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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Neolitsea sericea

I came around a corner and this tree looked so unfamiliar I had to stop to look. That's when I saw the red foliage that was growing on a sucker at the base and wow! No chance I had seen that before. I sent pictures to Matt Ritter of Cal Poly SLO for some ID help, and this was his educated guess from pictures.

This evergreen tree has a rounded, dense habit, reportedly growing up to 35'. This one seems to be close to 25' and about the same width.



Foliage is evergreen, simple, elliptical, oblong to ovate, about 3 -7" long, with three distinct veins coming from the base. Medium to dark green.



When the leaves emerge they have a downy look to them. This is the lower surface of the leaf.



Soon afterward the hairs fall off (?) and the the blade turns red. I must get to the tree in early spring. I cant image the foliage change over those few weeks.



Stems should have the same reddish colored hairs eventually turning green.



Flower buds are copper colored in clusters at the tips of the branches.



Fruit is a small red berry. Though I read the plants are dioecious, I doubt there is another one around supplying pollen.



Smooth bark.



Misidentification:
not sure, look at the leaves for the silvery lower surface and the 3 veins, and of course the red newish foliage.

Location:
Santa Cruz
100 Myrtle St.


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