Where to find some of the most beloved trees of Los Angeles

Trees in L.A. with iconic legacies
(Devin Oktar Yalkin / For The Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Saturday, Feb. 3. Here’s what you need to know to start your weekend:

    Where to find some of the most beloved trees of Los Angeles

    From the boulevards of Beverly Hills to the residential streets of South L.A., palm trees (those tall “skydusters”) have become central to L.A.’s identity.

    But L.A.’s urban greenery doesn’t stop with the palm tree. Species like the coastal live oak in West Hills and the Moreton Bay fig in Palms tell the story of Los Angeles and what the land was like even before the city was here. And they are nice to visit, admire and sit under, too.


    Times contributor Ryan Bradley compiled a list of 10 of the most beloved L.A. trees that Angelenos should enjoy — and protect at all costs.

    To come up with this list, Bradley and photographer Devin Oktar Yalkin looked for trees that were treasured and part of L.A. history, but also as public as possible. Basically, trees you don’t have to pay to see and that are often alongside city streets.

    Here are a few of them:

    Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) in the Hollywood Hills

    Trees in LA with iconic legacies
    (Devin Oktar Yalkin/For The Times)

    You might be familiar with this tree because of the vibrant purple hue that radiates from it in the spring. Most of them were planted in the 1950s and ‘60s, which is likely the case with this one in the triangle where Cahuenga Boulevard and Franklin and Wilcox avenues meet. It might not be very old or very big, but it is adored. So much so that its neighbors maintain it free of charge.

    Camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora) in Boyle Heights

    Trees in LA with iconic legacies.
    (Devin Oktar Yalkin/For The Times)

    The camphor tree, located inside Evergreen Cemetery, is among the most prominent Angelenos you could hope to find. Ever heard of the human cannonball Hugo Zacchini? He’s there, too.

    Last year’s wet winter brought the camphor back to life after years of drought killed it.

    Mexican avocado (Persea americana) in Atwater

    Trees in LA with iconic legacies
    (Devin Oktar Yalkin/For The Times)

    This avocado tree on a quiet street in Atwater Village near the L.A. River is a “national champion” — meaning it is the largest of its kind in the U.S. — and the kind of tree that is central to L.A. history. In the 1980s, Juan Murrieta began importing great quantities of avocados from Atlixco, Mexico. They paved the way for huge commercial groves close to the river, in both Atwater and Los Feliz (around Avocado Street, naturally) where plenty of these more-than-a-century-old avocados can still be found today.

    Read more about trees here:

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    For your weekend

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    Have a great weekend, from the Essential California team

    Kevinisha Walker, multiplatform editor
    Karim Doumar, head of newsletters

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