Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. aspleniifolius
Catalina ironwood

Rosaceae (rose family)
Channel Islands
Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. aspleniifolius leaf. From Trees of Stanford and Environs, Ronald Bracewell

Native to the islands off the Southern California coast, Catalina ironwood is a dramatic small tree with fernlike foliage and curiously peeling bark in strips of contrasting browns and grays, interesting to feel. The compound leaves have about five narrow leaflets, each deeply sculpted into triangular lobes. Large clusters of small white flowers are noticeable in summer and remain hung up in an untidy manner for months. The fruit is a ¼-inch woody capsule containing two pairs of seeds. The dense red wood is suitable for small projects.

Uncrowded specimens can be seen in the Stanford Avenue greenbelt between Santa Fe Avenue and Sonoma Terrace bike paths, and there are about a dozen on the south side of Bowdoin Street between Pine Hill Road and Stanford Avenue. A group is east of Encina Hall, at the northwest corner of the Eating Clubs; a single tree is at Encina’s northeast corner.

Illustrations: leaf.

Name derivation: Lyonothamnus – After W. S. Lyon, who discovered it in 1884 and Greek thamnos (a shrub); floribundus – profusely flowering; aspleniifolius – with leaves like Asplenium.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.