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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lyonothamnus floribundus aspleniifolius

The Catalina Ironwood is a really unique and attractive tree. Native to the Channel Islands off the coast of California. The variety with cut leaves is more common in nature as well as in cultivation. The trees stand out due to their habit, tall and narrow, growing up to 60' x 20'. Evergreen, with distinct leaves and beautiful fibrous bark make it a popular landscape tree. This is a fairly young specimen growing in a grove at Cabrillo.



The leaves are very distinct. Alternately arranged, pinnately compound, with deeply divided margins, that look like large fins or saw blades. Even the rachis is toothed. Dark green, 5-6" long, shiny, lighter on the lower surface. Usually 5 but sometimes 3 leaflets, considered palmately compound by some authorities. Jepson says, "simple to pinnately to palmately compound". Say what?



Young stems brown, with a nice large pointed terminal bud.



Flowers are very showy, but can be very high up in an old tree. Individual flowers are very small, arranged in a flat topped inflorescence that measures 8-16" across. Blooms in the middle of summer. 





This is the remnants of the flower cluster.



The bark is really one of the nicest features of the tree. Reddish brown to tan exfoliating in long thin strips. 



Misidentification: not likely, the leaves are very distinct.

Location:
Aptos: Sesnon house has 2 flanking the old house,
584 Rio Del Mar Blvd, is a nice large one.

Capitola: Interchange of 41st and Highway 1

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