Balboa Park in Bloom: February, 2020

Do you ever wish you knew a little about the trees of Balboa Park?

Not all the fancy technical stuff.

Just enough so you can lord over your friends that you’re smarter than them… and a better, more tree-conscious, person.

The easiest way is to learn to recognize species while they’re flowering. And grab a couple fun facts about each.

Sooooo… here are the Balboa Park trees in bloom February 20-26, 2020:

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Evergreen Pear

Native to Taiwan. Their name is a little misleading because they aren’t evergreen and their fruit isn’t edible (Trees and Gardens of Balboa Park, 2001, Puplava, K. and Sirios, P., p.71).

They line the perimeter of Plaza de Panama, the Park’s central square, and hang out on El Prado between Casa del Prado and the Natural History Museum.

Plaza de Panama

How gorgeous is that?
Can’t you feel the textured bark, soft flower petals, and smooth leaves?

Just west of the San Diego History Museum.
See more Evergreen Pears in the frame’s left. They stand in front of the Fleet Science Center.

Facing towards the Fleet Center

Natural History Museum

Like snowfall.

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Chinese Magnolia

Native to China, these are also called “Saucer Magnolias” (https://www.thespruce.com/magnolia-trees-saucer-magnolias-2132135).

They are on the northwest corner of Balboa Drive and Quince Street (near the Marston House).

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South African Coral Tree

You can intuit their country of origin… they produce “perfect flowers”, which contain both male and female parts (Trees and Gardens of Balboa Park, 2001, Puplava, K. and Sirios, P., p.29; https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/erythrina-caffra).

They can be found around the San Diego Zoo parking lot, and east of Balboa Drive north of Laurel Street.

Western end of San Diego Zoo parking lot

Southern end of San Diego Zoo parking lot

Southeastern corner (behind) Fleet Science Center

Southern end of San Diego Zoo parking lot

Southern end of San Diego Zoo parking lot

Western end of San Diego Zoo parking lot

Southeastern corner (behind) Fleet Science Center

Entrance to the San Diego Zoo

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Brazilian Coral Tree

Yup. Another coral tree. There are at least 6 species in the Park.

Native to Brazil (Trees and Gardens of Balboa Park, 2001, Puplava, K. and Sirios, P., p.32).

They can be found in the northwest corner of Balboa Park near the Marston House.

Off Balboa Drive in the northwest corner of the Park (Marston House).

Also off Balboa Drive in the northwest corner of the Park (Marston House).

Also off Balboa Drive in the Northwest corner of the Park (Marston House).

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Bailey Acacia

Native to Australia, these evergreens rarely live more than 25 years. (Trees and Gardens of Balboa Park, 2001, Puplava, K. and Sirios, P., p.1).

This wonderful, spiky-haired loner hangs out at the lawn bowling greens’ southwest corner on El Prado.

And you’ll find a beautiful grove at the entrance to the Balboa Park Club (2144 Pan American Road West).

Treasure Hunt: Find these near the Organ Pavilion…

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Purple Orchid Tree

Native to India and China, its flowers are cooked and pickled, and significant in the Buddhist religion. It is also called a Mountain Ebony, Butterfly Tree, and Purple Camel’s Foot. (Trees and Gardens of Balboa Park, 2001, Puplava, K. and Sirios, P., p.12).

A beautiful row can be found lining the lawn bowling greens’ western edge.

Western edge of lawn bowling greens

Check out the bumble bee. How often do you get to watch them work?

Treasure Hunt: Find these behind the Starlight Bowl:

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Pink Trumpet Tree

“[L]ong used by South America’s indigenous people for various medicinal purposes from allergies to internal disorders, the Brazilians call it the ‘Divine Tree.'” (Trees and Gardens of Balboa Park, 2001, Puplava, K. and Sirios, P., p.80).

They are prominent in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden, southeast of the intersection of Park Boulevard and Zoo Drive.

Desert garden north of the pedestrian bridge

Desert garden north of the pedestrian bridge

Can you spot the trumpets?

Here’s another Pink Trumpet between The Old Globe and The California Tower.

And another at the entrance to the Balboa Park Golf Course (Golf Course Drive in Golden Hill).

Treasure Hunt: Find this loner in the southwestern corner of the Park. Off 6th Avenue.

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Pink Powder Puff

Native to Central and South America, their latin surname means “beautiful male”, referring to the stunning flowers’ many stamens. The blooms give off a pleasing aroma (https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/calliandra-haematocephala).

This lovely tree can be found behind the model railroad museum.

This one hangs out at the Municipal Pool (Morley Field).

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And now for something completely different…

A Red-Eared Slider enjoying some sun time on the east side of the Lily Pond.

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Strawberry Snowball Tree

The bark of this gorgeous Madagascar native was traditionally used to make clothing.

This stunning tree can be found at the northwest corner of the Federal Building (soon to be Comic-Con Museum).

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Red-Flowering Gum

Native of Western Australia, it produces fragrant leaves and interesting seed pods.

This tree stands between Founder’s Plaza and the lawn bowling greens, north of El Prado.

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Black Rose

Not a tree but my wife loves these plants so consider this a bonus. This laid-back bloomer is hanging out in front of the old administration building. North side of El Prado just east of the Cabrillo Bridge.

In front of the old administration building.
North side of El Prado just east of Cabrillo bridge.

Check out the bee at work on the right side…

Treasure Hunt: Air and Space Museum’s volunteer entrance. Good luck finding it…

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And if you’re ever asked who introduced any flora of any kind to Southern California, just say “Miss Kate Sessions” with authority in your voice and get on with your day.

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Balboa Park’s panoply of splendid and gorgeous trees are a year-round gift for visitors. And they’re right there waiting for you, San Diego! I hope you take some time to appreciate them in person.

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Thanks for reading and stay tuned!!

10 thoughts on “Balboa Park in Bloom: February, 2020

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful article about the trees about ballpark! I love trees but I’ve been so busy that I have lived here 39 years and not really ever taken the time to learn the names of them! Thank you thank you thank you! Signed, your neighbor near the zoo Monica Parks.

    Like

    1. Thank you Ms. Parks! I’m so glad the piece spoke to you! I wrote it because I always wanted someone to write something like that for me! Thank you again!

      Like

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to photograph and write this up. Makes me realize how many trees I still don’t know in Balboa Park!

    Like

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