Chavez Ravine Arboretum
Elysian Park – map
Okay, I’ll admit it. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a cupressus glabra or a cupaniopsis anacardioides if my life depended on it. If anything, this post will make that amply clear.
The Chavez Ravine Arboretum was started up by the Los Angeles Horticultural Society way back in 1893 and stands as the first and oldest arboretum in Southern California. The fact that what amounts to a bunch of trees in the area around Dodger Stadium still being in existence is a bit of a minor miracle. For me, spending a few hours in this Elysian Park enclave helped blur the usual heartwarming images conjured about by the mention of Chavez Ravine (named for landowner Julian Chavez, one of L.A.’s first County Supervisors).
Tipu Tree (tipuana tipu)
Queensland Kauri (agathis robusta)
What a great space it is. I’m sort of surprised there weren’t more Angelinos taking advantage of the arboretum the Sunday afternoon I was there (although, admittedly, there was a Dodgers game going on around the corner, so maybe more forward-thinking folks than I avoided the park that day).
Aleppo Pine (pinus halepensis)
There’s a lumberyardful of rare trees – some 130 kinds – here, and trees are still planted annually. These pictures really don’t do justice to the arboretum (trees definitely fall into that category of subjects that seem cool when you’re there photographing them but, when you look at the shots later, fall kind of flat – I mean, they’re trees after all).
Scarlet Oak (quercus coccinea)While no official tours of the site are given (a twice-a-year guided tour I bet would go over real well), the L.A. Parks website offers a map and reference list to 138 types of trees. However, what the map lacks in accuracy is made up with in illegibility – it’s really tough to read. (Go here for access to the map and list.) A few of the trees are invaluably (or is that valuably?) tagged, but many are not. I figured I could sort out which tree was which once I got back to the BOL offices, but I was mistaken. I even looked up pictures of various varieties on the web, trying to identify trees in photos that way, but it was just no good. Anyway, if any of you more arboreally minded folks out there can identify something here or on the BOL Flickr page, you're welcome to let me know if I snapped a shot of a fraxinus uhdei or a rhapidophyllum hystrix.
Palm Tree Hill
A cluster of Mexican Fan Palms (washingtonia robusta) with a cluster of downtown skyscrapers.
Bald Cypress (taxodium distichum)
Lemon-scented Gum (eucalyptus citriodora)
Above is the Grace E. Simon Lodge, named for the journalist/preservationist/community leader who spearheaded the movement to stop further development of Elysian Park in the 1960s and on. That fight sparked the formation of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park.
To read a comprehensive review of the Chavez Ravine Arboretum, click here to read a two-year-old L.A. Times article by Lili Singer.
Up next: 76 Mature Olive Trees