Here are some of the trees, palms and plants found in San Diego. Some are common, but a few very rarely-cultivated plants (at least in San Diego) are included here. The emphasis is on larger plants, especially trees, while annuals are mostly ignored. While most plants listed here are imported from other parts of the world (especially Australia, South Africa and the Mediterranean), a few are native. All pictures were taken in San Diego County (including the city of San Diego).

Jump to: Palms Trees Shrubs Other Plants


Acoelorrhaphe wrightii--Everglades Palm
Archontophoenix alexandrae--Alexander Palm --Similar to the king palm. Usually the eaasiest ways to tell the difference between the two are that the Alexander palm has rings on the trunk that are spaced closely together, versus those of the king palm which are spaced somewhat widely apart. Also the leaves of the Alexander palm are less curved (usually the king palm's are very curved).
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana--King Palm --More commonly-planted and slightly hardieer than the Alexander Palm (see previous entry on how to tell the two palms apart). Both palms are from northeastern Australia.
Arenga engleri--Formosa Palm
Bismarckia nobilis--Bismarck Palm --This species of palm (most of which have silvery fronds) is from Madagascar. These, in Balboa Park, are probably the largest Bismarckia in San Diego.
Brahea armata--Mexican Blue Palm --Native starting about 200 miles to our soouth in Baja California (plus Sonora).
Brahea brandegeei--San Jose Hesper Palm --From Sonora and southern Baja.
Brahea edulis--Guadalupe Palm --Threatened on its native Guadalupe Islandd; commonly-planted here.
Butia capitata--Jelly Palm (Pindo Palm) --From southern South America; fruits can bbe used to make jelly.
Caryota gigas--Thai Mountain Fishtail Palm --Has enormous fronds.
Caryota sp.--Fishtail Palm --Probably Caryota urens.
Chamaerops humilis--Mediterranean Fan Palm
Dypsis decaryi--Triangle Palm --Palm from Madagascar has triangular leaf stalks.
Dypsis lutescens--Cane Palm (Yellow Palm)
Howea forsteriana--Kentia Palm --Somewhat slow-growing; most common in uppper-class neighborhoods, like La Jolla. Yard with multiple Kentias in La Jolla
Hyophorbe verschaffeltii--Spindle Palm --Rare here, but can survive in mild coastaal areas.
Jubaea chilensis--Chilean Wine Palm --The Chilean wine palm has the thickest trrunk of any palm that can grow here. However, it is rather slow growing (and thus is planted somewhat sparingly here). The seeds (coquitos) are edible and are like small coconuts. Multiple Jubaea at Mission Bay
Livistona chinensis--Chinese Fan Palm
Livistona decipiens--Ribbon Fan Palm --This Australian palm has drooping fronds..
Phoenix canariensis--Canary Island Date Palm --The classic Mediterranean palm! Common tthroughout much of California (probably around #4 or 5 among most common palms in San Diego). Second Pic
Phoenix reclinata--Senegal Date Palm --This clumping palm is common in parks.
Phoenix roebelenii--Pygmy Date Palm --One of the most common palms in San Diegoo, though contributes less "biomass" than other palms due to its small size.
Phoenix rupicola--Cliff Date Palm
Raphia farniferia--Raffia Palm
Ravanea rivularis--Majesty Palm
Rhapis excelsa--Lady Palm --Shrubby palm from China.
Rhapis humilis--Rattan Palm --Taller than the lady palm but with very slender stems. Some similarity to the everglades palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii), but stems are more slender.
Rhopalostylis baueri--Norfolk Island Palm --Very tropical-looking palm from subtropiccal Norfolk Island. Rare.
Rhopalostylis sapida--Nikau Palm --New Zealand's native palm; does well heree but isn't planted very often outside of parks and hotel grounds.
Roystonea regia--Royal Palm --Found occasionally in San Diego; appears to be fairly hardy here.
Sabal causiarum--Puerto Rican Hat Palm
Sabal palmetto--Palmetto --Best suited for the southeastern U.S. butt will grow in San Diego.
Sabal rosei--Llanos Palmetto
Sabal uresana--Sonoran Palmetto --Native to canyons and along water coursess in Sonora.
Syagrus romanzoffianum--Queen Palm --Probably the 2nd most common palm in San Diego, after the Mexican fan palm. Fast growing. Group of Queen Palms
Trachycarpus fortunei--Chinese Windmill Palm
Washingtonia filifera--Washington Palm --Much less common near the coast than Washhingtonia robusta. Sometimes hybridizes with W. robusta. Second Pic
Washingtonia robusta--Mexican Fan Palm --Native to the southern 2/3rds of Baja Callifornia and part of Sonora, this is the most commonly-planted palm in southern California. Very fast growing and can be transplanted when tall.
Wodyetia bifurcata--Foxtail Palm --Discovered in extreme northern Queenslandd, Australia in 1978, this palm is rapidly gaining popularity around the world, including in San Diego.


Acacia albida--Winter Thorn Acacia
Acacia aneura--Mulga Acacia
Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'--Purple-Leaf Acacia --Has blue and purple leaves.
Acacia crassifolia--Butterfly-Leafed Acacia --Also known as the Bauhinia-leafed acacia.. Commonly planted in many parts of Mexico (native to the NE part); occasionally planted here.
