Lower Haight Dendrology

Today's post courtesy of guest contributor Caleb Garling.

With the recent senseless arborcide in the Lower Haight we thought it'd be a good idea to get to know our neighborhood trees a bit better.

Even in a city like San Francisco that strives for good environmental behavior, trees are a perennially endangered species. The city and organizations like Friends of the Urban Forest do a good job, but there just isn’t room for a whole lot of greenery with all the buildings, skyscrapers and streets of our concrete jungle.

With that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to three trees that grace the sidewalks of the Lower Haight. Can you remember their names next time you pass them by?


The tree outside of The Grind is a Brisbane Box. That's right, a Brisbane Box.

Fun facts about this Aussie lass:


  • Her breed is originally from Australia, hence the name. She is otherwise known as Tristania conferta.

  • They are noted as being an especially hardy tree, resistant to drought and pestilence, but also smog and poor drainage. In other words, a great tree for the city.

  • However, they grow quite tall, sometimes over 40 feet. DPW stays on their toes trimming her away from power lines and preventing branches from getting so heavy that they break and fall.

  • She is quite fragrant. Give her a smell!

What was it again? A Brisbane Box.


The tree outside Rosamunde is a Blackwood Acacia.

Again, with me, the tree outside Rosamunde is a Blackwood Acacia.

A Blackwood Acacia.

Fun facts about our new friend:


  • These towering giants, sometimes over fifty feet tall, are native to southern Australia and Tasmania.

  • John Muir once admired them as he explored near Melbourne at the turn of the 1900’s, but since then Acacia melanoxylon has spread around the Pacific Rim.

  • Blackwood Acacia prefer sunny, cool and moist climates, making the Lower Haight and the rest of San Francisco a perfect home.

  • Australian aborigines used to shave the Blackwood Acacia’s bark and boil it to create an analgesic for sore joints. (Note: We vehemently discourage anyone from attempting to replicate this practice. Go to Walgreens.)

  • The Blackwood Acacia is well reputed in the timber industry for it’s sturdy and decorative woods, used in everything from beer barrels to furniture to musical instruments. Give him a gentle knock next time you grab a sausage.


Remember: the tree outside Rosamunde is a Blackwood Acacia.


The tree outside P-Kok is a Sweetshade Tree.

Yes, a Sweetshade Tree.

Fun facts about this sweetie:


  • The name just invites a smile. Hymenosporum flavum, her scientific name, is a little less dreamy.

  • This yellow-flowered beauty is originally from Queensland and New South Whales, Australia and New Guinea.

  • They typically top out at about 8 meters tall, but when exposed to a rainforest environment (i.e. Not the Lower Haight), they can grow to over 20 meters.


Once again? The tree outside P-Kok is a Sweetshade Tree.

Send us pictures of other trees you want bio’ed!

A special thanks to Dan Flanagan and Doug Wildman of Friends of the Urban Forest for his help on this piece. Please check out www.fuf.net if you’re interested in local tree projects!