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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quillaja saponaria - Soapbark Tree

The Soapbark tree is rather uncommon in Santa Cruz though there might be more that I see as its a pretty nondescript tree. Medium fast grower to 30 or so feet and about half as wide. Shape is variable, but generally upright columnar but as seen in this picture looking like an overgrown shrub. Chilian native tree.



Leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, oval to elliptical,  3/4" to 1 -1/2" long, leathery, shiny, medium to yellowish green, with sparsely toothed margins. Sessile, dont get to use that one very often, meaning that the leaves do not have a petiole.



Flowers are small (1/4"), white, green and yellow, borne in small clusters. 



Fruit is an interesting star shaped collection of 5 follicles about 3/4" wide. Each follicle opens along one opening resulting in a fruit that looks star shaped. Produced in large quantities around here.



Bark is dark gray with shallow furrows.



Misidentification:
not sure, the leaves are pretty distinct being really leathery.

Location
Aptos
290 St Andrews Drive on the Wingfoot side of the house.

1 comment:

  1. FWIW, this tree is not native to New Zealand. it is a native of central Chile in South America. that said, very nice pictures and your blog is a great source for seeing what grows in the area.

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