Victorian BoxBy Robert Ebsen @ 8:00 AM June 01, 2012
It was going to be hot on Tuesday, so I decided that Mom and I ought to drive to the coast. I set my GPS to take us over the hill to the cool breezes of Santa Monica, and to the spot where my book, “The Trees of Santa Monica” said a special tree was located.
This tree is known variously as Victorian Box, Orange Pittosporum, Mock Orange, Sweet Pittosporum, Australian Cheesewood, or, scientifically, as Pittosporum undulatum. It is a tree that I had not seen in my walks on the campus at Northridge, or around the neighborhood. I had seen lots of images of the tree, but it was a tree that I was dying to see in person, i.e., tree-person.
How disappointing it was when we arrived at the GPS location and the tree was nowhere to be seen. Of course, the book was written some 36 years ago. We drove around for awhile looking at other interesting trees, and hoping to get a glance at a Victorian Box.
It was then that I described the tree to my mom. “It has little orange fruits and . . .” “You mean the trees that smell so bad? They were in the alley behind our old apartment.” “Let’s go there.”
Sure enough, just as Mom remembered, there were several Victorian Box trees just waiting there for us. I was ecstatic! I snapped several photos with my iPhone, and took a few leaves for study.
Mom and Dad used to walk all over their Santa Monica neighborhood. Mom surprised me by saying that on their walks, Dad used to enjoy the book written by Grace Heintz, a member of their Nature Club. The book: “The Trees of Santa Monica.”
Small world. Wonderful world.
Mr. Ebsen may be contacted at Robertebsen@hotmail.com