On the 1000 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, among the exhaust and the crowds, you can find inner peace. Two small cedars, no more than 3 feet tall, are planted by the curb, and they resemble the miniature trees grown for the Japanese art of bonsai.

Aarin Packard of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum doubts that they’re bonsai, though. “I don’t know; it’s not very common, I think, for people to discard bonsai in that manner,” he said. After examining a photo of the trees, he’s sure: “Just in terms of the basic style of bonsai, that doesn’t look like bonsai.”

Doubts about their bonsai-ness accompany doubts about their provenance. A guard at the closest office building suspected the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District was the culprit. Golden Triangle said to try the city. The city denied planting the trees—an arborist said they’re too small for their 4-foot-by-4-foot boxes—but is looking for whoever did.

“We’ll do an investigation into who planted the trees, if they had a permit, if they did not have the permit,” says Erik Linden, spokesperson for D.C.’s transportation department, which manages the city’s tree boxes. “But we’re not gonna go out and cut the trees down. We’re not in the business of doing that.”