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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Crinodendron patagua - Lily of the Valley Tree

Lily of the Valley Tree, what a cool name. Native to Chile, not a lot of trees around from Chile and this one is pretty rare. I think I have seen two or maybe three of them in various locations, but only one(s) in SC county, that being the two downtown on Center St. at Church.

Descriptions of this tree vary widely, from a 35' tree to a large shrub. Going with the tree form like ours and the one on the campus of Cal Poly SLO where I first saw one. More like 20-25' tall, rounded to oval crown of equal spread and upright arching branches.  This broadleaf evergreen has beautiful flowers and nice shiny leaves.





Leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical shape, 2-3" long with finely serrated margins and slightly undulated. They are dark glossy green above and lighter below.



Flowers are beautiful and must look like the lily of the valley bulbs (?). White pendulous bell shaped flowers with 5 petals appearing in early summer. Stiff petals and peduncle, not very delicate, borne singly at each node but appearing in clusters.



The fringe look to the flowers comes from the tip of the petals. You can see they have three points, with the longest in the middle.



Fruit are cool. Green, turning orange when mature, opening with orange inner walls and black seeds.



Young stems are medium, brownish in color. Small buds.



Bark is quite pretty as well.




Misidentification:
Not sure, most likely it will look like something you don't know. Maybe a holly Oak?

Location:
Santa Cruz
Corner of Church St and Center St. There are two of them.

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