Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rhamnus californica--Leatherleaf Coffeeberry

This variety of Coffeeberry has dark leaves that are different than the species: thicker, with the edges rolled under. This makes it look a bit like a rhododendron. It is also smaller than the species, but still, it can quickly become 8' tall and almost as wide. It is a Roger Raiche selection from from San Mateo County. It can tolerate heavy soils, which is unusual for California natives, but prefers sandy soil. Grows in sun or part shade and is drought tolerant. In this picture, the small inconspicuous can be seen--blooming in December! The berries are more showy, starting out green, turning red, and ending up black. I guess they are dark like coffee "beans," but they are not edible. This plant is blooming now and available for sale on the Plant Deck at the UC Botanical Garden.

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