Encyclopedia of Stanford Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Tristaniopsis laurina (Tristania laurina). KANUKA, WATER GUM. Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland
MYRTACEAE (Myrtle family)

This is a small, well-behaved tree of tidy appearance, smaller than brush box and with a noticeable display of yellow flowers arranged in cymes and with five small petals. The glossy, leathery green leaves about 4 inches long form a dense crown. The dark bark peels to reveal a fresh satin finish. In its nativehabitat, water gum is found along coastal water courses and reaches about 20 feet. The timber, which is sold under the name of kanuka (which is also the common name of the much taller New Zealand Leptospermum ericoides), is used for golf-club heads and wooden screws. It would be a very suitable tree for courtyard plantings where the use of taller plants leads ultimately to dank and sunless conditions. At the Medical Center, five 10-foot trees are adjacent to the sidewalk at 1180 Welch Road near Pasteur Drive. In Palo Alto, see a beautiful multitrunked specimen at 1441 Edgewood Drive and another fine example at 1820 Cowper Street.

Illustrations (links open new windows): habit |

Additions/Revisions: Oct., 2005: five trees noted on Campus Drive at the Taube Tennis Stadium.

Name derivation, genus | species Jules Tristan (1776-1861), French botanist, with Greek opsis (likeness), referring to the similarity to Tristania | resembling Laurus

Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library

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