SAN DIEGO TREE/PALM/PLANT PICTURES
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
Acoelorrhaphe wrightii--Everglades Palm
Archontophoenix alexandrae--Alexander Palm
--Similar to the king palm. Usually the eassiest 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
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana--King Palm
--More commonly-planted and slightly hardierr 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 ssilvery 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 souuth in Baja California
Brahea brandegeei--San Jose Hesper Palm
--From Sonora and southern Baja.
Brahea edulis--Guadalupe Palm
--Threatened on its native Guadalupe Island;; commonly-planted here.
Butia capitata--Jelly Palm (Pindo Palm)
--From southern South America; fruits can bee 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 sstalks.
Dypsis lutescens--Cane Palm (Yellow Palm)
Howea forsteriana--Kentia Palm
--Somewhat slow-growing; most common in uppeer-class neighborhoods,
like La Jolla.
Yard with multiple Kentias in La Jolla
Hyophorbe verschaffeltii--Spindle Palm
--Rare here, but can survive in mild coastall areas.
Jubaea chilensis--Chilean Wine Palm
--The Chilean wine palm has the thickest truunk 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
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 thhroughout much of
California (probably around #4 or 5 among most common palms in
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 Diego,, 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
but with very slender stems. Some similarity to the
(Acoelorrhaphe wrightii), but stems are more slender.
Rhopalostylis baueri--Norfolk Island Palm
--Very tropical-looking palm from subtropicaal Norfolk Island. Rare.
Rhopalostylis sapida--Nikau Palm
--New Zealand's native palm; does well here but isn't planted very
often outside of parks and hotel grounds.
Roystonea regia--Royal Palm
--Found occasionally in San Diego; appears tto be fairly hardy here.
Sabal causiarum--Puerto Rican Hat Palm
--Best suited for the southeastern U.S. but will grow in San Diego.
Sabal rosei--Llanos Palmetto
Sabal uresana--Sonoran Palmetto
--Native to canyons and along water courses in Sonora.
Syagrus romanzoffianum--Queen Palm
--Probably the 2nd most common palm in San DDiego, 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 Washiingtonia robusta. Sometimes
hybridizes with W. robusta.
Washingtonia robusta--Mexican Fan Palm
--Native to the southern 2/3rds of Baja Caliifornia 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 Queensland,, 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
Acacia longifolia--Sydney Golden Wattle
Acacia pendula--Weeping Acacia
--Bright silver leaves and weeping habit makke this acacia look much
different from any other.
Acacia podalyriifolia--Pearl Acacia
Acacia saligna--Golden Wreath Wattle
--Has long skinny leaves and bright yellow bblooms.
Acacia xanthophloea--Fever Tree
--Yellow bark is distinctive with this decidduous African acacia.
Acer saccharinum--Silver Maple
--One of the hardiest trees planted here, thhis 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
--Has pink, peach or white blooms in early ssummer. Ubiquitous in the Southeast U.S. but just occasionally planted here.
--Polynesian tree is just barely hardy enouggh for San Diego.
Alloxylon flammeum--Satin Oak
--Rarely-planted Queensland native has brighht blossoms.
Close-up of blooms
Alnus rhombifolia--White Alder
--Native to the mountains of San Diego Countty (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 Namibbia and western South Africa.
Has ornate bark and yellow blooms.
--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 here..
Very Large Bunya-Bunyas
Araucaria columnaris--Cook Pine (New Caledonia Pine)
--Possibly the most common Araucaria in San 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)
Arbutus unedo--Strawberry Tree
--Fruits look like strawberries, but are of a much lower quality; not
a relative of the strawberry.
Banksia ashbyi--Ashby's Banksia
--West Australia native has bright orange loong bloom clusters.
Close-up of Blooms
Bauhinia x blakeana--Hong Kong Orchid Tree
Bauhinia purpurea--Purple Orchid Tree
--Has purple flowers, mostly in autumn, wintter and early spring.
Betula pendula--European Weeping Birch (White Birch)
--Usually short-lived. This is the only treee 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 (with 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
--Planted occasionally; most often found in older neighborhoods.
Cassia Leptophylla--Gold Medallion Tree
--Common yet usually small street tree produuces 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 tto be needles are actually
small gray-green branches.
Cedrus atlantica--Atlas Cedar
--One of the more handsome conifers with itss 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 trrunk has flowers in
autumn as it loses its leaves.
Third pic (close-up of flowers)
Cereus peruviana--Night-Blooming Cereus
--Has edible fruit.
