Thursday, May 29, 2008

No. 148 - Coral Trees

Coral Trees

Coral Trees
San Vicente Boulevard between Bringham Avenue and 26th Street, Brentwood – map
Declared: 3/3/76

I didn’t count them all, but there sure are a lot of coral trees on this nearly two-mile stretch of San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood.

Coral Trees
Coral Trees

Of course you knew the Erythrina is the official tree of the city of Los Angeles. Actually, I should say the Erythrina are the official tree, because there are about 130 species of them, most commonly known as coral trees. The city’s designation of officialdom includes all of them.

Coral Trees
Coral Trees
Coral Trees

Why Los Angeles Beautiful and Valley Knudsen recommended this tree – a tree that originated in South Africa – to be our official tree, I don’t know. Then-mayor Sam Yorty, at the declaration on Arbor Day in 1966, praised the tree as “smog resistant and relatively pest free.” He went on to say the coral tree was chosen for “its beauty and versatility and in keeping with the city’s Spanish and Mexican heritage.” Huh?

Coral Trees
Coral Trees
Coral Trees

Here are some native L.A. trees that missed out on the title: the California Black Walnut; the Western Sycamore; the Coast Live Oak; the Valley Oak; and the California Bay. (By the way, all of those trees are protected in the city of L.A. under the Native Tree Protection Ordinance. You need permission from the Board of Public Works to cut down any. So, watch out.) Me, I would’ve chosen the Coast Live Oak, but I digress.

Coral Trees

The species of Erythrina you see on San Vicente is the caffra, AKA the Kaffir Coral Tree AKA the Coast Coral Tree. The word erythrina comes from the Greek word for red. Caffra is Arabic, and means unbeliever. I could write a long post about the E.c., but I’d take nearly everything from this site. Go there and read about both the tree’s medicinal and poisonous qualities and decide which parts you want to recommend to your mother-in-law.

Below are two pictures, one of the eastern end of the monument at Bringham, the lower at the western edge where 26th Street crosses San Vincente.

Coral Trees
Coral Trees

Just a few of the trees on San Vicente were sprouting flowers when I was there. If those trees bloom at the same time, it must be something to see.

Coral Trees
Coral Trees

Oh. L.A.’s official flower is the bird of paradise, also a native of South Africa.

Coral Trees

Sources:

“L.A. Adopts Flowering Coral Tree” Los Angeles Times; Mar 8, 1966, B16

Atkinson, Robert E. “Our City Adopts a Tree of Flame" Los Angeles Times; Jun 12, 1966, p. 24

Up next: Ennis-Brown House

11 comments:

Happy Squirrel said...

Thanks to your blog, I now know the tree in my backyard is a California Black Walnut.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, Happy Squirrel. Finally this blog has paid off. Make sure you let the city know if you plan on cutting it down for firewood or anything.

Nancy Lehrer said...

Fabulous shots of the trees along San Vicente. You have really done them justice. I tried to find the "official tree" of Thousand Oaks, but alas, I can only assume it is one of the great species of oak that is so prominent here.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, Nancy. Let me know if it's anything other than one of those 1,000 oaks.

g said...

Hi, Floyd, great post! I used to commute down SVB (my husband still does) and every morning went past these trees, and the joggers who run along the median. Of course, one of the regular features of this was seeing huge fallen branches that had ripped away from the trunks under their own weight, sometimes large enough to extend into traffic and block a lane.

Much beloved and much nuisance!

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, g. I wish there were more landmarks in this neck of the woods.

Sara said...

Thanks, Floyd, for a happy childhood memory! For a while I lived in a house at the corner of 26th & San Vincente (don't even know if it's still there as I live in Iowa now). These photos are bringing back some nice memories.

brent said...

We are about to upload a website for the Brentwood Community Council which is the broadest based community organization in 90049. How do we obtain permission to use one or more of your San Vicente coral tree photographs? How do we obtain the highest quality photo? Thanks.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Hi, Brent. Just head to the Flickr page (the link's to the right in the links section) and take what you need. Credit's always appreciated. Thanks a ton for the interest.

Teri Redman Kahn said...

I love your information and photos. Please cite your sources. I am doing a piece for the BCC and need to be sure that the info I pass along is true. If I am successful you will see blooms again in these trees. I am working for the health of these trees.
Teri Redman Kahn

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Hi, Teri. My sources are the two L.A. Times articles listed at the bottom of the post. Also check the links, or at least the ones that aren't dead. Good luck.