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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lophostemon confertus - Brisbane Box

Nice tree, too bad about the name. Was Tristania, now Lophostemon, yikes. Anyway as I said,  the Brisbane box is a beautiful evergreen tree, 35 - 45' x 25', moderate to fast grower. Generally narrow cone-shaped or narrowly oval but some are broadly oval to almost rounded. Too bad they are so variable, it possibly impacts selection for use as a street tree. The first picture is from Cal Poly and was called Tristania when I was there.

This one is at the Arboretum but looks like the ones on Soquel Ave just south of Chanticleer  Ave.

Leaves are evergreen, opposite, simple, 4 - 6" long, x 1 to 1-1/2" wide, elliptical to lanceolate, entire margins, leathery, dark green, lower surface lighter green. (Petioles smooth unlike madrone). New foliage has a nice red color.

Small white flowers with fringed stames. Interesting to see but not really showy in the tree. What's with the stamens on southern hemisphere plants anyway?

Small capsules, eucalyptus like, 3 sided, about 1/2" diameter.

Stems reddish brown as you can see in the above picture.

Bark smooth until later, exfoliating in paper like sheets somewhat like our native madrone. Eventually bark is gray brown in small plates.

Misidentification: Often confused with the Madrone, the Arbutus menziesii, but the young stems on the madrone are hairy usually as the madrone has fleshy fruit, the leaves are serrated on the madrone but the bark does look similar.

Soquel Ave south of Chanticleer are some decent looking specimens.
Nice row as street trees on Poppy Way in Aptos.

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