Alectryon excelsus. TITOKI. New Zealand
SAPINDACEAE (Soapberry family)

The name is pronounced TEA-Tokey. Not a common tree around here; for many years there was only one on campus, said to have been brought here by Dr. David Starr Jordan in 1893. When Campus Drive was created, it found itself in the dividing strip opposite his house (Serra House), which was later moved to Salvatierra Walk. The tree was subsequently removed. The pinnate leaves are about a foot long; the leaflets may have coarse saw teeth, or no teeth at all, on the same tree. Like those of ginkgo and eucalyptus trees, the flowers have no petals but depend instead on a show of rusty wool. Strange fruits resembling raspberries appear, from which protrude, but only halfway, hard, shiny, black seeds the size of a cherry stone and quite spherical. The Greek word Alectryon means rooster, that which gets you out of bed (lektron). There is a descendant raised from a seed from Jordan’s tree in the Stanford Avenue greenbelt opposite the intersection with Peter Coutts Road. Other examples of titoki can be seen in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Stanford’s Grounds Department intends to replant a recently lost campus specimen at the east entrance of Durand, and three specimens arrived in the Ground's Nursery March 2006.

Other campus trees in the soapberry family: Cupaniopsis, Dodonaea, Koelreuteria

Illustrations (links open new windows): Silhouettes from Trees of Stanford & its Environs

Additions/Revisions: New plantings at SW corner of Frost Amphitheater in February, 2007, north side of Faculty Club in February, 2008, and the slope above the back court of Margaret Jacks Hall in December, 2007.

Name derivation, genus | species The Greek word Alectryon means rooster, that which gets you out of bed (lektron) | tall

Related material:

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family
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