Acacia longifolia--Sydney Golden Wattle
Acacia pendula--Weeping Acacia --Bright silver leaves and weeping habit maake this acacia look much different from any other.
Acacia podalyriifolia--Pearl Acacia
Acacia saligna--Golden Wreath Wattle --Has long skinny leaves and bright yellow blooms. Acacia xanthophloea--Fever Tree --Yellow bark is distinctive with this deciiduous African acacia.
Acer saccharinum--Silver Maple --One of the hardiest trees planted here, tthis underperforms in San Diego, usually leaving out in May (sometimes later than in the North) and producing limited autumn foliage.
Agathis australis--Kauri Pine
Agonix flexuosa--Peppermint Tree/Australian Willow Myrtle Close-up of Leaves/Seeds
Albizzia julibrissin--Mimosa --Has pink, peach or white blooms in early summer. Ubiquitous in the Southeast U.S. but just occasionally planted here.
Aleurites moluccana--Candlenut --Polynesian tree is just barely hardy enouugh for San Diego.
Alloxylon flammeum--Satin Oak --Rarely-planted Queensland native has brigght blossoms. Close-up of blooms
Alnus rhombifolia--White Alder --Native to the mountains of San Diego Counnty (and many areas further north); has smooth gray trunk.
Aloe bainesii--Large Tree Aloe --The world's largest type of aloe.
Aloe dichotoma--Quiver Tree --From very dry parts of the desert in Namiibia and western South Africa. Has ornate bark and yellow blooms.
Annona cherimola--Cherimoya --Native to middle elevations in the Andes;; fruits best if hand-pollinated since we do not have the natural pollinator (some type of beetle, most likely) that exists within the native range.
Araucaria angustifolia--Parana Pine --From southern Brazil, rarely planted heree.
Araucaria bidwillii--Bunya-Bunya Very Large Bunya-Bunyas
Araucaria columnaris--Cook Pine (New Caledonia Pine) --Possibly the most common Araucaria in Sann Diego (especially in newer neighborhoods). Some of these might be hybrids between the Norfolk Island Pine (A. heteorophylla) and the Cook Pine. The Cook Pine is less symmetrical with shorter branches than the Norfolk Island Pine and is often leaning.
Araucaria cunninghamii--Hoop Pine
Araucaria heteorophylla--Norfolk Island Pine --A common Araucaria in San Diego.
Araucaria rulei--(No Common Name) --Rare.
Arbutus unedo--Strawberry Tree --Fruits look like strawberries, but are off a much lower quality; not a relative of the strawberry.
Banksia ashbyi--Ashby's Banksia --West Australia native has bright orange llong bloom clusters. Close-up of Blooms
Bauhinia x blakeana--Hong Kong Orchid Tree
Bauhinia purpurea--Purple Orchid Tree --Has purple flowers, mostly in autumn, winnter and early spring.
Betula pendula--European Weeping Birch (White Birch) --Usually short-lived. This is the only trree that grows in San Diego which has a native range extending north of the Arctic Circle.
Bischofia javanica--Toog Tree
Brachychiton populneus--Bottle Tree
Brachychiton populneus x acerifolius--Flame Tree --Similar to Brachychiton acerifolius (withh its flashy red flowers), except that the leaves are not lobed.
Brachychiton rupestris--Queensland Bottle Tree --The name describes the trunk aptly.
Callistemon viminalis--Weeping Bottlebrush --Full tree-sized bottlebrush. See Lemon Bottlebrush for the common shrub bottlebrush.
Calodendrum capense--Cape Chestnut
Carya illinoensis--Pecan --Planted occasionally; most often found inn older neighborhoods.
Cassia Leptophylla--Gold Medallion Tree --Common yet usually small street tree prodduces brilliant yellow flowers most of the summer. Close-up of Flowers
Casuarina cunninghamiana--River She-Oak (Australian "Pine") --Looks a bit like a pine, but what appear to be needles are actually small gray-green branches.
Cedrus atlantica--Atlas Cedar --One of the more handsome conifers with itts blue-silver color. A long-term investment (read: slow-growing).
Cedrus deodara--Deodar Cedar
Ceiba speciosa (formerly Chorisia speciosa)--Floss Silk Tree --Odd tree from South America with thorny ttrunk has flowers in autumn as it loses its leaves. Second pic Third pic (close-up of flowers) Fourth pic
Cereus peruviana--Night-Blooming Cereus --Has edible fruit. Day bloom
Ceratonia siliqua--Carob
Cercis sp.--Redbud --Redbuds usually need colder winters to blloom well. Not surprisingly, this one was blooming profusely in March 2007 (after a cold winter).
Chitalpa tashkentensis--Chitalpa --Actually a hybrid (not found in the wild)) between Catalpa bignonioides (southern catalpa) and Chilopsis linearis (desert willow). Has pink to white blossoms in the summer.
Cinnamomum camphora--Camphor Tree
Citrus sp.--Lemon
Citrus sp.--Orange
Cordyline australis--Cabbage Tree --Widespread in its native New Zealand, modderately-planted here.
Corymbia calophylla x ficifolia --Appears to be an orange-flowering hybrid of the white-flowering C. calophylla and red-flowering C. ficifolia, in Del Mar.
