Californians encounter a pair of Australian immigrants every day. The eucalyptus tree was imported in the 1850′s, very possibly first propagated by the Shellmound Nursery in Oakland, according to California State University, Stanislaus, Librarian Robert L. Santos.
The other ubiquitous Assuie import is Callistemon, best known as the bottlebrush. It’s a fascinating plant, and Big Pharma giant Syngenta exploited a chemical found in the plants root as the basis to build their herbicide Callisto.
We’re not able to find out just when the plant was introduced, but they’ve become so common that it’s rare to find a residential block without at least one of the plants, which are also magnets for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
And now for the drama, shot on Shattuck Avenue on our walk to the corner store.
First up, the blossoms distinctive red strands are visible in this pea-sized bud, just beginning to open:
Once opened, the blossoms spring forth in exuberant color, with the receptacle and sepals down dwarfed by the brilliant red filaments they produced.
But when the show’s over, all that remains is the receptacle, now turned hard and woody.