Celastraceae (staff-tree family) Maytenus

Maytenus boaria mayten tree

Maytenus boaria in Centennial Green, in front of Green Library’s Bing Wing. Sairus Patel, 3 Dec 2017
Branchlets of Maytenus boaria in front of Green Library’s Bing Wing. Note the alternate simple leaves, distinguishing it from the pinnate leaves of the Peruvian pepper tree. Sairus Patel, 3 Dec 2017

A slow-growing evergreen decorator tree with small, finely toothed leaves, typically 1 by ¼ inch, that hang in an attractive pattern. Bunches of modest greenish-yellow flowers are followed by small capsules mostly containing one ⅛-inch orange-colored seed. The specific name is from Latin bovarius, descriptive of the cattle market in Rome, and refers to the habit of Chilean cattle of pruning the reachable branches.

Several specimens can be seen off Serra Mall in the alley on the west side of Hoover Tower. An old untended specimen is situated on Sand Hill Road near where the Searsville Path meets it. (This was the site of Antonio Buelna’s adobe, which was the first structure erected on the Rancho San Francisquito grant of 1839.) Three are north of the fountain in front of the Bing Wing of Green Library, and a single memorial tree is nearby, closer to Cummings Art Building. A group can be seen in the park on Alvarado Row opposite Pine Hill Road.

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