Corymbia (Eucalyptus) ficifolia--Red-Flowering Gum --Usually flowers in spring or summer. Second pic
Cupaniopsis anacardioides--Carrotwood
Cupressus arizonica ssp. stephensonii--Cuyamaca Cypress --NATIVE! Very rare and local varietty of the Arizona Cypress. Barely managed to survive in its native habitat in the Cedar Fire of 2003.
Cupressus forbesii--Tecate Cypress --NATIVE! Found in a few foothill annd mountain locations.
Cupressus macrocarpa--Monterey Cypress --A few good specimens can be found at the immediate coast (especially in Del Mar, where this pic was taken). More than about one or two miles from the coast, there are no large Monterey cypresses due to the coryneum canker fungus. Large Monterey Cypresses on the Scripps Institute of Oceanography campus
Cupressus sempervirens--Italian Cypress
Cussonia spicata--Spiked Cabbage Tree --Odd-looking tree from South Africa. Close-Up
Delonix regia--Royal Poinciana --This flowers in summer if there's been a recent period of hot weather. This rarely occurring tree in San Diego is on Commercial Street.
Dendrocalamus asper--Black Asper Bamboo --Very large bamboo from the Indonesian higghlands.
Diospyros virginiana--American Persimmon --From eastern U.S., produces small fruit aand some autumn foliage.
Dombeya rotundifolia--South African Wild Pear --From southeastern Africa, has flowers ressembling those of a pear, even though this tree is not related to the pear.
Dombeya wallichii--Pink-Ball (Tropical Hydrangea) --From Madagascar, has hydrangea-like floweers in winter. Closeup
Dracaena draco--Dragon Tree --Signature exotic from the Canary Islands.. Grows large but slowly. Dragon tree at Hotel del Coronado (over 100 years old) Closeup Very Tall Specimen
Duranta erecta variegata--Variegated Duranta (Pigeon Berry) With Berries
Encephalartos natalensis--Natal Cycad --One of at least 60 (often arborescent) cyycad species of the Encephalartos genus native to South Africa.
Eriobotrya deflexa--Bronze Loquat --This species does not produce edible fruiit.
Eriobotrya japonica--Loquat --Produces edible fruit.
Erythrina caffra--Coral Tree --Most commonly planted coral tree species in San Diego; flowers in late winter or spring. Different Tree--Close Up (with Crow) Closeup of Flowers on Branches A Lot of Flowers Tree with Leaves, No Flowers
Erythrina coralloides--Naked Coral Tree --Often oddly shaped. Closeup
Erythrina crista-galli--Cockspur Coral Tree --Occasionally found here, from South Ameriica.
Erythrina falcata--Brazilian Coral Tree --Moderately rare here, yet flowers are imppressive in mid-late spring. Closeup of Flowers
Erythrina humeana--Natal Coral Tree --This coral tree flowers in late summer annd fall instead of late winter or spring when most other coral tree species flower.
Eucalyptus caesia--Silver Princess Mallee --Has brillant flowers pointed downward. Close-Up of Flowers
Eucalyptus camadulensis--Red River Gum --A large number have died in recent years in the San Diego area due to the psyllid.
Eucalyptus cinerea--Silver Dollar Tree --Very distinctive with its bluish-silver lleaves and dark trunk.
Eucalyptus citriodora--Lemon-Scented Gum --Usually has very smooth somewhat pinkish trunks.
Eucalyptus cladocalyx--Sugar Gum Large Trunk in Balboa Park
Eucalyptus deglupta--Mindanao Gum --Has striped multi-colored trunks. Most ccommon Eucalyptus planted in the tropics (native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines but not Australia); occasionally planted here.
Eucalyptus globulus--Blue Gum --More common further north in California; usually too large for most yards here.
Eucalyptus nicholii--Willow-Leafed Peppermint Gum
Eucalyptus polyanthemos--Silver Dollar Gum
Eucalyptus rhodantha--Rose Mallee --Probably the most unusual-looking eucalypptus. Rare.
Eucalyptus rudis--Flooded Gum (Desert Gum)
Eucalyptus sideroxylon--Pink-Flowering Ironbark --Has pink flowers, usually in winter. Barrk is much different from other Eucalyptus as it doesn't peel and is dark.
Eucalyptus spathulata--Narrow-leaf Gimlet --Has very small narrow leaves compared witth other Eucalyptus and a striking burnt-orange trunk.
NOTE: Some Eucalyptus are now considered Corymbia species.
Euphorbia candelabrum (Euphorbia ingens)--Candelabra Tree --Succulent tree from South and East Africaa. Second pic
Euphorbia cotinifolia--Caribbean Copper Plant --Actually a full-fledged tree, sometimes ddeciduous in our climate.
Euphorbia tetragona--Naboom
Euphorbia tirucalli--Pencil Tree --East African tree with pencil-like branchhes.
Feijoa sellowiana--Pineapple Guava --Gray-leafed small tree produces scented ((and tasty) fruit in the fall. Edible flowers taste like candy.
Ficus auriculata--Roxburgh Fig --Full-fledged tree in the tropics; usuallyy a sprawling shrub here. Fruit grows on trunk. Fruit Pic
Ficus benjamina--Weeping Fig
Ficus carica--Fig --This is the common edible fig. Unlike moost Ficus, this is deciduous. Second Pic
Ficus elastica--Rubber Plant --The common houseplant is a full-fledged ttree in San Diego; they are even larger in the tropics. Second pic
Ficus lyrata--Fiddle-Leaf Fig --This specimen in Balboa Park is probably the tallest fiddle-leaf fig in San Diego. Another large specimen in front of a house.
