Bay Area Urban Trees

July 17, 2023 [this-world-of-ours] #trees #bay-area

Till I started taking my daughter out on walks I never paid attention to the trees on my street or those along the creek. Now I do, rather obsessively. I want to name them to her. I want to tell her where they are originally from, if they shed leaves in winter, if autumn changes the color of their leaves, how to identify them. So my walks are now spent looking at trees and making a record of those I can't identify. These streets that I have walked hundreds of times, what was I doing before I started obsessing with the trees? I can't recall now. Houses maybe. Usually lost in my head. That's another thing to convey to her - there's an infinite amount of detail in the world. One just has to know how to look.

Deodar Cedar

There are a few on my street and around the block. Huge, so I suspect at least over 50 years old. I don't recall ever seeing these in India, although one learns about them in school. Quite the contrast with Coast Redwoods that are nearby. Also prettier to my eyes, with those drooping branches and upright acorns.

London Plane Tree

There are streets and streets of these. Shed their leaves in fall. Great summer colors though. No matter how hot it gets - and there is a heat wave going on now - these streets are always cool. I don't doubt it's the trees.

Ash Tree

I thought these were Neem first, but the leaves don't smell like Neem, so my second guess is Ash trees. Both have opposite branching and compound leaves. I just don't know which Ash. These are present in many places along the creek, and along many streets.

Valley Oak

Love the leaves on these trees. While they are a prominent presence along the creek, the only other place I have seen them is on Wolfe Road right opposite the Apple Park gate, close to the entrace to 280.


Another urban favourite, along with the London Plane tree. Easily identifiable leaves - 5 fingered, star shaped, lush green. Striking colors in autumn.

Coast Redwood

Unavoidable, if you are in the Bay Area. Reddish brown trunk, usually towering over the other trees in the area.


Heart shaped leaves with serrated edges. Seen these only along creeks here. Down there, these are bigger than even the oaks.


These are everywhere once you notice them. Distinctive foilage, that shed seemingly at the same time in fall. You don't want to park your car underneath these trees at that time.

Peruvian Pepper Tree

Saw a few of these around the creek. The branches droop, while the leaves look like those of the Neem tree. Some had fruits.

Coast Live Oak

So many of these along the creek. Most are young, with smallish trunks and no larger than 9 or 10 feet, so can't be more than a decade or two old.

African Fern Pine

Another favourite of mine. Looks pretty good on any street, with that thick foilage. There are at least three close to where I live.

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