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July 2016 Plant of the Month - Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood

Fernleaf Catalina IronwoodThe plant of the month for July is the Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius).  Considered a type of tree, Catalina Ironwood typically grows up to 30 feet tall with a 15 foot spread and peeling reddish gray or brown bark.  Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood is endemic to the Channel Islands of California and grows in the type of rocky chaparral plant communities that dominate much of coastal California.  This environment is characterized by rocky soils, wind, drought and periodic fires.

Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood is rare in the wild but recent interest in tough, drought tolerant native trees has sparked an increase in their landscaping popularity in recent years.  Among their many benefits are the large clusters of white flowers that bloom in summer and that attract bees and other pollinators.

Fernleaf Catalina Ironwood can be found around SFO at the inbound and outbound ramps, the bio swale (the landscaped area between the freeway on-ramp and off-ramp), Aviador Avenue and the San Bruno Interchange.