Ficus maclellandii (alii)--Banana-Leaf Fig --Rare, prefers a warmer climate.
Ficus macrophylla--Moreton Bay Fig --Several very large Moreton Bay Figs are iin Southern California, including this one in Balboa Park and one in Santa Barbara (both over 100 years old).
Ficus microcarpa (Ficus nitida)--Indian Laurel --Roots along the surface will sometimes sppread over a large area with this tree.
Ficus mysorensis--Mysore Fig --Has orange-red figs. The one photographeed appears to receive little or no irrigation.
Ficus nekbudu--Zulu Fig
Ficus religiosa--Bo Tree
Ficus rubinigosa--Rustyleaf Fig --Sometimes has aerial roots.
Ficus sycomorus--Sycamore Fig --This picture was taken in spring when thiis tree loses some of its leaves, showing the shape and trunk better.
Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood'--Raywood Ash --Has deep-purple foliage in late fall; nott the same species as the American autumn-purple ash (white ash, F. americana).
Fraxinus uhdei--Evergreen Ash --Native to Mexico, usually drops leaves brriefly around December before new leaves appear. Most commonly planted ash in San Diego.
Fraxinus velutina--Arizona Ash --Produces yellow autumn foliage.
Furcraea roezlii--Furcraea --Fully arborescent Furcraea.
Geijera parviflora--Australian Willow
Ginkgo biloba--Ginkgo (Maidenhair Tree) --Hardy tree from China can produce some auutumn foliage here (more reliable foliage further north).
Gleditsia triacanthos--Honey Locust --Produces a short period of yellow-orange autumn foliage but then is leafless for almost as long as in colder climates.
Grevillea robusta--Silk Oak
Hakea laurina--Pincushion Tree --From western Australia.
Harpephyllum caffrum--Wild (South African) Plum --From South Africa; Sometimes called the rracially offensive name "Kaffir Plum."
Hymenosporum flavum--Sweet Shade --Australian native with bright yellow flowwers in spring. Close-Up of Blooms
Inga sp.--Ice Cream Bean --Fast-growing Andean tree produces soft-teextured beans that taste a bit like vanilla ice cream. Many species are native to South America; the ones most likely to perform here are Inga edulis and Inga feuillei. In Bloom
Jacaranda mimosifolia--Jacaranda --One of the most beautiful and well-known flowering trees in Mediterranean and subtropical climates. Violet-colored flowers occur in May and/or June in San Diego. Second pic Third pic Fourth pic
Juniperus chinesis 'Torulosa'--Hollywood Juniper --
Koelreuteria bipinnata--Chinese Flame Tree --Has bright yellow flowers in late summer.. Close relative of the hardier goldenrain tree. Deciduous, but usually keeps its leaves until early winter.
Lagerstroemia indica--Crape Myrtle --Peak flowering is usually during August. Much more often a full-fledged tree in San Diego than a pruned shrub. Alternate pic
Lagunaria patersonii--Cow Itch Tree --Has pink flowers in summer.
Laurus nobilis--Sweet Bay Laurel
Leptospermum laevigatum--Australian Tea Tree Close-up of fruits, leaves and flowers.
Leucadendron argenteum--Silver Tree --From Cape Town, South Africa. Our climatte is ideal for the silver tree, yet this is still rare, partly because it is difficult to plant (the roots cannot be disturbed).
Ligustrum lucidum--Glossy Privet --Evergreen tree from eastern Asia.
Liquidambar styraciflua--Sweetgum --Native from Connecticut to Nicaragua! Thhis provides reliable autumn foliage here in November and December (most often purple, but sometimes red, orange and/or yellow), though it might be a bit overly-popular in some neighborhoods.
Liriodendron tulipifera--Tulip Tree --This large forest tree in the eastern U.SS. is occasionally planted here. Produces some autumn foliage; has some magnolia-like flowers in spring.
Lophostemon confertus--Brisbane Box --Very common in office parks. Somewhat euucalyptus-like, but with larger leaves.
Lyonothamnus floribundus--Catalina Ironwood --Native to the Channel Islands, this oddlyy-leafed tree is more commonly planted further north along the coast.
Macadamia integrifolia--Macadamia (Smooth-Shell) --The type that's commercially grown in Hawwaii. Distinguished from M. tetraphylla by its smooth leaves, though there are also hybrids between the two (to make it confusing).
Macadamia tetraphylla--Macadamia (Rough-Shell) --Differs from Macadamia integrifolia as thhere are spines on the sides of the leaves. Closeup of blooms
Magnolia grandiflora--Southern Magnolia --Produces occasional white blossoms. Usuaally does not look quite as good here (probably due to our alkaline soil) as it does in the southeastern U.S.
Mangifera indica--Mango --Very large tree in the tropics; small treee in San Diego, though it usually does produce fruit here. Seems to perform best on the mesas-- inland enough for some summer heat, but coastal enough for limited frost. Closeup of fruits
Markhamia lutea--Markhamia
Melaleuca linariifolia--Flaxleaf Paperbark --Flowers profusely for about a month in laate spring. Alternate landscape view Trunk and leaves
Melaleuca nesophila--Pink Melaleuca --Has an odd shape and a mixture of globulaar pink and white flowers. Close-up
Melaleuca quinquenervia--Paperbark Tree (Cajeput Tree) --Has extremely soft bark.
