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Friday, November 28, 2014

Radermachera sinica - China Doll

I recall seeing these trees when I first started riding the neighborhoods and thinking, yikes, I know that plant, its a house plant. Not sure anyone really plants one from a nursery, just like some of the Norfolk Island Pines, they just got too big for a pot and the room they were in. Here's one in front of an apartment that someone must have planted years ago, my guess is the renter needed to move and had no way of taking it with them. Seems very happy to be in the ground, and was not part of the original design.



China doll can reach 100' in their native habitat, but likely topping out at about 30' around here. Definitely a tropical and exotic looking tree. Upright to spreading habit with multiple primary leaders. Blooms late summer.




Leaves are evergreen, opposite, bipinnately compound, 20-30" long, with glossy dark green 2" long narrowly ovate leaflets with an accuminate tip and a long petiole.





Flowers are fragrant, large 3", white trumpet shaped flowers with a yellow throat, looking like white hankies extending above the foliage. They are related to Catalpa.

Fruit is a long narrow capsule that curves. Splits when mature, revealing a thin membrane separating the two halves of the fruit.



Young stems are thick, brown with large white lenticels and big leaf scars.



Older stems keep the scars.



Misidentification:
Leaves might look like Koelreuteria bipinnata?

Location:
Aptos
1800-1827 Sumner Ave

Santa Cruz
2266 Chanticleer -- Really nice specimens, and always blooms.
1480 Creekview Ln.

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