While hiking in a nearby National Park, I came upon the specimen shown to the right, which was unlike any other tree in this oak/hickory forest.
I pulled out my trusty Smartphone App Guide to Trees of North America and started searching. Hmm, the trunk was a dark brown metallic looking color and smooth with no branches until 60 feet in the air. I could see this was an evergreen species with alternate compound leaves. Although the specimen was behind a locked fence, there were bumps all around the base sort of like the knees one sees on some Cyprus trees, although these circular ones resembled nuts and bolts.
The final tip came when I realized how strong reception was on the cell phone. This was most likely Sequoidendrum cellamturrim which has been discretely “planted” along interstates, golf courses, and alongside buildings. Like all non-native trees, we’ll have to be sure it doesn’t become invasive in the future.
Too funny, Nora!