Melia azedarach--Chinaberry
Metasequoia glyptostroboides--Dawn Redwood --Somewhat rare here, but more commonly plaanted in more continental climates. This deciduous conifer from China was only discovered in the 1940s.
Metrosideros excelsus--New Zealand Christmas Tree --In the Northern Hemisphere, produces flowwers about 6 months after Xmas. Very occasionally produces aerial rootlets. Aerial rootlets
Meryta sinclairii--Puka --Native to a small island just north of Neew Zealand's North Island.
Moringa oleifera--Horseradish/Drumstick Tree --Fast-growing but short-lived.
Morus alba--White Mulberry --Occasionally planted, despite being very ordinary (and producing allergenic pollen).
Myoporum laetum--Myoporum --Typically grows as a thicket.
Nicotiana glauca--Tree Tobacco --From South America, naturalized.
Nolina recurvata--Bottle Palm (Ponytail Palm) --Not a palm but instead is related to the yucca. From Mexico.
Noronhia_emarginata--Madagascar Olive --Rare (Quail Bot. Gardens might be the onlly place here that has it), has fruit similar to a lychee.
Olea europaea--Olive
Opuntia rubescens--Road-Kill Cactus --Also known as Consolea rubescens, this iss a fully arborescent prickly pear from the Caribbean.
Pachycereus marginatus--Mexican Fence Post Cactus --Large smooth arborescent cactus from centtral Mexico. Sometimes called the organ pipe cactus, but this isn't the same as the one from Arizona and northwestern Mexico.
Pandanus utilis--Screw Pine --This normally more tropical tree can groww in coastal areas. Even here, this will sometimes have stilt roots.
Paulownia tomentosa--Princess Tree --Very fast growing; flowers in spring.
Persea sp.--Avocado --Avocado varieties can be based on the Mexxican avocado (Persea drymifolia) or the Guatemalan avocado (Persea americana) or both. Very common in plantations (often on steep hills) from Escondido to Fallbrook, moderately common in yards around San Diego.
Pinus canariensis--Canary Island Pine --Probably the most commonly-planted pine hhere.
Pinus halepensis--Aleppo Pine
Pinus muricata--Bishop Pine --Native to the Central Coast of Californiaa and a few localities in coastal Baja California Norte.
Pinus patula--Jelecote Pine --From Mexico, has unusual drooping foliagee.
Pinus pinea--Stone Pine
Pinus radiata--Monterey Pine --Native mostly to the Monterey area. Thiss pine is often diseased and usually does not live long here (though it has a "mountain pine" look to it, versus most other pines here that look very Mediterranean). Dead Monterey Pine
Pinus radiata var. binata--Guadalupe Island Pine --Variety of Monterey Pine native to Guadallupe Island (with only 2 needles per bundle instead of 3 like the California Monterey Pines.
Pinus torreyana--Torrey Pine --NATIVE! Commonly planted; native tto a small section of coastline from Torrey Pines State Reserve north to Del Mar (up to about a mile inland) plus parts of 2 offshore islands. For numerous pics of the pine in its native habitat, go here: Torrey Pines
Pistacia chinensis--Chinese Pistachio --Produces red foliage in late autumn, espeecially inland.
Pittosporum rhombifolium--Queensland Pittosporum
London Plane Tree(Platanus x acerifolia) --Looks great in London but is usually rathher crappy here. Leaves usually turn brown by early October. The California sycamore ( Platanus racemosa) is a better choice here.
Platanus racemosa--California Sycamore --NATIVE! Common in canyons; plantedd moderately often elsewhere. Second Pic
Plumeria rubra--Plumeria --Image is of Plumeria rubra 'Aztec Gold'. Plumerias are much smaller in San Diego than in the tropics (and often shrubby). They flower in summer and fall and usually go leafless for awhile in spring. Pic of pink-flowering Plumeria rubra
Podocarpus gracilior--Fern Pine --East African conifer.
Podocarpus henkelii--Long-Leafed Yellowwood
Podocarpus macrophyllus--Yew Pine --Often clipped as a very large hedge (the case in this pic).
Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea'--Purple-Leaf Plum --Well-known purple-leafed tree is occasionnally planted here. Flowers some in late winter, but performance is better in colder climates.
Psidium guajava--Guava
Punica granatum--Pomegranate
Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'--Bradford Pear --Provides reliable autumn foliage (in wintter) but flowers minimally in our mild climate (slightly better flowering inland).
Pyrus kawakamii--Evergreen Pear --Has bright white cherry-like blossoms in the late winter. Sometimes not quite evergreen (leaves are usually purplish in winter).
Quercus agrifolia--Coast Live Oak --NATIVE! Most common in the mountaiin foothills but occasionally found near the coast. Second pic
Quercus macrocarpa--Burr Oak --One of the most "Northern" trees that cann grow in San Diego.
Quercus palustris--Pin Oak --Produces little or no autumn foliage heree (goes directly from green to brown).
Quercus suber--Cork Oak --The name of the tree describes the bark. Common in the Mediterranean; surprisingly not very common here.
