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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Melaleuca linariifolia - Flax leaf Paperbark

There are so many of these small trees that you really notice them when they explode in color in late June. The flax leaf paperbark is a small evergreen tree, 20-25' tall with a  densely rounded canopy. Could be described as billowy, or puffy. Not really rounded then, irregularly rounded. These are on Main St in Soquel.



Leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, linear shaped, 1 to 1-1/2" long, less than 1/8" wide, dark green on both sides, somewhat bluish colored. Don't be misled in the winter, its not a Yew. 



These trees bloom profusely in summer, June into July (other common name is Snow in Summer). Masses of small white flowers borne at near the tips of new shoots. Showy part of the flower is the stamens, which look fringed.




Fruit is a small capsule, brown, 1/8" diameter  clustered on the stems, lasting 2-3 years.



Stems are tan colored, developing into a white and brown papery peeling bark.



Misidentification:
Not a conifer, look for the fruit when the plant is not blooming. Other Melaleucas, such as M. styphelioides (big tree, not small and rounded).

Location:
Capitola
Monterey Dr at New Brighten School, by the sports fields.

Santa Cruz 
2057 Mission St at the doctors office, intersection of Mission, Almar and Younglove.
County Building on Ocean in the parking lot. 


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