What could this be?

« Back to Name that Plant

Date Photo Taken: Sept 15, 2011
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posted By: PGT


These bushes/trees are invading my yard and tolerate deep shade. Spreads seems to be too fast for seeds so might be by roots (Argg!) Thought might be Paulownia but leaves are not quite heart-shaped, too thin and edges more finely serrated but stem seems hollow (like Pualownia.) Any idea what this is and any guess whether I will have to use Round-up to get rid of it?


  1. Christina Rois-Mendez Unregistered says:

    I believe it’s a cottonwood.

    I’m a Horticulture student at Gwinnett Technical College.

    September 15th, 2011 at 1:38 pm
  2. PGT Unregistered says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I looked at pictures of cottonwoods, and believe it is something else. I realized that from the picture it isn’t obvious but the leaves are opposite, not alternate like cottonwood’s and are held on firmer stalks than cottonwods (unless cottonwoods have different appearance as saplings.) Something else I noted was a funny distinct smell when pulling on the stems and leaves.

    September 18th, 2011 at 12:47 am
  3. Walter Reeves The Georgia Gardener says:

    Due to the funny smell, I’m wondering if it’s Clerodendrum trichotomum. Your leaves are more serrated than the clerodendrums I remember though.

    September 18th, 2011 at 9:26 am
  4. PGT Unregistered says:

    Thanks for the help. After looking at several pictures, I think Clerodendrum chinese is closer as its leaves are more serrated and the height descriptions match better. Since I haven’t experienced the flowers, I’m finding it hard to believe that the flowers could smell good as the stem and leaves don’t. Thanks again, I was able to find other references and will be removing it before it takes over the yard.

    September 18th, 2011 at 11:51 am
  5. Marie Unregistered says:

    Does your plant smell like peanut butter when you touch it? If so, it might be a Harlequin Glory Bower. They definitely spread by their roots. I tried digging mine up, but it was quite difficult. They just sprang up every where there were root fragments. After about three years, my plants did bloom with tiny white flowers and a wonderful fragrance – a cross between vanilla and a fabric softener sheet.

    October 5th, 2011 at 8:36 am
  6. ckirk Unregistered says:

    Looks like a common mulberry to me. A well fertilized mulberry can produce leaves that big easily.

    You need to dig up the root to get rid of mulberries but it’s a food source. You may want to leave one or two for yourself and the birds to munch on.

    I’m not a expert in plant and tree ID so take my ID with a grain of salt 🙂 Good luck.

    December 31st, 2011 at 3:02 pm
  7. Whayne Stapleton Unregistered says:

    I have a new home and have a tree with this same leaf.I believe it is an “American Basswood.”

    September 8th, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Leave a Reply