Radermachera sinica--China Doll Tree
Ravenala madagascariensis--Traveler's Tree --More common in the tropics, yet a few sizzable specimens can be found around San Diego (like this one in Coronado).
Salix lasiolepis--Arroyo Willow --NATIVE! Most common willow along sstreams in/near San Diego. Foliage sometimes turns a pale gold in late autumn/early winter.
Schefflera actinophylla--Queensland Umbrella Tree --Often used as a houseplant; has reddish ooctopus-like flowers.
Schinus molle--California Pepper Tree --Actually from Peru, commonly planted in mmany parts of California.
Schinus terebinthefolius--Brazil Pepper Tree --Has red berries in winter; however, it's often weedy.
Sequoia sempervirens--Redwood --Redwoods are very occasionally planted heere, but they never even come close to the size they achieve in the native range.
Spathodea campanulata--African Tulip Tree --Flowers in summer and autumn; very tenderr inland. Yellow Variety
Stenocarpus sinuatus--Firewheel Tree --Rare, but should be planted more due to iits amazing blooms.
Strelitzia nicolai--Giant Bird of Paradise --Often a full-fledged tree (even though itt's technically a perennial).
Syzygium paniculatum--Brush Cherry
Tabebuia impetiginosa--Pink Trumpet Tree --Deciduous tree native to many drier partss of Latin America. Has pink blooms in late winter or early spring. Close-up of Blooms
Taxodium distichum--Bald Cypress --One of the few deciduous needle-leaf treees planted here (albeit infrequently). From the southeastern US.
Taxodium mucronatum--Montezuma Cypress
Tecoma stans--Yellow Bells --Has yellow flowers in late spring and summmer, with lots of seeds. Close-up of Blooms
Tipuana tipu--Tipu Tree --Has yellow flowers in late spring, many sseeds in fall. Close-up of Blooms
Tristaniopsis laurina--Australian Water Gum --Rarely planted, yet attractive tree.
Ulmus parvifolia--Chinese Elm --Not the same as Siberian Elm (see next enntry), this elm is somewhat more desirable. Usually has some orange-bronze foliage in winter.
Ulmus pumila--Siberian Elm --Poor choice for a tree, yet occasionally planted anyway. Leafless in winter here almost as long as when it's planted in a cold climate.
Yucca elephantipes--Giant Yucca, Guatemalan Yucca
Yucca filifera--Tree Yucca, St. Peter's Palm --Large yuccas in front of the Junipero Serrra Museum in Presidio Park.


Acalypha wilkesiana--Copper Leaf --Large shrub with bronze-purple leaves. NNot hardy to frost, so most common near coast.
Aeonium arboreum--Aeonium --Succulent with brilliant yellow flowers iin winter or early spring and variable leaf color (green, purple, variegated, etc.). Alternate Pic Multiple shrubs in garden with other succulents
Agave attenuata--Swan's Neck Agave --Has a long arching flower spike.
Aloe arborescens--Tree Aloe --Usually more of a large sprawling shrub ((unlike Aloe bainesii). Brilliant red blooms in winter; signature plant of much of the California coast. Collection of Aloe arborescens at Scripps Institute of Oceanography Photo from Balboa Park
Aloe ferox--Bitter Aloe
Aloe rubroviolacea--Arabian Aloe --Has purplish leaves and outstanding red-oorange blossoms.
Aloe speciosa--Tilt-Head Aloe --Has multi-colored exotic blooms.
Baccharis sarothroides--Broom Baccharis --NATIVE!
Breynia nivosa--Snowbush --Combination of the colors of the leaves ccan be as brilliant as almost any flower.
Brugmansia sp.--Angel's Trumpet --From South America, commonly-planted for its downward-pointed flowers.
Calliandra haematocephala--Pink Powder Puff --Native to Bolivia; flowers mainly in wintter. Second Pic
Callistemon citrinus--Lemon Bottlebrush --Common. Long hedge in bloom See Weeping Bottlebrush (C. viminalis) for a tree-sized bottlebrush.
Camellia sp.--Camellia --Numerous species, varieties and hybrids; usually flowers in winter.
Ceanothus tomentosus--Ramona Ceanothus --NATIVE! This blue and white Ceanotthus is on Mt. Woodson. It flowers in late winter.
Ceanothus verrucosus--Warty-Stem Ceanothus --NATIVE! These seem to flower only during wet periods in winter. The native range is limited--these are common on the hills above Fairmount Avenue south of I-8. Alternative landscape view Even wider view
Cistus sp.--Rockrose
Cordia boissieri--Texas Olive --Infrequently planted here; can be a shrubb or tree.
Crassula arborescens--Silver Jade Plant
Crassula ovata--Jade Plant --Blooms so brightly in December and/or Jannuary that the otherwise rubbery leaves become almost invisible. Foliage Pic Hedge in Bloom
Cycas revoluta--Sago "Palm" Cycad --Most commonly planted cycad in San Diego.. Of course, this is not a palm.
Dahlia imperialis--Tree Dahlia --More of a sprawling shrub than a tree
Dasylirion quadrangulatum--Mexican Grass Tree --Some refer to this as Dasylirion longissiima, though this now appears to be a different species. Odd flower/seed spike.
