x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii (hybrid monkey hand tree)
Don't let the fearsome botanical name for this tree scare you away! It describes the "cross" or hybrid developed by a California nurseryman in 1981 who placed the pollen of Fremontodendron, a small tree of California's chaparral with golden flowers, on the stigma of a Mexican monkey hand tree, Chiranthodendron pentadactylon. Both species are in the mallow, or cotton family.
Cestrum elegans 'Smithii'
This shrubby relative of the potato and tomato is a pink-flowered cultivar that attracts hummingbirds and has a long bloom season. The flowers are followed by showy red berries in the fall. Like many other members of the Solanaceae plant family, Cestrum species are toxic.
Sequoia sempervirens, albino form (coast redwood)
This specimen possesses a very rare, all-natural mutation. At this tree's base you will find a cluster of white stems and leaves which are considered "albino," lacking chlorophyll. Unlike most plants' leaves and young stems, they are not green. Look up into the canopy supported by the massive trunk connected to this cluster. The main trunk of the tree supports limbs with typical, green foliage. The only albino part of this specimen are these low stems. This phenomenon is known to occur in the wild in only very, very small numbers. Somewhere between 60 and 100 individual albino trees are known to exist out of the well-over 100,000 acres of coast redwood forest in the State. Only one of these extreme rarities is known to exist in a botanical garden...
Romneya coulteri (Matilija poppy)
A beautiful member of the poppy family, this tall shrub has grey-green leaves and large, fragrant, crepe-papery white flowers that have a striking resemblance to a fried egg.
Berkheya purpurea 'Zulu Warrior'
The dahlia-like flowers in shades of lavender, purple, and blue of this South African native have been described as opening like satellite dishes on a radio mast! The flower stalks arise from a basal rosette of leaves that are both heavily armored with green spines and clothed underneath with soft, white webbing.
Amaryllis belladonna (naked ladies)
The common name "naked ladies" is often associated with these plants as they appear naked without any leaves when they bloom. The leaves appear early in the spring and die back before the flowers appear in summer. A native of South Africa.
Eucomis spp. (pineapple lily)
Eucomis is Greek, eu for "good" and kome for "hair,"" or good-hair, implying a beautiful head, from the tuft of leaf-like bracts crowning the flower spike. Perhaps an alternate common name might be the good-hair-day lily! A native of South Africa.
Brugmansia sanguinea 'Inca Queen' (tri-colored angel's trumpet)
This long, fluted angel's trumpet is a delightful combination of red-orange, yellow, and green. Besides attracting attention to Garden visitors, this is a favorite of hummingbirds which are attracted to the bright red flower. Other species of angel's trumpet have a strong scent at night that attracts bats. Hummingbirds do not have a sense of smell and this plant has no fragrance.
Escallonia 'Eric Walther'
Created by and named after Eric Walther, the first director of the Strybing Arboretum (former name of SFBG), in 1947. This large, lovely shrub is the result of a cross of E. rubra var. macrantha (female) native to Chile, and E. x fretheyi. The flowers are white to shell-pink and held in large, conical inflorescences.
Achillea millefolium cultivars (yarrow)
Yarrow is now considered native to North America and is common across Eurasia. It was introduced to America during colonial times and has become naturalized throughout the continent. Achillea are known for their deeply-dissected, fern-like, aromatic green leaves and long-lasting white flowers. Cultivars may have flowers in shades of yellow, salmon, lavender, and red.