Large-Leafed Tree (Need ID help)

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Date Photo Taken: October 5, 2010
Location: Decatur, GA
Posted By: Kerimbaev


Moderate-sized trees growing along stream bank in the Parkwood Park of Decatur, GA. We thought this might be one of the two mulberry species, just with very large leaves, but weren’t sure. Leaves are as large as 11″ long and 8″ wide, some larger, some smaller, but much larger than your average mulberry leaf. Leaves all ovate and not lobed like mulberries, but serrated like mulberries with a very rough, sandpapery feel. Leaves simple and alternate. The bark had characteristic patches of striated, bulging roughness at regular, wide intervals along the trunk and branches, as seen in the photo. Did not see any flowers or berries.


  1. Shannon Pable Unregistered says:

    Looks like red mulberry, Morus rubra


    October 11th, 2010 at 9:47 pm
  2. Dub Strickland Unregistered says:

    After studying Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants 5th edition for a while I believe this is a Bass Wood (Tilia of some sort). The references I have indicate exact id is very difficult and requires being able to spend time with the specimen.
    Will be interested to know for sure.

    October 11th, 2010 at 10:06 pm
  3. Kerimbaev Unregistered says:

    Thanks, that’s what I’d decided on. It’s the biggest leafed mulberry i’ve ever seen though — 11 inch leaves not counting the leaf stalk!

    October 11th, 2010 at 10:31 pm
  4. Swimdawg Unregistered says:

    I agree on the basswood. The final check would be to go and knock on the trunk. Many basswoods sound somewhat hollow when you knock. Also, if you break a twig it will not have the milky sap that mulberries do.

    October 12th, 2010 at 4:33 pm
  5. Shannon Pable Unregistered says:

    Morus and Tilia can be hard to differentiate.
    There are red mulberries that are absent of lobed leaves…also mulberry leaves have a sandpapery feel and basswood does not.
    Swimdawg is correct, check the sap; mulberry is milky, basswood clear.
    Also, if the tree is immature and/or in shade, the leaves will typically be larger than normal.
    Here are some more links to compare:


    October 13th, 2010 at 8:24 am
  6. Kerimbaev Unregistered says:

    Thanks all of you. The only book I have is Peterson’s guide to eastern trees. The leaves are sandpapery above and below, and the bases of leaves are even and squared off. Book says basswood does not feel sandpapery and leaves have uneven bases. I’m going to try to grab a twig with leaves today and check the sap, try to find evidence of basswood fruits on tree or ground, knock on trunk, see if there are hairs on leaves and twigs, etc. Peterson’s has never failed me in the past although I’ve seen better books with more keys and more detail… Trying to inventory all the trees in Parkwood Park since they are old and huge and we’re trying to clean up the Park of invasives and exotics, but these trees will definitely stay, they are beautiful! The investigation continues….more later!

    October 13th, 2010 at 9:50 am
  7. Kerimbaev Unregistered says:

    Well I can’t reach the leaves anymore — they’re too high up. I was able to reach a large, dying leaf from an off-shoot tree at the base of the big tree, but no sap came out! But the leaf was VERY sandpapery and rough, not like a basswood leaf at all, right? The trunk sounded hollow in some places and some places it didn’t. I didn’t see any evidence of basswood fruits around it. Isn’t it true that male mulberry plants never have fruit? Basically I didn’t learn anything new yesterday, so this tree remains a mystery, but I feel like it’s a mulberry with ginormous leaves. I saw a leaf on it yesterday that was easily over 12 inches long, probably 14 inches no counting the stalk, but I couldn’t reach it. Wouldn’t it be great to have a trained monkey to climb tall trees and bring you things to ID it? 🙂

    October 14th, 2010 at 3:11 pm
  8. Linda Unregistered says:

    Looks like the TUNG oil tree to me

    September 4th, 2012 at 4:00 pm
  9. W Russell Unregistered says:

    We have the same large leaf tree it’s very hard to kill this tree.
    In past years there were pinkish purple flowers on this tree,
    Where ever a bloom would land you get a seedling if you don’t remove them.Iv’e been trying to find the name of this tree for many years.

    May 5th, 2015 at 10:59 am
  10. Lisa Unregistered says:

    This leaf looks like those on a tree that we have on our property in Michigan. It has beautiful white flowers. We have been here 3 years and this is the first year that it blossomed.

    June 27th, 2015 at 5:21 pm
  11. ave head Unregistered says:

    I think it maybe the Catalpa tree. Yes, it has a flower and long seed pods. Sometimes called the cigar tree

    October 11th, 2015 at 6:26 am

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