There have been moments while driving around Los Angeles when I’ve suddenly felt overwhelmed and awe struck because of the trees inhabiting our city. I’ll feel the need to stop the car to stare, to find a moment to appreciate the sheer beauty of nature around me: a tree lined boulevard or a majestic specimen tree at the corner of an intersection. It’s these moments where I appreciate that trees are one of the important elements of the framework for the city’s growing urban infrastructure.
And it’s also these same moments which define the urban experience, providing our city’s citizens a greater appreciation of the ability of trees to survive in sometimes harsh urban conditions. Their endurance earns these silent survivors both respect and love within the community, sometimes rallying support to protect these living landmarks for future generations to appreciate as historic resources.
Lately, I have been trying to capture these “landmark trees” within my own community, photographing several of my favorite trees.
Chorisia speciosa: The Floss Silk Tree located on Sawtelle Blvd. at the Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery is absolutely my favorite tree in Los Angeles. Towering over 50’ tall, the tree appears to have “eyes” looking down at the those passing by.
Ficus macrophylla: The Moreton Bay Fig located at the corner of Bundy Drive and Santa Monica Blvd. This tree dates back to the 1920s and has survived through multiple developments surrounding it. The landscape must have been so different when it was first planted.
Ficus macrophylla: The Moreton Bay Fig located at the Westwood Gateway Complex. A cluster of large specimen fig trees are located within the frontage of the complex.
120 Erythrina caffra: Coral Trees were planted along a 5 mile stretch of San Vicente Blvd in the 1940s. An interesting but mostly forgotten fact: in 1966 the Los Angeles City Council declared the South African Coral tree as the city’s official tree.
Various ficus trees planted along the streets throughout Los Angeles survive despite little water, limited space, and urban development. But these mature landmark trees need as much care as their younger counterparts, especially during an extended drought. It’s time to invest in these landmarks, as beloved and important to a city’s landscape as any building.