Japanese Umbrella Pines

Japanese Umbrella Pines

Japanese umbrella pines are unusual-looking trees that rarely solicit lukewarm opinions – as explained by the University of Florida Extension Service, “people either love this tree or won’t even look at it.” The whorled tufts of evergreen needles found at the end of the trees’ branches are said to resemble umbrellas, hence the species’ common name.


Yew Trees

Native to most of Europe and Asia, as well as northern Africa and North America, yew trees (Taxus spp.) are ancient species that have been associated with human culture for millennia.


Sago Cycad and Their Relatives

Trees of the genus Cycas are primitive gymnosperms that superficially resemble palm trees. However, they are quite distinct from true palms, and form an entirely different lineage.


African Cycads

Appearing somewhat like palms or ferns, African cycads are primitive trees, native to the southern half of Africa. As part of the family Zamiaceae, African cycads display many similarities to their relatives in other genera.


African Podocarps

The so-called “African podocarps” include six species of tree within the genus Afrocarpus. They exhibit numerous similarities with the more familiar and widespread Australasian podocarps (Podocarpus spp.), and they were formerly classified in the same genus. Several different colloquial names are applied to members of the genus, including yellowwood, yew and fern pine.



Approximately six species comprise the genus Pseudotsuga, colloquially known as the Douglas-firs. They are some of the most iconic trees of the Pacific Northwest, and they often grow as pure or nearly pure stands. The trees are very important commercially, which has caused them to become interwoven with local cultures. For example, Douglas-firs are Oregon’s official state trees.


Australasian Podocarps

Podocarpus is a genus of trees and shrubs, primarily restricted to the southern hemisphere. Most of the 100 or so species in the genus are dioecious (meaning that individuals produce either male or female reproductive structures – not both) and possess elongated leaves, varying from about 1/2 to 6 inches in length, with a distinct midrib



The eight or so described hemlock species (Tsuga spp.) are evergreen trees who reproduce through cones, like all other living conifers. However, because of their preferred habitats – cool, rainy areas — hemlocks exhibit a variety of traits and tendencies that are at odds with most other conifers.

Starr Ficus macrophylla

Santa Monica’s Special Trees

Santa Monica stands in the top tier of tree-friendly cities in both the country and the world – no small feat for a city that is built on a historically tree-poor habitat.


Santa Monica’s Urban Forest: A Lesson in Success

Santa Monica is often heralded as one of the most tree-friendly cities in the country and that is a hard contention with which to argue