Dodonaea viscosa--Hopseed --The only shrub with a native range includding Arizona, South Africa AND New Zealand (plus numerous other mostly subtropical locations). The bronze-purple variety is from Arizona and Mexico and is the variety most commonly planted here (versus the green variety in most other parts of its native range).
Dracaena fragrans--Corn Plant --Common house plant can grow to 15 feet orr more outdoors in San Diego.
Dracaena marginata--Madagascar Dragon Tree --Another common house plant that does welll outdoors in San Diego; often shrubby/clumping. For the regular dragon tree, see Dracaena draco in the tree section.
Echium candicans--Pride of Madeira --Flowers in early spring. Close-up of blooms
Eriodictyon crassifolium--Thick-leaf Yerba Santa --NATIVE! Has very thick bluish leavves.
Eriogonum fasciculatum--California Buckwheat --NATIVE! Very common on hills and mmesas.
Escallonia laevis--Pink Escallonia
Euphorbia lambii--Tree Euphorbia --Really more of a shrub; has yellow flowerrs in spring.
Euphorbia milii--Crown of Thorns --Unusual small shrub with large thorns andd red flowers. One of the most commonly-planted shrubs at the Wild Animal Park.
Euphorbia pulcherrima--Poinsettia --Classic Xmas plant grows to about 10 feett here and blooms for several months in late fall and winter. Alternate pic
Euryops pectinatus--Yellow Bush Daisy
Fatsia japonica--Japanese Aralia
Gardenia jasminoides--Gardenia
Grewia occidentalis--Lavender Starflower --The name aptly describes the flowers on tthis hedge.
Heteromeles arbutifolia--Toyon (Christmasberry) --NATIVE! Large evergreen shrub withh red berries in fall and winter.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis--Hibiscus --Very common, flowers most of the year.
Hypoestes aristata--Ribbon Bush --From South Africa, flowers in fall.
Kalanchoe beharensis--Felt Plant
Lantana sp.--Lantana --Comes in various colors, especially pinkiish-white (pictured) and orange.
Leptospermum scoparium--New Zealand Tea --Often grown as a hedge, white or pink floowers most commonly in winter.
Leucospermum sp.--Pincushion --Beautiful flowering shrub from South Afriica. Comes in a variety of colors.
Leucospermum sp.--Yellow Pincushion --This one has yellow blooms. This is probbably a variety of Leucospermum cordifolium.
Loropetalum chinense--Fringe Flower
Lotus berthelotti--Parrot's Beak --Odd flame-like blooms contrast with the mminute foliage. Very low shrub.
Nandina domestica--Heavenly Bamboo --Not a bamboo but instead is a shrub of thhe barberry family.
Opuntia ficus-indica--Indian Fig Prickly-Pear --Large sprawling prickly pear from Mexico;; naturalized here.
Pachypodium lamerei--Madagascar Palm --Not a palm but instead a succulent shrub.. Often has a few white flowers.
Philodendron bipinnatifidum--Tree Philodendron --Usually more of a shrub than a tree. Commmon houseplant in colder climates.
Philodendron sp. 'Xanadu'--Xanadu Philodendron --A dwarf version of the Philodendron.
Photinia sp.--Photinia --Several species can grow in San Diego.
Pittosporum tobira--Tobira --Has very fragrant blossoms in spring.
Plumbago auriculata--Cape Plumbago
Portulacaria afra--Elephant's Food --Sometimes called "miniature jade plant."
Rhaphiolepis indica--Indian Hawthorne
Rhododendron sp.--Azalea --Most rhododendrons need more acidic soilss, but these common azaleas (which bloom in late winter) do well in San Diego.
Rhus integrifolia--Lemonade Berry --NATIVE! Large evergreen shrub/smalll tree, very common on hillsides. Fruits can be used to flavor drinks.
Rhus laurina (Malosma laurina)--Laurel Sumac --NATIVE! Common evergreen shrub on hillsides. Fruits can be used to make tea.
Ricinus communis--Purple Castor Bean --Evergreen shrub in San Diego. There are also green varieties of castor bean.
Schefflera arboricola--Hawaiian Elf Schefflera --Native to Taiwan; pictured here is the vaariegated variety.
Senna sp.--Senna --This is a hedge variety with numerous yelllow flowers in autumn.
Senna didymobotrya--Popcorn Senna
Senna splendida (Cassia splendida)--Golden Wonder Senna --Has bright yellow-orange flowers in autummn.
Tecoma capensis--Cape Honeysuckle --Sometimes a shrub, sometimes a vine. Hass orange-red flowers most of the year.
Tibouchina urvilleana--Princess Flower --Has large deep-violet-colored flowers.
Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata--Australian Grass Tree --Gains a trunk as it gets old. Has flowerr spikes.
Yucca schidigera--Mojave yucca --NATIVE! This is native just about everywhere in San Diego County.


Agapanthus orientalis--Lily of the Nile
Agave americana--Century Plant
Agave shawii--Shaw's Agave --NATIVE! Native to the immediate Saan Diego County coast, common in Baja California Norte. In bloom
Allamanda cathartica--Golden Allamanda --Does better in the tropics but occasionallly is grown in San Diego. Has bright shiny yellow blossoms.
Aloe nobilis --Low-growing aloe blooms heavily in early summer (versus most aloes which bloom in winter or spring).
