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California Native Trees

Looking for an appropriate street tree, an attractive shade tree, a flowering patio tree, a stately specimen tree? There’s a California native tree for the job! Planted small at the onset of the winter rains, a native tree will become established and begin growing promptly, and surpass the growth and size of a larger (box) tree. Mostly fast-growing, drought tolerant and pest resistant, native trees provide the landscape with a unique look that truly beautifies the region. Long before Eucalyptus invaded the canyons and hills of California, the natives had established their niche in the delicate ecosystems of this region and developed a natural interdependence with the other native species. Today, we can celebrate the natural magnificence of the bioregion by choosing to plant our landscapes with the native trees that truly belong here:

Photo: Laura Camp, Tree of Life Nursery ©
Arctostaphylos “Sentinel” Showing off its winter flowers

Flowering Trees:

  • California buckeye (Aesculus californica
  • Refugio manzanita (Arctostaphylos refugioensis)
  • Island Ceanothus (Ceanothus arboreus)
  • Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
  • Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis)
  • Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata)
  • Yellow bells (Tecoma stans)

Small Trees (Under 20’):

  • Ray Hartman Ceanothus (Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’)
  • Lester Rowntree manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Lester Rowntree’)
  • Pinon pine (Pinus edulis)
  • Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides)
  • Water birch (Betula occidentalis)
  • Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
  • Pacific wax myrtle (Morella californica)
  • Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia)
  • Blue palo verde (Parkinsonia floridum)
  • Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana)
  • Baja bird bush (Ornithostaphylos oppositifolia)

Large Deciduous Trees:

  • Big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)
  • Black maple (Acer negundo)
  • California buckeye (Aesculus californica) 
  • White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)
  • Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis)
  • California black walnut (Juglans californica)
  • Western Sycamore (Platanus racemosa)
  • Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii)
  • California Black oak (Quercus kelloggii)
  • Valley oak (Quercus lobata)

Large Evergreen Trees:

  • Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)
  • Fern-leaf Ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius)
  • Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia)
  • Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri)
  • Foothill pine (Pinus sabiniana)
  • Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana)
  • Catalina cherry (Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii)
  • California bay (Umbellularia californica)