Thursday, May 29, 2008
San Vicente Boulevard between Bringham Avenue and 26th Street, Brentwood – map
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Oh. L.A.’s official flower is the bird of paradise, also a native of South Africa.
“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