En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 19, 2010

From: La Jolla, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Native tree for San Diego, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have conflicting info about the Mayten tree. Pro: recommended patio tree, medium water needs, does not drop seed or leaves. Con: broadly invasive suckers, messy drop. I am in San Diego, California near the ocean. We deal with salt air and drought but no frost. I am thinking of planting one on our front yard bank with full sun all day and medium watering for surrounding plants. Have already lost two Oklahoma Redbud trees in the same spot. What can you advise?

ANSWER:

There are two species of Maytenus, the mayten tree, that occur in the continental United States and only one of those, Maytenus phyllanthoides, is native.

The species that generally occurs in California, Maytenus boaria, is not native to North America and I am supposing that this is the one that you are thinking about planting. Since the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes", we would recommend that you not plant Maytenus boaria.  Additionally, Cal-IPC (California Invasive Plant Council) classifies the Mayten tree as invasive.  We can recommend several small native California trees for the San Diego, California area, however.

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

Garrya elliptica (Wavyleaf silktassel) and here are photos and more information.

Lyonothamnus floribundus (Catalina ironwood) and here are photos and more information.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) and here is more information.

Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf cherry) and here are photos and more information.

Morella californica [syn.  Myrica cerifera] (California wax myrtle) and here are photos and more information.

Umbellularia californica (California laurel) and here is more information.

Here are photos form our Image Gallery for some of the trees above:


Chilopsis linearis


Chilopsis linearis


Heteromeles arbutifolia


Umbellularia californica

 

 

More Trees Questions

Can a madrone be used as a house plant from Grand Rapids MI
June 24, 2011 - Can a madrone tree be used as a house plant in Michigan? It is about 10" tall in a gal pot. Can a couple of trees be planted together to become one larger house plant? it's currently in a clay mix.
view the full question and answer

Should I Prune Oak Trees in February in Wisconsin?
February 17, 2011 - I need to cut some oak branches but am worried about oak wilt. You told an earlier questioner not to cut in February. I live in Wisconsin and it has been very cold lately. Am I okay to cut the bran...
view the full question and answer

Killing regrowing shoots of a downed hackberry tree
June 28, 2013 - Hackberry plants won't die. You and others have suggested to cut the suckers or saplings to get rid of them. Over the years I have continued to cut the same saplings and the only thing I have now ar...
view the full question and answer

Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Florida
March 12, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants While visiting Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale we saw a beautiful Texas Mountain Laurel tree. What are the chances of this surviving in the Ft. Myers, Florida area. Either in t...
view the full question and answer

Tree Recommendations for Hutto, TX
September 28, 2014 - I live in Hutto, TX. I want shade trees in my back yard. I would like a fast growing tree as well as a slower growing tree. What trees are recommended for my area?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center