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

Hypoxylon Canker removal in Austin TX
March 26, 2012 - I have several oaks that appear to have been killed by Hypoxylon atropunctatum from last summer's drought. Is it safe to cut them down in March or does that risk spreading Oak Wilt too. Should I ...
view the full question and answer

Apples, pears and geraniums in Kipling, Saskatchewan
March 30, 2013 - My geranium's leaves became yellow - Why? Where can I buy a good nice apple tree? Will apples and pears grow in south Saskatchewan?
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for native perennials in Staten Island, NY
April 03, 2008 - My back yard garden has a good base of evergreen shrubs and perennials all doing well in clayish soil and I am ready now to add color and texture in an area with partial sun. Can you suggest hardy...
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Leaf Drop in North Carolina
April 27, 2011 - We planted a 15 foot, approx. 3" caliber live oak tree last summer and it seemed very healthy throughout our unusually cold winter in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. (Winston-Salem). Now it's ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of one Desert Willow in Phoenix AZ
September 06, 2013 - We planted 4 desert willow trees in the summer and 3 of the 4 are doing excellent, however the last one is not not doing so well, it was the smallest of all and it started out fine but its leaves bega...
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