--Redbuds usually need colder winters to blooom well. Not surprisingly,
this one was blooming profusely in March 2007 (after a cold winter).
--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
Cordyline australis--Cabbage Tree
--Widespread in its native New Zealand, modeerately-planted here.
Corymbia calophylla x ficifolia
--Appears to be an orange-flowering hybrid oof 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.
Cupressus arizonica ssp. stephensonii--Cuyamaca Cypress
--NATIVE! Very rare and local varietyy of the Arizona Cypress.
Barely managed to survive in its native habitat in the Cedar Fire of
Cupressus forbesii--Tecate Cypress
--NATIVE! Found in a few foothill andd mountain locations.
Cupressus macrocarpa--Monterey Cypress
--A few good specimens can be found at the iimmediate 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
Cupressus sempervirens--Italian Cypress
Cussonia spicata--Spiked Cabbage Tree
--Odd-looking tree from South Africa.
Delonix regia--Royal Poinciana
--This flowers in summer if there's been a rrecent period of hot weather. This rarely occurring tree in San Diego is on
Dendrocalamus asper--Black Asper Bamboo
--Very large bamboo from the Indonesian highhlands.
Diospyros virginiana--American Persimmon
--From eastern U.S., produces small fruit annd some autumn foliage.
Dombeya rotundifolia--South African Wild Pear
--From southeastern Africa, has flowers reseembling 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 flowerrs in winter.
Dracaena draco--Dragon Tree
--Signature exotic from the Canary Islands. Grows large but slowly.
Dragon tree at Hotel del Coronado (over 100 years old)
Very Tall Specimen
Duranta erecta variegata--Variegated Duranta (Pigeon Berry)
Encephalartos natalensis--Natal Cycad
--One of at least 60 (often arborescent) cyccad species of the
Encephalartos genus native to South Africa.
Eriobotrya deflexa--Bronze Loquat
--This species does not produce edible fruitt.
--Produces edible fruit.
Erythrina caffra--Coral Tree
--Most commonly planted coral tree species iin 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.
Erythrina crista-galli--Cockspur Coral Tree
--Occasionally found here, from South Americca.
Erythrina falcata--Brazilian Coral Tree
--Moderately rare here, yet flowers are imprressive in mid-late spring.
Closeup of Flowers
Erythrina humeana--Natal Coral Tree
--This coral tree flowers in late summer andd 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 iin the San Diego area
due to the psyllid.
Eucalyptus cinerea--Silver Dollar Tree
--Very distinctive with its bluish-silver leeaves and dark trunk.
Eucalyptus citriodora--Lemon-Scented Gum
--Usually has very smooth somewhat pinkish ttrunks.
Eucalyptus cladocalyx--Sugar Gum
Large Trunk in Balboa Park
Eucalyptus deglupta--Mindanao Gum
--Has striped multi-colored trunks. Most coommon 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; uusually 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 eucalypttus. Rare.
Eucalyptus rudis--Flooded Gum (Desert Gum)
Eucalyptus sideroxylon--Pink-Flowering Ironbark
--Has pink flowers, usually in winter. Barkk 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 withh 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 Africa..
Euphorbia cotinifolia--Caribbean Copper Plant
--Actually a full-fledged tree, sometimes deeciduous in our climate.
Euphorbia tirucalli--Pencil Tree
--East African tree with pencil-like branchees.
Feijoa sellowiana--Pineapple Guava
--Gray-leafed small tree produces scented (aand tasty) fruit
in the fall. Edible flowers taste like candy.
Ficus auriculata--Roxburgh Fig
--Full-fledged tree in the tropics; usually a sprawling shrub here.
Fruit grows on trunk.
Ficus benjamina--Weeping Fig
--This is the common edible fig. Unlike mosst Ficus, this is deciduous.
Ficus elastica--Rubber Plant
--The common houseplant is a full-fledged trree in San Diego; they
are even larger in the tropics.
Ficus lyrata--Fiddle-Leaf Fig
--This specimen in Balboa Park is probably tthe tallest fiddle-leaf
fig in San Diego. This grows larger in the tropics.
Ficus maclellandii (alii)--Banana-Leaf Fig
--Rare, prefers a warmer climate.
Ficus macrophylla--Moreton Bay Fig
--Several very large Moreton Bay Figs are inn 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 sprread over a large area
with this tree.
Ficus mysorensis--Mysore Fig
--Has orange-red figs. The one photographedd 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 thiss tree loses some of its leaves, showing the shape and trunk better.
Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood'--Raywood Ash
--Has deep-purple foliage in late fall; not the same species as
the American autumn-purple ash (white ash, F. americana).
Fraxinus uhdei--Evergreen Ash
--Native to Mexico, usually drops leaves briiefly around December
before new leaves appear. Most commonly planted ash in San Diego.
Fraxinus velutina--Arizona Ash
--Produces yellow autumn foliage.
--Fully arborescent Furcraea.
Geijera parviflora--Australian Willow
Ginkgo biloba--Ginkgo (Maidenhair Tree)
--Hardy tree from China can produce some auttumn foliage here (more
reliable foliage further north).
Gleditsia triacanthos--Honey Locust
--Produces a short period of yellow-orange aautumn 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 raacially offensive name
Hymenosporum flavum--Sweet Shade
--Australian native with bright yellow floweers in spring.
Close-Up of Blooms
Inga sp.--Ice Cream Bean
--Fast-growing Andean tree produces soft-texxtured 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.
--One of the most beautiful and well-known fflowering trees in Mediterranean and
subtropical climates. Violet-colored flowers occur in May and/or
June in San Diego.
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.
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 climatee 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.
--Native from Connecticut to Nicaragua! Thiis 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.S.. is occasionally planted
here. Produces some autumn foliage; has some magnolia-like flowers
Lophostemon confertus--Brisbane Box
--Very common in office parks. Somewhat euccalyptus-like, but with
Lyonothamnus floribundus--Catalina Ironwood
--Native to the Channel Islands, this oddly--leafed tree is more
commonly planted further north along the coast.
Macadamia integrifolia--Macadamia (Smooth-Shell)
--The type that's commercially grown in Hawaaii. 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 theere are spines on the
sides of the leaves.
Closeup of blooms
Magnolia grandiflora--Southern Magnolia
--Produces occasional white blossoms. Usuallly does not look quite
as good here (probably due to our alkaline soil) as it does in the
--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
Closeup of fruits
Melaleuca linariifolia--Flaxleaf Paperbark
--Flowers profusely for about a month in latte spring.
Alternate landscape view
Trunk and leaves
Melaleuca nesophila--Pink Melaleuca
--Has an odd shape and a mixture of globularr pink and white flowers.
Melaleuca quinquenervia--Paperbark Tree (Cajeput Tree)
--Has extremely soft bark.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides--Dawn Redwood
--Somewhat rare here, but more commonly plannted in more continental
climates. This deciduous conifer from China was only discovered in the
Metrosideros excelsus--New Zealand Christmas Tree
--In the Northern Hemisphere, produces floweers about 6 months
after Xmas. Very occasionally produces aerial rootlets.
--Native to a small island just north of Neww Zealand's North Island.
Moringa oleifera--Horseradish Tree
--Fast-growing but short-lived, does better in the tropics.
Morus alba--White Mulberry
--Occasionally planted, despite being very oordinary (and producing
--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 yyucca. From Mexico.
--Rare (Quail Bot. Gardens might be the onlyy place here that has it),
has fruit similar to a lychee.
Opuntia rubescens--Road-Kill Cactus
--Also known as Consolea rubescens, this is a fully arborescent
prickly pear from the Caribbean.
Pachycereus marginatus--Mexican Fence Post Cactus
--Large smooth arborescent cactus from centrral 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 grow in coastal areas. Even
here, this will sometimes have stilt roots.
Paulownia tomentosa--Princess Tree
--Very fast growing; flowers in spring.
--Avocado varieties can be based on the Mexiican 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 heere.
Pinus halepensis--Aleppo Pine
Pinus muricata--Bishop Pine
--Native to the Central Coast of California and a few localities in
coastal Baja California Norte.
Pinus patula--Jelecote Pine
--From Mexico, has unusual drooping foliage..
Pinus pinea--Stone Pine
Pinus radiata--Monterey Pine
--Native mostly to the Monterey area. This 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 Guadaluupe Island (with only
2 needles per bundle instead of 3 like the California Monterey Pines.
Pinus torreyana--Torrey Pine
--NATIVE! Commonly planted; native too 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:
Pistacia chinensis--Chinese Pistachio
--Produces red foliage in late autumn, especcially inland.
Pittosporum rhombifolium--Queensland Pittosporum
London Plane Tree(Platanus x acerifolia)
--Looks great in London but is usually ratheer 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; planted moderately often elsewhere.
--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
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 ccase in this pic).
Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea'--Purple-Leaf Plum
--Well-known purple-leafed tree is occasionaally planted here. Flowers
some in late winter, but performance is better in colder climates.
Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'--Bradford Pear
--Provides reliable autumn foliage (in winteer) but flowers
minimally in our mild climate (slightly better flowering inland).
Pyrus kawakamii--Evergreen Pear
--Has bright white cherry-like blossoms in tthe late winter. Sometimes
not quite evergreen (leaves are usually purplish in winter).
Quercus agrifolia--Coast Live Oak
--NATIVE! Most common in the mountainn foothills but occasionally
found near the coast.
Quercus macrocarpa--Burr Oak
--One of the most "Northern" trees that can grow in San Diego.
Quercus palustris--Pin Oak
--Produces little or no autumn foliage here (goes directly from green
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 sizaable specimens can be found
around San Diego (like this one in Coronado).
Salix lasiolepis--Arroyo Willow
--NATIVE! Most common willow along sttreams 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 occtopus-like flowers.
Schinus molle--California Pepper Tree
--Actually from Peru, commonly planted in maany parts of California.
Schinus terebinthefolius--Brazil Pepper Tree
--Has red berries in winter; however, it's ooften weedy.
--Redwoods are very occasionally planted herre, 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 tender inland.
Stenocarpus sinuatus--Firewheel Tree
--Rare, but should be planted more due to itts amazing blooms.
Strelitzia nicolai--Giant Bird of Paradise
--Often a full-fledged tree (even though it''s technically a
Syzygium paniculatum--Brush Cherry
Tabebuia impetiginosa--Pink Trumpet Tree
--Deciduous tree native to many drier parts 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 treess 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 seeeds 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 enttry), 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 pplanted 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. Noot hardy to frost, so most
common near coast.
--Succulent with brilliant yellow flowers inn winter or early spring and variable leaf color (green, purple, variegated, etc.).
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 (uunlike Aloe bainesii).
Brilliant red blooms in winter; signature plant of much of the
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-orrange blossoms.
Aloe speciosa--Tilt-Head Aloe
--Has multi-colored exotic blooms.
Baccharis sarothroides--Broom Baccharis
--Combination of the colors of the leaves caan be as brilliant as almost
Brugmansia sp.--Angel's Trumpet
--From South America, commonly-planted for iits downward-pointed flowers.
Calliandra haematocephala--Pink Powder Puff
--Native to Bolivia; flowers mainly in winteer.
Callistemon citrinus--Lemon Bottlebrush
Long hedge in bloom
Weeping Bottlebrush (C. viminalis) for a tree-sized bottlebrush.
--Numerous species, varieties and hybrids; uusually flowers in winter.
Ceanothus tomentosus--Ramona Ceanothus
--NATIVE! This blue and white Ceanothhus is on Mt. Woodson. It flowers in
Ceanothus verrucosus--Warty-Stem Ceanothus
--NATIVE! These seem to flower only dduring 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
Cordia boissieri--Texas Olive
--Infrequently planted here; can be a shrub or tree.
Crassula arborescens--Silver Jade Plant
Crassula ovata--Jade Plant
--Blooms so brightly in December and/or Januuary that the otherwise
rubbery leaves become almost invisible.
Hedge in Bloom
Cycas revoluta--Sago "Palm" Cycad
--Most commonly planted cycad in San Diego. Of course, this is not
Dahlia imperialis--Tree Dahlia
--More of a sprawling shrub than a tree
Dasylirion quadrangulatum--Mexican Grass Tree
--Some refer to this as Dasylirion longissimma, though this now appears to be a different species. Odd flower/seed spike.
--The only shrub with a native range includiing 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 or more outdoors in San Diego.
Dracaena marginata--Madagascar Dragon Tree
--Another common house plant that does well outdoors in San Diego;
often shrubby/clumping. For the regular dragon tree, see
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 leavees.
Eriogonum fasciculatum--California Buckwheat
--NATIVE! Very common on hills and meesas.
Escallonia laevis--Pink Escallonia
Euphorbia lambii--Tree Euphorbia
--Really more of a shrub; has yellow flowerss in spring.
Euphorbia milii--Crown of Thorns
--Unusual small shrub with large thorns and red flowers.
One of the most commonly-planted shrubs at the Wild Animal Park.
--Classic Xmas plant grows to about 10 feet here and blooms for
several months in late fall and winter.
Euryops pectinatus--Yellow Bush Daisy
Fatsia japonica--Japanese Aralia
Grewia occidentalis--Lavender Starflower
--The name aptly describes the flowers on thhis hedge.
