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Tree-hunting in San Francisco

September 14, 2010
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I’m not going to call them “Landmark Trees” since that term’s already taken. I was thinking of “spectacular trees,” but Donna in comments asked, What defines a spectacular tree ? That’s an important point. Size? Location? Species? Appearance? There’s no easy way to say.

So what I’m going to call them is Memorable Trees. They’re the trees one notices and remembers. We’re lucky we have many of them around. Here are a few, all from around the West Portal area. They’re all, as far as I know, on private property. I hope their owners find them as remarkable as I do.

This palm tree is one of several on Portola Drive. They’re so unexpected in this foggy part of the city, but they seem to be thriving. This one in particular is amazing because its trunk is covered in other plants, mainly succulents. It’s not just a tree, it’s a garden in itself.

This humongous tree is on Portola, too, just before the Junipero Serra/ Sloat split, at the entrance to St Francis Wood. And what better guardian could the neighborhood have?

I’ve long been beguiled by this tree’s dramatic and unusual shape. An araucaria of some kind?  It has big spherical fruit. The owners like it (I complimented them on it when they were re-doing their yard). But I can’t see where its water is coming from, surrounded as it is with brick and pavement. Hope it lives long and prospers.

This is another dramatic tree on Wawona. I love the contrast of the very traditional European-looking house with fountain and trimmed lawn, and this unusual tree.

And the final picture for today (also from Portola)  isn’t a tree at all. It’s a flower spike taller than a double-storied house.

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