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Primrose Trees in bloom

Arboreal news: Lagunaria patersonii

San Francisco's Primrose trees (Lagunaria patersonii) are blooming with small, pink hibiscus-like flowers. After they bloom, they develop a seed pod containing bristly seeds that can irritate the skin -- hence the tree's other common name: the "Cow Itch Tree."

Like many San Francisco street trees, the Primrose is native to the South Pacific and Australia. These evergreen trees are fast growing, drought tolerant, able to thrive in most soil types, and tolerates the prevailing westerly winds in the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods.

See three nice older specimens in the northeast corner of Washington Square Park where Filbert and Stockton streets meet.  Find others using the Urban Forest Map. The tree pictured here is in front of our office in the Presidio -- swing by and say hi during the week if you're in the neighborhood!
The Biophile

Nourishing an endangered species

The Mission Blue Butterfly (Aricia icarioides missionensis), discovered in 1937, is only found in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. Human developments have severely diminished the range of this endangered species. Today, the largest Mission Blue populations exist on San Bruno Mountain, Twin Peaks, the Marin Headlands, and Skyline Ridge.

As a gardener, you can steward Mission Blue habitat by planting its host plants and food sources and by not planting invasive species like Mexican Feather Grass and English Ivy.

Host Plants

The Mission Blue will only lay eggs on the leaves of three host Lupine plants: L. albifrons (pictured), L. formosus, and L. variicolor. They can be found at native plant nurseries and will work best for the Mission Blue if planted in clusters.

Mission Blue eggs hatch in late spring and the larvae feed on the Lupine leaves for a few weeks before going into diapause (a hibernation-like state) for the rest of the year. The following spring, the Mission Blues take flight. Adult Mission Blues hang around Lupine patches looking for mates and suitable nursery sites.

If you plant Lupines in the fall as the rains arrive, they’ll grow large enough by spring to host Mission Blues.

Food Sources

The Mission Blue Butterfly feeds on the nectar of most native plants in the Asteraceae family, including Coast Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium, pictured), California Phacelia (Pacelia californica), and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) among others (available at any nursery with California natives).

Plant these in the fall and you may attract adult Mission Blues to your garden come spring!

Trees Could Change the Climate More Than Scientists Thought

When Abigail Swann started her career in the mid-2000s, she was one of just a handful of scientists exploring a potentially radical notion: that the green plants living on Earth’s surface could have a major influence on the planet’s climate. Swann is now a professor at the University of Washington, where she runs the Ecoclimate Lab. “None of the atmospheric scientists are thinking about” how plants could influence rainfall, Swann said, though hints have appeared in the scientific literature for decades. And, she added, “it blows the ecology community’s mind … that the plants over here could actually influence the plants over there.”

--from "Trees Could Change the Climate More Than Scientists Thought" by Gabriel Popkinquanta in the The Atlantic.  See this and other stories in our SF Urban Forester Media Summary.

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Recently FUF'ed
On Sunday September 23 we hosted a walking tour of the trees of the new Transbay Transit Center Park (before the park closed due to repairs to the structure underneath). The tour was led by Mike Sullivan, author of The Trees of San Francisco guidebook.
Thanks to our funders
We thank Kaiser Permanente for a gift of $5,000 in support of tree planting.
We thank American Forests for a gift of $5,000 in support of tree planting.
We thank GreenPrint/7-Eleven for a gift of $5,000 in support of tree planting.
Upcoming FUF Stuff

October 31 -- Wonderful Wednesday Tree Care

November 1 -- Tree Replacement Thursday

November 2 -- No-Frown Friday Tree Care

November 7 -- Wonderful Wednesday Tree Care

November 8 - 10 -- Sidewalk Landscaping, Sunset

November 8 -- Tree Replacement Thursday

November 9 -- Friday Tree Delivery, Marina/Pacific Heights

November 9 -- No-Frown Friday Tree Care

November 10 -- Planting Support, Marina/Pacific Heights

November 10 -- Tree Planting, Marina/Pacific Heights

November 14 -- Wonderful Wednesday Tree Care

November 15 -- Tree Replacement Thursday

November 16 -- No-Frown Friday Tree Care

November 21 -- Wonderful Wednesday Tree Care

November 22 -- Tree Replacement Thursday

November 23 -- No-Frown Friday Tree Care

November 28 -- Wonderful Wednesday Tree Care

November 29 -- Tree Replacement Thursday

November 30 -- Friday Tree Delivery, Portola

November 30 -- No-Frown Friday Tree Care

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