Can you please help me to identify this mystery tree. I have been trying to identify it for four years (Leafsnap app didn't help). Here are a few things about the tree.

  1. All the leaf veins are parallel. They remind me of a dogwood tree, but it's not a dogwood tree.enter image description here

  2. The leaves are very small, about 3 cm in length, 2 cm wide. Here is a ripped leaf. a ripped leaf

  3. The leaves grow together from a joint point. Here is another picture: image

  4. There are some flowers, but they don't look like flowers. They look like tiny green buds. They smell like honey (or this is just my imagination), but no petals ever show up. The flowers are extremely tiny, all grow from a joint point.

  5. After blossoming (if you can call it this way) there are no berries or fruit. All the seeds mysteriously disappear.

  6. The bark is black. bark

  7. The tree is not tall. It equals an apple tree in size.

  8. It is growing in Eastern Europe, but it was planted by someone. It is not a native plant and there are no plants like this around.

  9. It's deciduous. The leaves are gentle and soft, not like apple or pear tree leaves. The leaves are not shiny.

I am attaching pictures of leaves and flowers. If you need a picture of a tree trunk, let me know, I can take some as well.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Where is it from? $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba May 22 '17 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ Right now it is growing in Eastern Europe, it was definitely planted by someone, but the tree is definitely not native species. It's the only tree like that I have ever seen my whole entire life. $\endgroup$ – treehugger May 22 '17 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I will take one soon and post here. $\endgroup$ – treehugger May 23 '17 at 3:52
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    $\begingroup$ It's deciduous, of course. The leaves are very soft and gentle. $\endgroup$ – treehugger May 23 '17 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ I added a picture of a ripped leaf. It is a zigzag clean break, no stringy strands. $\endgroup$ – treehugger May 24 '17 at 16:27

It looks like a Purging Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) - Native to Europe and North Asia. It is the food-plant of the Brimstone butterfly.

enter image description here

See Woodland Trust

If it is isolated from others perhaps it is rarely pollinated and never produces berries.

enter image description here

From http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/conservation/allotments/

It is unusual to see such a large specimen but here is a photo taken in Oct 2016 at Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve in West Sussex, UK. The vale has many Purging Buckthorn of a mature age and size as shown in middle of the photo with people to give some scale. Well worth a visit if you ever get a chance, it is one of Europe's most impressive yew forests.

enter image description here


See also http://www.hainaultforest.co.uk/5Purging%20buckthorn.htm

  • $\begingroup$ I too suspected this species but its leaf size is larger than OP's leaf (if 3cm is not an average lower limit). Size $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba May 25 '17 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe it is undergoing senescence and its leaf size is naturally diminishing? $\endgroup$ – Martin Hügi May 25 '17 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ If this is Rhamnus cathartica, it must be one of the biggest ones I have ever seen. I only know it as a small shrub, up to 5 meter max. Can't it be another Rhamnus species? $\endgroup$ – RHA May 25 '17 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ Added a photo of Kingley Vale where there are many large Purging Buckthorn 'trees'. Of course, yes it could be something else. $\endgroup$ – Martin Hügi May 25 '17 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ @treehugger Buckthorns can lack spines. $\endgroup$ – RHA May 25 '17 at 18:10

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