Aloe striata--Coral Aloe --Blooms in late winter and early spring.
Anigozanthos sp.--Kangaroo Paw --From Western Australia.
Asplenium nidus--Bird's Nest Fern
Bambusa oldhamii--Clumping Giant Timber Bamboo --Most commonly planted bamboo in San Diegoo.
Billbergia nutans--Queen's Tears Bromeliad --Occasionally has showy pinkish-red bractss, most likely in winter.
Bougainvillea sp.--Bougainvillea --Comes in many different colors. First piic is common magenta variety. Orange and white variety
Bromeliad (unspecific genus/species)--Lavender Bromeliad --Has lavender blooms.
Calandrinia spectabilis--Rock Purslane --Forms a large clump of magenta blooms aboove bluish leaves.
Canna sp.--Canna
Carica papaya--Papaya --Needs a warm sunny location to survive Saan Diego winters. Technically an herb, not a tree. Second Pic
Carpobrotus chilensis--Iceplant --This is the highly invasive iceplant withh thick leaves that is common on beaches.
Clivia miniata--Clivia --This South African plant produces beautifful blooms in spring. Pic is from the palm canyon in Balboa Park, where there are many clivia.
Cotyledon orbiculata--Pig's Ear --Variable succulent, blossoms (especially the orange ones) can be quite showy.
Cyathea cooperi--Australian Tree Fern --Most commonly-planted tree fern in San Diiego.
Cyperus alternifolius--Umbrella Plant
Cyperus papyrus--Papyrus --Commonly planted aquatic plant.
Dicksonia antarctica--Tasmanian Tree Fern --The 2nd most commonly-planted tree fern iin San Diego. Not as tall as the Australian tree fern.
Digitalis purpurea--Common Foxglove --Planted frequently in Balboa Park. This can grow in many climates, including cold ones.
Doryanthes palmeri--Palmer Spear Lily --Australian agave relative.
Echeveria sp.--Hen and Chicks --Common succulent with very small rubbery rosettes of leaves.
Echinocactus grusonii--Golden Barrel Cactus --A species from Mexico (different from Ferrocactus).
Encelia farinosa--Brittlebush --NATIVE! One of the cone-flowered pplants, flowers best after winter rains. Bluish leaves are distinctive on this plant that is common throughout the Southwest.
Ensete ventricosum--Abyssinian Banana --Quite ornamental, though this banana doessn't fruit.
Epidendrum sp.--Epidendrum --The largest types of orchids that grow inn San Diego.
Ficus pumila--Creeping Fig --Unlike most Ficus, this is a vine, not a tree.
Furcraea foetida--Mauritius Hemp --This agave relative isn't from Mauritius,, it's from South America.
Hylocereus undatus--Night-Blooming Cereus --Blooms brilliantly at night; produces dellicious edible fruit (the dragonfruit is a variety of Hylocereus). Grows as a vine.
Ipomoea tricolor--Morning Glory --Blooms most of the year in San Diego.
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora--Paddle Plant --Has very striking reddish rubbery leaves..
Kalanchoe tubiflora--Chandelier Plant --Also known as Mother of Thousands (Bryyophyllum delagoense).
Kniphofia sp.--Red Hot Poker Plant --From South Africa, related to the lilies,, yet has Aloe-like flowers. More commonly-planted further north along the Pacific Coast.
Lampranthus sp.--Iceplant --A small-leafed iceplant.
Limonium perezii--Sea Lavender --Common and naturalized.
Lupinus microcarpus var. microcarpus--Valley Lupine --NATIVE! Blooms in late winter/earlly spring. Appears to need little care (given these are growing from sidewalk cracks).
Mandevilla 'Alice du Pont'--Mandevilla
Mandevilla sp.--White Mandevilla --Probably Mandevilla boliviensis.
Monstera deliciosa--Split-Leaf Philodendron --Some resemblance to Philodendron bipinnatifidum, but Monstera is more vine-like, usually has deeply-cut leaves and is less hardy.
Musa sp.--Banana --Various species grow to usually between 110 and 20 feet, then flower, fruit and die (though new trunks will keep the life cycle going).
Osteospermum sp.--African Daisy --Common as ground cover. Blooms mostly inn the spring.
Passiflora sp.--Passion Vine --These South American vines come with flowwers of various colors. Some have fruit (passion fruit). Hardiness is variable (many are evergreen here, but others are perennials, especially inland).
Pelargonium sp.--Pelargonium --Close geranium relative. Can grow very llarge with support in San Diego.
Phormium sp.--New Zealand Flax --Available in a variety of leaf-colors (moost often green or purple).
Rubus sp.--Blackberry --Some varieties are nearly evergreen here;; peak fruiting is in June.
Salvia leucantha--Mexican Bush Sage
Sansevieria trifasciata--Mother-in-Law's Tongue
Solandra maxima--Cup-of-Gold Vine --Large vine with striking yellowish flowerrs.
Strelitzia reginae--Bird of Paradise --This and the giant bird of paradise ( Strelitzia nicolai) (in tree section), are popular here. Flowers best in winter.

All of the above pictures on this page were taken in San Diego (or a nearby suburb) by Brandt Maxwell.

Link to Old San Diego Palms/Plants/Trees Website

Copyright 2006-2014 Brandt Maxwell.