Thanksgiving may be over and thoughts may be turning to Christmas, but fall color season is not over in southern California. Typically it reaches its peak around the first week of December. A good place to view a variety of trees in their fall splendor is the Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia.
The Arboretum is home to hundreds of trees, some of which are evergreen, but many are deciduous with striking fall color. A few of the species seen in recent days include the following.
Tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera – This native of the eastern United States gets its name from the tulip-like flowers it produces in the spring. However, in the fall it is a cone of gold. Look for one near the tram stop.
Crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica and hybrids – These small trees are big on fall color, having brilliant orange and red foliage. They are common landscaping trees and chances are you can find some in your neighborhood. At the Arboretum, look for crepe myrtles between the fountain area and the South African section and hybrids can be found near the top of Tallac Knoll.
Persimmon – Though none of the colorful fruits were seen on the Arboretum trees, the foliage was a striking reddish orange. Look for the tree across the road from the Engelmann oak grove.
Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua – This is another common landscaping tree in southern California. At the peak of color, this large tree has beautiful red foliage. As of late November, the sweetgums at the Arboretum had not yet reached their peak. Look for them in the Meadowbrook section.
Pepperidge, Nyssa sylvatica – This tree from the eastern United States produces bright red foliage. Look for a small specimen in the Meadowbrook section.
Fall color at the Arboretum is not limited to leaves. The branches of sticks-on-fire (Euphorbia tirucalli) turn orange in the fall. Flowers are also present. The floss-silk trees (Chorisia species) are still blooming. Reblooming bearded irises can be found in the Sunset garden and the rose garden, along with roses. The orchid greenhouse is always well stocked and more flowers than can be mentioned here are found throughout the grounds.
Fall color is not limited to the species mentioned here. Visit the Arboretum in early December and make your own color discoveries.
For a special treat, visit the Arboretum the weekend of November 30 through December 2. On display will be art objects made from Arboretum trees that were damaged or destroyed in the windstorm of December 2011.