Salicaceae (willow family) Azara

Azara microphylla boxleaf azara

Azara microphylla leaves. John Rawlings, ca. 2005

A small tree or shrub whose tiny yellow flowers, with a fragrance reminiscent of vanilla, come very early. By the end of March the fruits, which will be red, are forming. The ¼ -inch oval leaves have a few small teeth and each is accompanied by a smaller circular leaf that is technically a stipule. The arrangement of the leaf sprays is rather quaint.

There were specimens on Memorial Way below a trail leading to Frost Amphitheater and a row on Pasteur Drive approaching the entrance to Stanford Hospital, but all are now gone. One forlorn but tenacious plant survives as of September 2005 by the old Stanford University Press Building, in a breezeway, behind two metal control boxes. A beautiful specimen can be seen in Woodside at Filoli, perfuming its woodland garden in February.

Name derivation: Azara – after J.N. Azara, 19th-century Spanish patron of science; microphylla – small-leaved.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. John Rawlings added the SU Press location. Family updated from Flacourtiaceae to Salicaceae Dec 2017 (SP).