Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Acacia stenophylla - Shoestring Acacia

The Shoestring Acacia is a fast growing smaller evergreen tree reaching 25-30 with upright branching and somewhat bent or twisted to weeping secondary branches seemingly going all over each other. Generally single stemmed but can be found as a multi stemmed tree. Not really attractive in a small container and needs a good salesperson with a nice specimen on hand to sell them. Life span is reported to be plus or minus 50 years but I have seen several just fall over. 





Leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, simple, linear, 12 -16" long by 1/3 - 1/2" wide, dull gray-green color on both sides, thick textured, generally straight but some lightly curved. They are technically phyllodes and not leaves, but flattened petioles which is the stalk of a typical leaf.




Flowers appear in the spring but I have yet to see any on the few trees in SC county. They are light yellow and in round clusters like many other acacias.

Fruit is a pod, often called a loment because of the restrictions between the seeds, 3-5" long, tan to brown in color. Pod will often break apart at the constrictions. The pods I collected form seed off the trees in Santa Barbara came with weevils in every seed.



Stems are mahogany colored, thick and more or less shiny. Vegetative buds are tiny.



Bark is persistent, rough, dark gray with reddish inside the checked bark.



Misidentification:
Cant think of anything

Location:
Aptos:
Cabrillo College Hort Center (6500 Soquel Drive)
455 Sandalwood Dr.

Capitola
4525 Garnet St.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Albizia julibrissin 'Rosea' - Rosea Silk tree

A nice dark pink or rose colored cultivar of the standard Mimosa tree. From what I can tell they look just like the species in all aspects except the flower color, so please see the description of the tree in that post.



Flowers are much darker pink almost rose colored.




You will see that some good references consider this a botanical form or forma and not a cultivar.

The RHS considers it a forma
The USDA considers it a variety
Cal Poly considers it a 'Cultivar'

Location:
Aptos
Marlo Ct off Soquel Dr.

Capitola
216 Central Ave

Albizia julibrissin - Silk tree

The Silk tree or Mimosa tree is a fast growing small to medium deciduous tree commonly planted in Santa Cruz. Growing to 30' tall with an upright vase shape to a wide spreading umbrella habit, with horizontally layered branches on which the flowers are borne. Trees bloom in summer. They quickly lose all their foliage in fall and are late to leaf out. If you google Albizia you will see its most common websites discuss its invasiveness.





Leaves are deciduous, alternate, bipinnately compound, 18-20" long, each of the 20 or so lateral leaflets is also compound with 40 to 60 tiny 1/4" long linear leaflets.



The shade created by the foliage is nice, as is the view up into the canopy.



Flowers are beautiful and one of the reasons people plant these trees. Again, like some others in the Legume family that don't look like peas. The attractive part of individual flowers are the stamens. Individually they are small, borne in large clusters in a branched inflorescence.



Fruit is a pod, about 4-6" long, flattened and tan color. Reasonably persistent.



Misidentification:
In flower not likely, however students have a hard time with just the foliage, looking a lot like Jacaranda mimosifolia. But the Albizia leaf is shorter, as are the leaflets.

Location:
Aptos
421 Clubhouse Dr.

Capitola
1540 45th Ave

Sorbus aucuparia - European Mt. Ash

I saw this tree several years ago and thought it was being taken out, but its still hanging in there. The European Mt. Ash is a small to medium sized deciduous tree with great fall color and bright red-orange berries. Growing 20-40 feet tall and 8-10 wide with an upright oval habit but can be more open and rounded with age. Rarely seen in our area but more common over the hill. This one is multi-stemmed. You can see on the right that its growing pretty well over the neighbors house.



Different tree, in the fall.



Leaves are deciduous, pinnately compound, 7-9" long, with 9-15 leaflets, each about 1-2" long with serrated margins along the upper half of the leaf. Dark pale green upper surface, lighter green below, turning a beautiful red in the fall.



Flowers are white, small, about 1/3", white, borne in 6" wide flattened clusters.



Fruit is a small orange-red pome eaten by birds. 'Cardinal' is a bright red fruited cultivar.



