in Los Angeles
Some people, when they think of Los Angeles, think of freeways,
tall buildings and empty spaces paved over to make parking lots--
hard surfaces that reflect the sun. But one of the first things I
noticed was all the green, especially trees, of varieties I hadnâ€™t
known in the Panhandle of Texas.
There are a lot of trees in Los Angeles, and we're planting more
every day. In fact, the mayor has instituted a project to plant a
million new trees. Here are some of my favorites:
Palm--An early memory of trees was the Promenade, a shaded
walkway bordered by palm trees on the old campus at Pepperdine
Univeristy. Tall and slender, squat and fat, palms may be the trees
most associated with Los Angeles.
Pines--When we lived on 79th
Street, much of the street was
shaded by large pine trees. The
needles and pine cones they
dropped were a source of endless
fascination for our young children.
I still keep a basket of pine cones
in my living room.
There is a wide variety of pine
trees in Los Angeles.
Jacaranda--Perhaps the most beautiful
and striking trees at Pepperdine were
the jacaranda lining the sidewalk in
front of the main campus. In the
spring, they bloomed a lilac haze.
At night, by the light of the blue-toned
streetlamps, their glow was almost
Like most of us in Los Angeles, they
aren't natives. They come from Brazil.
Avocado--Our backyard on
79th Street was dominated by a
massive avocado tree. It made
a terrible mess--dropping leaves
and overripe avocados, which
burst on the bricks below much
of the year.
But it also gave us large, creamy
fruit for sandwiches and salads
and the major ingredient for
guacamole, to dress up Mexican
food and hamburgers.
Citus--Los Angeles is known for its
citrus trees. Our next-door neighbors
on 79th, the Buntons, had a lemon tree
which supplied tart lemons for
lemonade and to squeeze on salads,
vegetables and fish and shellfish.
We now have a fragrant grapefruit tree
in our backyard. And orange groves,
both north and south of the city, gave
their name to nearby Orange County.
Coral--Broad, spreading coral trees
are another beauty of Los Angeles,
with their bright red-orange blossoms.
They came from Central and South
I enjoy a couple of prize specimens on
my daily commute to and from work.
Eucalyptus--Another import, this
time from Australia, is the tall,
spindly eucalyptus with its ragged
bark and long, slender leaves.
Their numbers were thinned in a
recent outbreak of blight, a
warning against the attractive
uniform rows of a single species
that characterize many of our
Liquid Amber--In the fall, our most
beautiful and striking tree is the liquid
amber. Its leaves turn from green to
pink, rose, red and rich purple shades.
Coast Live Oak--especially in the
hills and valleys just north of us, we
see the Coast Live Oaks. A native
species, they often appear, spreading
wide and thick, at the top of a hill.
Joshua--Perhaps the strangest tree in
the area is the Joshua tree that
flourishes in the high desert.
Early settlers in California expected to
see palm trees, so they misnamed their
settlement Palmdale for the spindly and
strange-looking Joshua trees.