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Monday, March 14, 2005

Fuzzy trees 

I'm riding down the street last week with my sisters on the way to the Mall. My oldest sister points out the window and says, "What is that fuzzy tree?" Fuzzy tree? I look and expect to see something very soft and kind of furry but there's nothing fitting the description. So I ask "what the heck are you pointing at"? and she points again. This time I see what she's referring to. It's a bottlebrush tree.

Callistemon or bottlebrush, is native to Australia. The flowers are actually long, soft bristle-like stamens hence the bottlebrush reference. There are shrubs and trees in this family. The most common is callistemon rigidus or stiff bottlebrush. This tree will grow up to 20 feet with a 10 foot spread and bloom, depending on the climate, from spring through fall. The flowers are interesting but here's the downside. It's a messy tree. My experience is not only do the flowers fall and are difficult to wash off surfaces, the seed pods drop everywhere once they have aged. Take it from me. If you want to have this tree in your yard, make sure it's far away from the house and driveway. You'll enjoy it more that way. Happy Gardening.

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Thanks to Andrew Stenning who contributed the photograph for our masthead

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