Choose Your Tree Species
This list of trees that Altadena Heritage plans to make available presents a brief description of each tree. You may read more about each tree including growth rate, sun or shade preference, and much more, by clicking on its botanical name. The link will take you to that tree’s entry in SelecTree, a database maintained by the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.
Understanding the tree descriptions in this list
- Evergreen, semi-deciduous (partially or briefly deciduous), and deciduous trees are indicated by E, S, and D, respectively.
- Sizes at maturity are indicated as Height x Width, for example, 20-25’ x 15’ means that, generally, the mature size of the tree will be between 20 and 25 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
- Many factors can influence the final size of the tree, including shade, root run, and geographical location. The sizes given in SelecTree are not always accurate for Southern California. We have tried to give you sizes you can expect in this area.
Tree images in the list below are from the SelecTree website.
Small Trees – Up to 25 Feet Tall
Bauhinia variegata Purple Orchid Tree. E, or sometimes D, 20-35’ x 20-25’. Moderate shade. Moderate water needs. Bright green leaves and beautiful purple-pink flowers. It is naturally multi-stemmed but can be trained into a single-trunked (standard) tree.
Callistemon viminalis Weeping Bottlebrush. E, 20-30’ x 15’. Moderately dense shade. Moderate water, shelter from wind. With light green leaves and bright red brushes. Requires pruning when young to develop single trunk and good branch structure.
Cassia leptophylla Gold Medallion Tree or Brazil Pink Shower Tree. S, 20’-25’ x 30’. Moderate shading, requires a moderate amount of water and prefers fast draining soil, full sun, seeds are considered poisonous, yellow flowers in summer.
Elaeocarpus sylvestris Japanese Blueberry Tree. E, 25-40’ x 15-30’. Dense shade. Blooms in summer with tiny scented white flowers growing in 1.5 to 3-inch clusters followed by blue berries. Regular water, well-drained rich soil. Upright and symmetrical form.
Erythrina × sykesii Sykes Coral Tree. D, 25-30’ tall. Moderately low shading. Spreading habit and bright red flowers in winter before dark green leaves emerge. It does not produce seeds. Regular water.
Searsia lancea African Sumac. E, 20-30’ x 20-35’. Somewhat resembling olive tree. Graceful habit, pea-sized yellow or red fruit. Takes heat, good specimen or screen, can be clipped to hedge. Slow growing. Drought tolerant once established, but looks best with regular deep watering. Prune to maintain a single trunk and strong structure.
Zelkova serrata ‘City Sprite’ City Sprite Zelkova. D, 20-25’ x 15-18’. Moderate to dense shading. Nice fall color of yellow to dark red. Fast to moderate growth. Moderate water needs. Wide variety of soils, and drought and wind tolerant.
Medium Trees – 25 to 40 Feet Tall
Agonis flexuosa Peppermint Tree. E, 25-35’ x 15-30’. Moderate shading, wet to dry soil, full sun to partial shade, attractive weeping character, dark green foliage, fragrant leaf and attracts birds. Requires routine pruning during first 5 years to develop strong framework,
Arbutus ‘Marina’ Marina Madrone. E, up to 40’ x 40’ but often smaller in So Cal. Moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil, full sun, attractive red-brown peeling bark, showy flowers and small fruit attract birds, especially hummingbirds.
Koelreuteria paniculata Goldenrain Tree. D, 20-35’ x 25-40’. Moderately low shading, broad canopy, moist to dry soil, full sun to partial shade. Showy yellow flowers in summer. Drought and smog tolerant. Prune early for strong branch structure.
Lophostemon confertus Brisbane Box. E, 30-45’ x 20-40’. May be a larger tree in warmer areas. Moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil, drought tolerant once established, full sun to partial shade. Bark is Striking being Light Green, red brown or multicolored, exfoliating or smooth. Smog tolerant.
Pistacia chinensis Chinese Pistache. D, Height: 25-35’ x 25–35’. Moderate to moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil, needs good drainage, drought and smog tolerant, full sun to partial shade, prolific red or mostly blue fruiting in summer or fall. With enough chill leaves turn red in fall. Drought and smog tolerant. Prune early for good structure.
Schinus molle California Pepper, Peruvian Pepper. E, 25-50’ x 25-40’. Moderate to dense shading, moist to dry soil, drought tolerant, full sun to partial shade, has fragrant flower and fruit, and attracts bees. Old trees will become hollow.
Large Trees – Over 40 Feet Tall
Cedrus deodara Deodar Cedar. E, 40-60′ x 20-30′. Dense shading, life span up to 150 years, drought tolerant once established, Fragrant bark and leaf. Moderate potential for root damage. Not for fire hazard areas.
Tipuana tipu Tipu Tree. D or S, 25-50′ x 25-50′. Moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil. Mature trees are drought tolerant. Showy yellow or orange flowers in summer. Prune regularly for strong structure. Young trees may be awkward-looking. Gets Tipu psillid.