1 picture 2 picture 3

UPDATE! The tree is well enough to bloom! My camera phone is really bad, but here are some more pictures. The flowers have five white petals in a star pattern, and a purple trumpet-neck that doesn't open containing yellow stamen.

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  • 1
    I haven't forgotten about this! The tree is producing flower buds and I am waiting for them to open up so we can see what kind of flower it makes. I'm positive it will really help figure out what it is. Just stay tuned a little longer, perhaps a day or two more!
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 21:42
  • Updated! I kept waiting for the purple part to open but I guess they don't open up.
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 17:59

4 Answers 4


Difficult to say with these pictures. Bi pinnate leaves exclude Fraxinus or Golden rain (Laburnum anagyroides) and Pterocarya fraxinifolia, which has a comparable bark and the habit.

It looks like the leaves are alternating and not opposite (within the leaf the pinnate are opposite), which make Melia azedarach possible. Looking at the bark and the twigs I feel like it could be this, but the leaflets are of. Which brings us at the Koelreuteria. I don't know to much about this species, but google tells me that the mistletoe avoids Koelreuteria.

  • 2
    Melia azedarach flowers match exactly!
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:23
  • 1
    Indeed, looks like a perfect match. Don't be surprised that a plant in bad shape is flowering, that is often the case for plants in stress situations. Be aware, it's considered an invasive species in the US.
    – LaurensP
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 20:19
  • 1
    I agree, Melia azedarach or Chinaberry. This isn't invasive in Texas. Check to make sure no soil or mulch on the bark of the tree and that it isn't buried too deeply. Only roots should be buried. You need to get a sharp tree saw to thin out a few damaged branches and allow air to blow through the tree. The berries are poisonous if you eat too many. Don't allow pets or kids to mess or play with the fruit.
    – stormy
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 23:05

Possibly (most likely) Fraxinus (ash), although I couldn't hazard a species - can you break off two leaves and scan them (back and front) - usually gives a good result and at least then we can see some leaf detail


I was thinking golden rain tree at first, but GRT doesn't have bipinnate leaves. Then, oh wait. There are other species of golden rain tree, including...Koelreuteria bipinnata. I'm not certain it is that particular species, but it looks sort of like a Koelreuteria of some kind or another.

edit: or maybe a chinaberry (Melia azedarach)? Both golden rain tree and chinaberry have alternate leaves, though.


I’m pretty sure that is Melia azederach. If yellow berries follow the flowers then it’s definitely a Melia, or chinaberry. I grew one in Sydney Australia, and it grew very fast and was a beautiful small tree, but it got attacked every year by processional caterpillars, which covered the whole trunk in their thousands. They even found their way into the house. Sadly, we had to remove the tree because of these caterpillars.

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