Stems are thick, smooth by summer, with a large terminal bud that is covered with white hairs. Often with distinct lenticels. Trunk is more or less smooth.





Goes by several common names, some have Rowan in them meaning Red head….

Misidentification:
Chinese Pistachio maybe, it actually serves the same function in colder landscapes but has better looking flowers.

Location:
Capitola
419 McCromick Ave

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Crataegus laevigata 'Paul's Scarlet' - Paul's Scarlet Hawthorn

Scarlet Hawthorn is a deciduous small tree grown for its spring flower display of beautiful scarlet double flowers. Growing 20 x 15 feet with an upright to spreading dense canopy. Usually some horizontal branches which send up water sprouts. Not commonly seen in our area. This one is at one of my favorite arboretums, Finch in Spokane.



This is a google street view screen shot of the one on Dorsey Ave.



Foliage is alternate, simple, 1-2" long, dark green in summer, pale yellow fall color, margins lobed, generally 5 lobes.



On young stems you can find stipules.



Flowers are pink-scarlet double.


Fruit is rarely produced, but occasionally you will fine a small red pome.

Stems have thorns, heavy on young stems.



 Flower buds rounded.




Bark is furrowed.



Trees are notorious for producing water sprouts in the canopy.



Misidentification: 
Most likely another Hawthorn, but not the washington thorn.

Location
Aptos
417 Dorsey Ave

Santa Cruz
726 Hanover St

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Acer ginnala - Amur Maple

I ran into a specimen of the Amur Maple while cutting through the Soquel School. Not at all common in SC. The Amur maple is a nice little tree growing to maybe 20' tall with potentially great fall color. Often grown as a multi-stemmed specimen or can be trained as a single stem. A cultivar called 'Flame' has great fall color.



Sorry, old picture with low resolution, but shows the fall color.



Leaves are deciduous, simple, opposite, ovate shaped, with serrated margins, sometimes considered to be lobed with a prominent central lobe. Leaves are 2-4" long. 




Leaves can be quite variable in size as well as being very lobed or only slightly serrated. Age and rate of growth seem to be the deciding factor, with older slower growing plants showing smaller less deeply serrated margins.


Flowers are produced in spring, light green or yellowish, in chains, slightly fragrant. 



Fruit is typical of maples, paired samaras. The pairs hang almost parallel to each other and one is generally much smaller than the other. In summer they can be bright red. 




Bark is dark gray and usually pretty smooth but as they age they develop some longitudinal furrows. 


Also know as Acer tataricum ginnala.

Misidentification:
Not likely

Location:
Capitola
On Porter St at the Soquel School, near the east end of the campus close to the building.

Quercus virginiana - Southern Live Oak

The Southern Live Oak is a nice medium sized broad spreading tree commonly planted as a street tree in SC county. Usually reaching 30' and potentially wider than tall. Seems to be a nice tree. I guess I would be more excited if we had some massive ones like in the south where they can be 100' tall and 150' wide with massive trunks and covered with  lichens. 




Leaves alternate, simple, 1-1/2 to 5" long, variable shaped, from obovate to oblanceolate to elliptical to ovate, just like an oak to be difficult to pin down. Margins can be entire, or lightly spinose but usually rolled under, dark glossy green upper surface lighter to pubescent lower surface. Trees may experience a very short period of deciduousness prior to putting out the new leaves. It happens about the time the buds start to swell.



Male and female flowers separated on same plant, males in long catkins, females small and reddish color some distance from the end of the stem.



Acorns are dark brown, glossy, elliptical shaped 3/4 to 1" long, in clusters.



Bark with reddish brown color in between the shallow squared plates.




Misidentification:
Perhaps Q. ilex due to the non "normal" oak leaf, but these are longer and narrower leaves.

Location:
Capitola
Gross Rd and Soquel Ave intersection - frontage road off 41st


Santa Cruz
7th Ave lots along the side of the road.
2801 Soquel Ave in front of Big Creek Lumber
Capitola Rd in live oak

Soquel
4800 Bridge St - corner of Main