Heteromeles arbutifolia--Toyon (Christmasberry)
--NATIVE! Large evergreen shrub with red berries in fall and
--Very common, flowers most of the year.
Hypoestes aristata--Ribbon Bush
--From South Africa, flowers in fall.
Kalanchoe beharensis--Felt Plant
--Comes in various colors, especially pinkissh-white (pictured) and
Leptospermum scoparium--New Zealand Tea
--Often grown as a hedge, white or pink flowwers most commonly in
--Beautiful flowering shrub from South Africca. Comes in a variety of
Leucospermum sp.--Yellow Pincushion
--This one has yellow blooms. This is probaably a variety of Leucospermum cordifolium.
Loropetalum chinense--Fringe Flower
Lotus berthelotti--Parrot's Beak
--Odd flame-like blooms contrast with the miinute foliage. Very low
Nandina domestica--Heavenly Bamboo
--Not a bamboo but instead is a shrub of thee 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
Philodendron bipinnatifidum--Tree Philodendron
--Usually more of a shrub than a tree. Commmon houseplant in colder
Philodendron sp. 'Xanadu'--Xanadu Philodendron
--A dwarf version of the Philodendron.
--Several species can grow in San Diego.
--Has very fragrant blossoms in spring.
Plumbago auriculata--Cape Plumbago
Portulacaria afra--Elephant's Food
--Sometimes called "miniature jade plant."
Rhaphiolepis indica--Indian Hawthorne
--Most rhododendrons need more acidic soils,, 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 hhillsides. Fruits can be
used to make tea.
Ricinus communis--Purple Castor Bean
--Evergreen shrub in San Diego. There are aalso green varieties of
Schefflera arboricola--Hawaiian Elf Schefflera
--Native to Taiwan; pictured here is the varriegated variety.
--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 autumnn.
Tecoma capensis--Cape Honeysuckle
--Sometimes a shrub, sometimes a vine. Has 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 flower spikes.
Yucca schidigera--Mojave yucca
--NATIVE! This is native just about eeverywhere in San Diego
Agapanthus orientalis--Lily of the Nile
Agave americana--Century Plant
Agave shawii--Shaw's Agave
--NATIVE! Native to the immediate Sann Diego County coast,
common in Baja California Norte.
Allamanda cathartica--Golden Allamanda
--Does better in the tropics but occasionallly is grown in San Diego. Has bright shiny yellow blossoms.
--Low-growing aloe blooms heavily in early ssummer (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 Diego..
Billbergia nutans--Queen's Tears Bromeliad
--Occasionally has showy pinkish-red bracts,, most likely in winter.
--Comes in many different colors. First picc 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 abovve bluish leaves.
--Needs a warm sunny location to survive Sann Diego winters. Technically an herb, not a tree.
--This is the highly invasive iceplant with thick leaves that is
common on beaches.
--This South African plant produces beautifuul 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 tthe orange ones) can be quite showy.
Cyathea cooperi--Australian Tree Fern
--Most commonly-planted tree fern in San Dieego.
Cyperus alternifolius--Umbrella Plant
--Commonly planted aquatic plant.
Dicksonia antarctica--Tasmanian Tree Fern
--The 2nd most commonly-planted tree fern inn San Diego. Not as
tall as the
Australian tree fern.
Digitalis purpurea--Common Foxglove
--Planted frequently in Balboa Park. This ccan 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 rrosettes of leaves.
Echinocactus grusonii--Golden Barrel Cactus
--A species from Mexico (different from Feroocactus).
--NATIVE! One of the cone-flowered pllants, 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 doesnn't fruit.
--The largest types of orchids that grow in San Diego.
Ficus pumila--Creeping Fig
--Unlike most Ficus, this is a vine, not a ttree.
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 deliicious 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 (Bryoophyllum 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.
--A small-leafed iceplant.
Limonium perezii--Sea Lavender
--Common and naturalized.
Lupinus microcarpus var. microcarpus--Valley Lupine
--NATIVE! Blooms in late winter/earlyy 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.
--Various species grow to usually between 100 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 in the spring.
Passiflora sp.--Passion Vine
--These South American vines come with floweers of various colors.
Some have fruit (passion fruit). Hardiness is variable (many are
evergreen here, but others are perennials, especially inland).
--Close geranium relative. Can grow very laarge with support in San
Phormium sp.--New Zealand Flax
--Available in a variety of leaf-colors (mosst often green or purple).
--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 flowerss.
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