Sunday, September 21, 2014

Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal' - Icee Blue® Yellow-Wood

This cultivar is pretty new on the market but the blue color should make it very popular and I have seem them popping up in several yards. According to Monrovia Nursery, it's a slow grower but will reach 15-25' and be as wide (oops) and be pyramidal, not sure how that works, but we will see. Spectacular specimen in South Africa.



Foliage is spirally arranged, narrowly oblong or elliptical, 1-2" long, blueish gray, stiff and thick. They have longitudinal stomatal bands on the upper leaf surface along the edge of the leaf, as well on the lower surface.







Plants are dioecious and I have no idea which sex this clone is. There seems to be remnants of some reproductive structures but I don't know which they are. You can see the dried up bits, but again, I am not sure what they are.



As you may notice Monrovia has trademarked the name Icee Blue so no one else can use the term, and as typical they have bent the rules for naming cultivars by assigning it a nonsensical name. Mon for monrovia.

Misidentification:
not sure, blue foliage is pretty unique.

Location:
Aptos
Cabrillo College Hort center, by the main building,
440 Cliff Drive.

Acca sellowiana - Pineapple Guava

The Pineapple Guava is a commonly planted small evergreen tree or shrub, planted as a screen or as an accent tree showing off the beautiful flowers or the edible fruit. Grows to about 15-20' by 8-10' wide, and usually multi stemmed. You are more likely to see it being used as a hedge or screen.



Evergreen leaves are alternate, simple, oval to elliptical shaped, 1 - 2" long, dark green upper surface, white lower surface. The white undersides and stems make the plant look blue green from a distance.




Flowers appear in early spring, usually singly, with four fleshy petals that are white on the outside and pink on the inside, about 3/4".  The red showy bits are long bright red stamens. Flowers are edible.



The edible fruit (a berry) is oval shaped, bluish green, 2" long, with a whitish fleshy pulp. Strongly fragrant and very tasty. Strawberry to pineapple flavors.



Trees can produce huge amounts of fruit, and many times most of it ends up on the ground.



Young stems covered with white hairs.



Bark is tan, stems never really develop a wide girth.



For those using the plant for fruit production there are lots of cultivated varieties available.  Can't say I have ever noticed the cultivars being sold in local nurseries.

Feijoa is the old name.

Misidentification:
Not sure,

Location:
Everwhere,

Banksia integrifolia - Coast Banksia

Commonly called the Coast Banksia or Coastal Banksia, this interesting plant has a variable growth habit ranging from a large upright tree to a spreading large shrub, usually  with a single trunk but can me multi stemmed if shrub like. Other sources indicate there are four subspecies so my guess is that has a lot to do with the variability. The specimens I have seen in town grow upright and are about 25-30' and look like the one below seen at the USCS Arboretum. 



The evergreen simple leaves are whorled in groups of 3 to 5, oblanceolate, 3-5" long, dark green upper surface, silver below, thick and leathery texture.




Young stems are covered with a whitish coat of hairs, older stems become tan colored.



Notice the whorled leaf arrangement as well as the copper colored stems.



Banksia "flowers" are beautiful, though what we are looking at is an inflorescence or a group of flowers perhaps several hundred individuals on a woody stalk, arranged in a spiral, opening from the bottom up to the top. 

Individual flowers are usually light yellow or greenish and mostly what you see is the style, which is the female part of the flower.




After pollination, the "cone" develops, which is not a true cone but a collection of follicles arranged on a woody stalk and opening when dry or exposed to fire. Students mentioned they look like clams opening.



Bark is rough gray to brown and shallowly checked.



Misidentification:
lets hope there are not many other Banksias out there, just kidding really, look at the foliage, as other Banksia trees have different leaf shapes.

Location:
Aptos
564 Santa Marguarita Dr
630 Cliff Dr

Dodonaea viscosa 'Purpurea' - Purple Hopseed

The purple hopseed is a rapidly growing small tree or more likely a large shrub, but we can include it here anyway. Growing to 15', individual plants will form an upright oval shape. More often than not we seem them as a hedge or screen.



Leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, oblong to oblanceolate,  4" by about 3/4" wide and depending on the sun exposure and cooling temperatures they can be purple to greenish bronze. Generally held vertical on the stems.






Small green flowers in the spring, in clusters, hard to spot. Separate male and females on the same plant (monoecious). Can't say I have ever seen them or even looked for them.


Fruit is a 2-3 winged capsule, reddish to brown when mature. Resembles an elm fruit. But must look like a hop plant, unless you have actually seen a hop plant.



A fresh capsule, still red and showing the 3 lobes.


Bark is fibrous, peeling with age. Trunk never really gets that big in diameter.


Misidentification?
Not sure.

Location:
Everywhere, sorry but its the truth.

Zelkova serrata - Japanese Zelkova

The Chinese Zelkova is a medium to large sized deciduous tree growing to 50 plus feet, with a short trunk and an upright vase shape eventually spreading with age. Younger trees show a very upright V habit. Resistant to Dutch Elm disease and is recommended as a replacement for many elms.




Leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 1.5 to 2.5" long, with large very uniform serrations. Medium to dark green, sort of dull and much lighter below. Leaf tip is long and pointed.



Buds are easy to spot. They are divergent (spreading) on the reddish brown thin zig-zag stems. They are sharply pointed with imbricate scales.



Fruit are wingless drupes (aren't they all, if they had a wing I think they would be a samara), green turning brown when mature.



Spectacular bark. Like the Chinese Elm, gray with an orange brown inner bark. When young they have lots of lenticels.



Fall color is pretty good, or fair, depending on the tree. Can be red to yellow and in-between.



 Two trees on 7th side by side.



Older specimen in Spokane, showing the strong V shaped branching of the primary lateral branches.



They make spectacular bonsai.


Misidentification:
Maybe the Ulmus parviflora, due to the bark and the leaves, but look at the leaves carefully, the serrations are much different.

Location:
Capitola
Across from New Brighten School on Monterey Blvd.
Also just up the street are a few large ones, 825 Monterey Blvd

Santa Cruz
7th Ave young ones, around the 1000 block

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Acacia stenophylla - Shoestring Acacia

The Shoestring Acacia is a fast growing smaller evergreen tree reaching 25-30 with upright branching and somewhat bent or twisted to weeping secondary branches seemingly going all over each other. Generally single stemmed but can be found as a multi stemmed tree. Not really attractive in a small container and needs a good salesperson with a nice specimen on hand to sell them. Life span is reported to be plus or minus 50 years but I have seen several just fall over. 





Leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, simple, linear, 12 -16" long by 1/3 - 1/2" wide, dull gray-green color on both sides, thick textured, generally straight but some lightly curved. They are technically phyllodes and not leaves, but flattened petioles which is the stalk of a typical leaf.




Flowers appear in the spring but I have yet to see any on the few trees in SC county. They are light yellow and in round clusters like many other acacias.

Fruit is a pod, often called a loment because of the restrictions between the seeds, 3-5" long, tan to brown in color. Pod will often break apart at the constrictions. The pods I collected form seed off the trees in Santa Barbara came with weevils in every seed.



Stems are mahogany colored, thick and more or less shiny. Vegetative buds are tiny.



Bark is persistent, rough, dark gray with reddish inside the checked bark.



Misidentification:
Cant think of anything

Location:
Aptos:
Cabrillo College Hort Center (6500 Soquel Drive)
455 Sandalwood Dr.

Capitola
4525 Garnet St.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Albizia julibrissin 'Rosea' - Rosea Silk tree

A nice dark pink or rose colored cultivar of the standard Mimosa tree. From what I can tell they look just like the species in all aspects except the flower color, so please see the description of the tree in that post.



Flowers are much darker pink almost rose colored.




You will see that some good references consider this a botanical form or forma and not a cultivar.

The RHS considers it a forma
The USDA considers it a variety
Cal Poly considers it a 'Cultivar'

Location:
Aptos
Marlo Ct off Soquel Dr.

Capitola
216 Central Ave