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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Luma apiculata - Chilean Luma

This beautiful small tree from Chile is known as the Chilean Luma, Orange-Bark Myrtle or the Chilean Myrtle due to its resemblance to Myrtle trees. I guess I see it, but not really. Luma grows quite large in its native forests, but in our climate I think they will likely top out at 25-30'. They form an upright slightly arching habit with multiple trunks, which is great because the bark is beautiful.

This is the clump of trees next to the fire station and the Civic. Used to be 3 trees, but one was cut down…...



Here is a single tree in SLO.



Leaves are opposite, simple, evergreen, leathery textured, dark green, 1" long, ovate, spicy fragrant with a distinct point at the tip of the leaf which is where it gets its name apiculata. Leaves are fragrant.



Flowering in the summer, in what appears to be an umbel of a dozen flowers, they are about 3/4" in diameter, white or pinkish, with four petals and lots of long stamens.





Fruit looks like a blueberry, develops late summer, Edible.


Bark is attractive, reddish - cinnamon when young and flaking off in small bits. At an older age it seems to develop patches of white.



Older tree at the SF arboretum.



Misidentification:
I think the foliage resembles Azara microphylla if you only look closely. Luma has opposite leaves and a distinct pointed tip, along with nice bark.

Location:
Santa Cruz
Center St between the Civic Auditorium and the Fire Station.

329 Lincoln St.

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